Sophia Skwarchuk is a junior at Flathead High School in Kalispell, Montana. She became interested in coding this past year when she joined the Governor and First Lady Youth Leadership Council as part of Fight Childhood Hunger Week. Her primary work in coding is an Android app called Montana Eats which aims to make low income aid more accessible to the needy in a more technological age.
How did you first become involved with coding and technology?
I first became involved with coding this past year when I wanted to code an app for my project as a member of the Governor’s Leadership Council. The goal of the council is to alleviate childhood hunger and I spent three months coding an app to help achieve that goal.
Have you created any apps? Tell us about them!
I have coded one app called MontanaEats! MontanaEats aims to make hunger and low income resources available to the disadvantaged throughout Montana. I wanted to consolidate resources in a place that allows access to necessities in a technological world. I taught myself how to use Java code for android and block based code in order to make the app.
What did you think about tech and coding before you began?
I definitely viewed coding as something only a few people were smart enough to learn how to do. Now, I understand that coding isn’t about being smart. Coding is about hard work, dedication and problem solving which are things everyone is capable of if they put their minds to it.
What is it that you enjoy about programming?
Programming is a really rewarding experience because you are able to see the outcome of all of your hard work right in front of you on the screen. The minute you upload an app and know that it can help a number of people, you know all of the work was worth it.
Are there any resources that have helped you develop your skills?
I think one of the best resources for learning anything is a library. I went to my local library and checked out books on how to write android code. Having such a wide variety of resources for free is so beneficial during the learning process.
Why do you think students should learn how to code?
In a world that’s rapidly growing more technological, coding is a skill that becomes more applicable everyday. Whether it’s to help others or find a niche in the job market, coding can be an endlessly useful tool.
Do you see yourself building a career field in the tech field?
This experience has really opened my eyes to the value of technological careers. My dream is to major in computer science and economics at Harvard.
What advice do you have for other beginners, especially high school students?
My advice for beginners is to not let people’s views of coding stop you from pursuing it. Countless people will tell you that coding is too hard, but if you set your mind to it and persevere you can prove those people wrong.
Coding seems like this daunting jumble of letters on a screen but it is actually very doable for high school students. Just because something is made out to be difficult doesn’t mean you can’t do it if you set your mind to it.