Real Programming 4 Kids is continuing our instructor profile series to shine a light on another gifted computer programmer we’re lucky to have, Eduardo Soto. Eduardo is a full-time programmer and software engineer working with the federal government who also teaches for RP4K and has since 2019.
Eduardo builds custom CRM solutions to automate processes for the Canada Border Services Agency. When they need a custom plug-in, they use the solutions Eduardo builds in C#, a coding language RP4K is proud to teach.
After profiling RP4K teachers like Gabriel Dibenedetto, let’s peer into Eduardo’s academic and coding background and teaching philosophy to better understand who mentors and inspires RP4K students.
Eduardo received his Masters in IT Digital Media from Carleton University in Ottawa. He applies this education in his daily work life as a coder but finds working as a teacher keeps him fresh and excited about using other coding languages he doesn’t use in the field.
RP4K’s live online coding classes are always designed to prioritize fun for kids over rote computer programming lessons. Our sessions revolve around teaching how to create their own video games, ones they can play and show off to friends and family.
We know that fun is a strong motivator, that a driven student having so much fun they don’t even realize that they’re learning better absorbs the material. “All the classes revolve around making games, keep it interesting for the kids,” says Eduardo. That’s our basic philosophy, but in Eduardo’s case, it cuts both ways: the students also stimulate him with their fresh perspective and all their energy.
Eduardo believes that there’s more to his classes than teaching kids how to code. “Older students, they aren’t just thinking about making games. They want to learn programming aspects and what they’ll need to know in university. They’re already thinking ahead…even as a designer, relaying that experience to kids and telling them what to expect on a day-to-day basis — how to interact with colleagues, how to be a good colleague and person.”
Eduardo believes knowing how to code is invaluable because every field needs a programmer or software engineer. “Even if you work for the parks department, they have a website requiring dynamic features.”
Coders have invaluable skill sets allowing them to carve out unique professional paths. However, going it alone doesn’t come with a blueprint. That’s where speaking to older, more experienced coders like Eduardo comes in handy.
“Internships and the job process aren’t always clear when you graduate. How do you handle it all? You come as a junior or intern, but before you become a manager or director, how do you find the comfort and confidence to ask for help? I’ve been there and I know what it’s like. I encourage students to take advantage of senior developers whenever they can!”
Learning to code teaches you what’s “under the hood” of any computer program, so you’ll understand the modern world of technology better than people who merely use apps or play video games. You’ll also learn vital intangible lessons you can only absorb from the right mentor in the right setting.
You don’t need to be a professional video game coder or app developer for programming to be useful in your workplace. As Eduardo says, “knowing how to run a software environment is everything because it’s everywhere. Even if you’re managing a team, there’ll be a software engineer on it. If you can open up a text file and run a Python script, you have the necessary understanding.”
Older, more experienced RP4K students can take our most advanced classes in applied physics and math. It’s amazing how coding, consisting of 1s and 0s, reflects complex mathematical concepts! RP4K believes that learning how coding and math are related to each other makes each subject more relatable than if studied on their own.
Students need to have fun learning to code, but they must be stimulated. How do you translate math and physics into a coding environment? Using one technical framework to engage with the other clarifies and enhances your understanding of both, making it more engaging and entertaining.
Experienced coders between 14-17 can learn Applied Physics and Math from Eduardo if they’ve taken advanced game programming and are still hungry for more!
Many parents sign their kids up for online coding classes to give them the skills needed for tomorrow’s workforce. Recently, there’s been a lot of chatter about the implications of ChatGPT and the future of Artificial Intelligence, or AI. Parents may reasonably wonder, how will AI impact the job market for coders and others?
So far, Eduardo sees ChatGPT as a helpful tool and has some reassuring insights. “There’s a clear fear that people have that this will take jobs, even programmer jobs. But I don’t believe that’s the case. We have to embrace it, understand it. We can’t just blindly use that tool and all its pitfalls.
“It’ll create more jobs with the language models. People will be language model engineers creating valuable prompts. Once you get into how they work, it’s just a code, a set of instructions. It gets more complex, but it’s just math!”
Modern technology is powerful and dazzling. But knowing how things work behind the curtains is empowering. Eduardo uses ChatGPT now to help point him in the right direction and improve efficiency by cutting the time it takes to solve coding issues.
Technology is only a tool if you know how to use it.
Whether your child is just beginning their coding journey or they’re quite far along, they’ll love learning to code with Eduardo. They’ll also leave with a full tool kit of skills they’ll take with them wherever they work and however they apply their programming knowledge.