Learning the language of computers

Coding boot camp helps young people navigate the cyber world


Cheyenne Dempsey works on creating a game using Javascript on the last day of a coding boot camp for Shiprock High School and Tse Bit a’i Middle School students on July 7.

An instructor for a coding boot camp told students Google can be their best friend.

Krieg Benally, an instructor with Cultivating Coders out of Albuquerque, told students at a programming-language boot camp to keep learning after four-week sessions for Shiprock High School and Tse Bit a’i Middle School students.

Twenty-four students participated in the camp, from seventh-grade through recent high school graduates.

Marissa Shorty, a junior who participated for the second year, said Benally’s advice about Google held up. She said looking something up on the search engine would lead not just to websites, but to forums where coders help each other navigate obstacles by giving each other advice.

For example, if a coder wanted to add a video to a website they just Google it, which she said provides a range of solutions.

“If you look it up on Google, you can find so many ways to do it,” Shorty said. “You can find complex ways or simpler ways. So, yeah, it helps.”

The students learned three types of coding: Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, gives a website its structure; Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, gives HTML a map to display elements of a website; and JavaScript lets coders create interactive elements for the website.

Students learned HTML, CSS and JavaScript coding languages. With the languages in their metaphorical tool belt, they set out to create a website using the skills they picked up.
“We learned a lot more JavaScript this year,” Shorty said.

Shorty set out to create a website for her father’s electrical wiring company, which could be useful to give the company a presence on the Internet.

“We’re still trying to decide if we actually want to put it up on the Internet,” she said.

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Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at Chrisp@navajotimes.com.