When Mark Zuckerberg got his first computer in sixth grade, he began to code to make something entertaining for himself and his family. His main focus was to build games through programming, which also evolved into him using his knowledge of programming to connect people. In fact, Zuckerberg created a communication program at age 12 called the “Zucknet”, which his father implemented in his dental practice to improve and make communication more efficient. Zuckerberg enjoyed coding as a kid, due to his love for constructing things, and also attended computer coding classes as well. Today, Zuckerberg is the co-founder of the popular social media app, Facebook, which is currently utilized by over 2 billion people across the globe.
Since he was 13 years-old, Bill Gates has been passionate about coding. As a child, if his only source to code was on a slow, bulky, and screenless computer, which he did end up coding on, he was still coding. Gates would skip lunch time at school to work in the computer lab and advance his programming skills and knowledge. Gates’ first programming project was a tic-tac-toe game, which he created in order to work with a new, fascinating tool, a computer. Bill Gates successfully taught himself how to program during the 1960s, and even began assisting his school by digitalizing the school’s timetabling, and also helped his town by building a microprocessor to help organize traffic data. He used his computer and programming skills to help and improve his surroundings, and did this alongside Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and Bill Gates’ childhood friend. Gates’ motivation to start coding was to feel a sense of control over something. Bill Gates stated that, “We were too young to drive or do any of the other things adults could have fun at, but we could give this big machine orders, and it would always obey,” and computer programming successfully gave Gates the satisfaction he wanted. Bill Gates is currently the co-founder of the well-known and successful company called Microsoft.
As a child, Elon Musk was heavily interested in reading books and playing video games. His fondness for video games helped to drive his enthusiasm about programming, and his passion for reading helped make reading long manuals (while programming) a lot easier and shorter. In fact, when Musk first began coding, he needed to read a lengthy manual (over the BASIC Programming Language), a six-month read, which he read in three days. When Musk was ten–years old, interest in computers sparked, and by the time he was twelve-years old, Musk had sold his first video game called “Blastar” for $500. At seventeen years-old, Elon Musk had moved from South Africa to Canada, to avoid being forced into the army, however his trip to Canada was not what he expected. As a teenager, he ended up having to work as an essential worker on a farm, and this experience seems to have increased Musk’s drive to work. Throughout his college life at Queen’s University in Ontario, Musk built computers and sold them to other students on campus. Now, Elon Musk has founded many famed and success-bringing companies including, SpaceX, Tesla, and PayPal.
These examples of successful people today who began as young coders should motivate children to attend stem classes, programming classes, web design classes, and more. The above examples indicate that not only did these founders of multi-billionaire companies enjoy coding as a child, but also continued coding and utilized it when establishing their careers. Each example mentioned is inspiring in its own way, and it shows that kids are able to learn something new and have the capability to follow in the footsteps of many CEOs today when they choose to code. In fact, many of those who are now successful and work in computer science or STEM recommend for every kid to try coding or programming classes. With a variety of classes and camps offered at Rex Academy, it is strongly recommended for kids to try out coding for their enjoyment and benefits!