Java is one of the most popular programming languages and will often underpin the technology behind the scenes of many important industries. Java can be used to build complicated systems, groundbreaking apps, and fixing problematic issues with pre-existing software – and it’s also used to power the Minecraft video game.
As Java is used in games like Minecraft, many children are showing an interest in learning how to use it at a young age.
Whilst Java can appear very complex on the surface, can kids learn Java coding. It’s actually very accessible as a programming language, with courses such as ours available to help them along the way.
As an example, at FunTech we run a Java coding course for kids age from 11 to 16. The children who learn Java with us will often have started at a younger age too, although it’s not a prerequisite.
Similar to language learning, when given the correct guidance, some say that kids can learn Java much faster than their adult counterparts might be able to (with a little bit of persistence, anyway).
At FunTech we believe that kids can and should be encouraged to learn Java coding or other programming languages. It could offer them a head-start at school and in a future career.
Why is learning Java so appealing to children?
As touched on above, Java is an incredibly powerful multi-platform programming language that is popular in both the professional and amateur coding world.
Compared to other programming languages, Java will often appeal to kids predominantly due to its implementation in video games – many of which our children are incredibly passionate about.
For example, one of the most popular video games in the world, Minecraft, was developed using Java – In fact, the most popular edition of Minecraft is known as the Java edition.
In this game, children traverse a dangerous and exciting world consisting of blocks. Alongside this, they use tools such as pickaxes to build buildings, create armour, and establish large-scale bases for their friends and themselves to occupy.
Naturally, this has led many children to develop aspirations of becoming video game developers when they grow up (which our courses can help with). Additionally, many youngsters are aware that Minecraft was created using Java and are curious whether they could build a game like it themselves.
Similar to this, app development is another path that children may find themselves interested in exploring as they grow older. Increasingly, kids are being introduced to a variety of apps, installing in them a love for technology and game-based software at an early age.
Furthermore, Java allows kids to naturally experiment with their imaginations. Much like in video games, they can push their creative juices to the limits, allowing them to create amazing projects and designs with the right amount of persistence.
Why is Java a good programming language for kids to learn?
One of the many reasons Java is so accessible for children comes down to its ability to run on many different devices. From smartphones to laptops and tablets, Java is incredibly versatile, spanning a multitude of different platforms.
For this reason, kids do not require access to the latest technology to start learning about Java.
Instead, all they require is their old tablet or laptop to get started. For many parents, this can come as a massive relief, as learning to code can seemingly appear expensive on the surface, requiring only the latest and best hardware for their kids to learn Java properly.
However, this is mostly a myth and almost any laptop or PC can run Java effectively.
Java itself is a free program that can easily be found online. There are no hidden costs, and it is completely appropriate for children of all ages. However, it is worth mentioning that you should be careful to download the official Java version from Oracle, as fake downloads and links to dangerous viruses can exist.
Alongside this, children can also download an Integrated development environment (also known as an IDE) to make the process of coding easier.
One of the most popular examples is Eclipse, an open-source text editor with tons of features that are designed to make it easier and faster to write Java-based programs. Even for kids.
How else can kids learn Java coding?
In addition to the FunTech courses, kids can often start with the basics by watching gaming mod videos on YouTube.
Although the amount of time spent doing this may seem wasteful to parents, kids can quickly develop a passion for coding by watching their favourite YouTubers mod aspects in the game they are currently playing (for example, changing the colour of a creature, or making creatures larger or smaller).
If kids desire to mod games themselves, they will have no choice but to learn how to code using Java – in fact, we also run a Minecraft Mods course. Once they have begun to understand Java, they will then be able to follow tutorials that teach them how to use these skills to create mods for their games.
Later on, these skills may prove valuable in the gaming and software industry for young adults, with many developers looking for talented coders to help them create exciting new projects.
What is the best age for children to start learning Java?
Nowadays, most children are extraordinarily tech-savvy, having grown up using a variety of electronics like video games, tablets, computers, and smartphones.
For this reason, children as young as 7 can be introduced to coding and Java, especially if they have expressed interest in wanting to learn them.
However, most young children will benefit from learning coding by using visual block coding apps first. For example, Scratch is a great way to get younger kids started in coding basics.
Once a child is comfortable, they can quickly move on to Java. Fortunately, Oracle (the owners of Java) offers numerous websites and tools that are specifically aimed at educating children on how to use Java effectively.
For example, Scratch that we mentioned a moment ago, is a popular community, website, and app that uses a simple programming language combined with a drag-and-drop interface to teach kids how to create projects through coding.