Topic | Need some suggestions for 13 year old computer geek!

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  • pjssully
    Participant

    Hi,

    I am looking for some suggestions for my 13 year old computer geek (said in a loving manner!)  He loves computers, but loves to build them!  He is doing some coding work on his own, but this is not his passion-he wants to build computers.  He has already built a computer for himself, but we cant afford to have him build anymore for our family-it is expensive to buy the parts.  But I don’t know where else to turn-where turn to get him hooked in somewhere so he can satisfy this passion.

    Does anyone have any ideas of where to look in our community??  I just don’t even know where to begin to look!

    Thanks for any thoughts!

    pj

    Bookworm
    Participant

    Wow, BTDT.  LOL  I hope the SCM team also weigh in here, but things that worked for us:

    Put an ad on your local internet swap site and ask for old electronic equipment.  Anything.  He can repurpose it. Take out chips, wiring, capacitors, etc.

    Also, get him hooked into maker land.  It is a whole world, and a fun one!  A good intro:  Make magazine (see if your library has it—ours does!) and this website:

    http://makezine.com/

    My kids have made lots of pretty cool projects for less than $25 in actual purchased parts.  We would sometimes get some really basic stuff they can’t often get on swap sites, and make up a box for birthday or Christmas gifts.  We did have to set a few ground rules after some (ahem) incidents so that they had to come to us for specific permission for anything involving fire, explosives or projectiles bigger than a marble.  🙂  Don’t ask.  LOL

    Samkirby
    Participant

    Hi PJ! Our 13 year old son sounds just like yours! He too enjoys coding but he is obsessed with building and upgrading computers. He too is out of money after his latest project: an upgrade of an old desktop he turned into a super gaming computer! However, he is pretty proud of it so it might hold him over for a little while!

    One suggestion that he and a friend are currently working on is to try to build a little clientele of customers (mostly friends or family at this time) who will allow them to fix their computers. So far they have 3 good reviews! They are really hoping to build a little business.  It might take them some time to get it off the ground but they are very eager to try and enjoy solving the problems they have encountered so far!

    There are other things that have helped him learn but your son probably already knows about them, like a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino (which are fairly inexpensive).  Robotics (First Lego League and VEX), have also been interesting and helpful. One other suggestion that we are going to try in the fall is the free class in computer science by Harvard Extension (online). I can’t recommend it personally because we have not yet taken it but it has been recommended to us repeatedly.  It is on their website edex.org and is called CS50. Supposedly it is a fantastic class and a good place to explore if you have a child who is seriously interested in Computer Science.

    HTH

    pjssully
    Participant

    Thank you both for giving me some ideas of where and how to start looking for something for my son.  I love the idea of looking for old/used/free parts or computers for him.  And I am going to look into the online course from Harvard; that might be a good way to get him used to online classes in a non threatening way!

    pj

    Bookworm
    Participant

    Just a bit of experience.  EdX courses are by far the hardest ones out there.  IMO Coursera makes a better beginning unless he is very gifted already.  Have taken both myself, and had a hard time with the EdX ones.

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