Abq's 1# Coding Mentors
#1 Coding Mentors

Our Story

I want you to think about the first time you heard about coding. What was the first thing that came to your mind? Did you dig in deeper to discover what it was all about? Or did you toss it aside because it did not seem like something you would be interested in because it looks complicated and boring? I am here to tell you that I understand how you feel because I can relate, I also want to share my journey towards discovering coding and how totally wrong I was about it. My name is Jerry Smith, I'm from Chicago IL, graduated from Columbia College with a BA in Film & Video. I have held teaching assistant positions in the Chicago public school system. I've been home-schooling for 15years and as my family grew I had to customize my home-schooling strategies.


Knowledge can be impacted through multiple mediums; it is not limited to the four walls of a classroom or from the pages of a book. The act of knowing is one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon us because it never ends, and for those who are entrusted with imparting knowledge to other people – the teachers – they might make it look effortless. However, teaching is a delicate practice that transcends time because it can be done regardless of the medium or age, or even language. At this juncture, I should remind you that coding and programming was not something I had an interest in as a young teacher. It was something that sort of grew on me at a time when I needed a change. The truth is I was tired of my routine as a teacher and I wanted to use my time as a home-school teacher to explore other options. So instead of just being a teacher, I decided to learn to code. There was only one slight difference, I wanted to go on this journey with my kids.


I am a single father of four boys; Ajani 14yrs, Hasani 12yrs Zamir 8yrs old, and Javier 3yrs old apprentice in training. My boys are my priority and as a parent, all I desire is to impact my children with enough knowledge that will equip them to become the best version of themselves. Every child deserves a solid foundation in terms of education and a teacher, I understand this so much. I home-school my children which have been a tremendous experience for me to learn from. These kids, teach you a lot about yourself as much as you teach them too. When I started, coding was like a DaVinci code – something impossible to crack open. Especially since I had no background in software engineering. However, the more I inquired about it, the clearer it became.


Tech is the new oil drill, it is pumping so much wealth for the likes of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and so many more. It has created vast opportunities for young people all over the world. It has solved a lot of problems and has even created plenty. At first, it was slowly creeping into our lives and now we can barely perform daily tasks without sorting the help of technology. This was something that I found fascinating because I was curious to discover the fundamentals of this powerhouse. This led me to the question – What is coding? Coding is a language you communicate to a computer for it to understand what you need it to do. ‘’Coding means using the programming language to get the computer to behave as desired. Each line of the code is a set of instructions for the computer.’’ These languages vary and examples of programming languages include C, C#, C++, Java, Perl, and PHP. The basic elements for programming languages are: • Programming Environment. • Data Types. • Variables. • Keywords. • Logical and Arithmetical Operators. • If else conditions. • Loops. • Numbers, Characters, and Arrays.


The first few weeks when I began learning programming with my kids. It was a whole new experience for us. As I said, I am a teacher. I know the ropes; I know how delicate it is to teach kids anything. To be in a position where I was imparting knowledge to young minds. However, I was aware that this was a different territory and I had to be careful and patient with them. We were learning together. This sort of experience humbled me so much because it placed me in a different situation. I was no longer just their dad or their teacher, I was also learning just like them. This experience I would say made me spend time with them a lot more than before and I was able to understand how their mind works. The good part was that they were interested in it because they were curious, to begin with. And you cannot teach that, neither can you take it away. For my kids, the interest was already there. I just had to nurture their passions. And so I did.


We started learning programming and coding at the beginning of 2019. I was able to combine their normal curriculum with creating times within the weak where we learned about coding and programming. So far, so good. My fourth son is still young to understand what is going on however, he has been watching his older brothers and we plan to put him through when he is old enough. How has the experience been for me to learn how a new skill alongside my kids? Surreal. On one part, it has been delightful to watch them learn and grow as coders and make it their own in such a young way. The entire experience has made me realize how powerful the minds of children can be as long as they are provided an environment that allows them to thrive. It has also made me believe in myself more and encourage me never to let my curiosity to learn something new fade. I wanted to try something new so we took on a quest to learn to code together, it was a case study. A simple formula to learn everything we could about coding technologies. I'm a single parent and I see technology as a way to create something awesome and a lifestyle change. The more time passed we developed a close technical bond, that bond manifested into us mentoring each other.


In the year 2020, I was satisfied with the growth my children and I had made so far. I could only describe my newly acquired skillset as a turning point. If I could learn all this within a space of a year alongside my children whilst home-schooling them, I could do more. I wanted to share my story with the world. I also wanted to pass down the things I had learned to young kids who were interested in programming and coding. This is why I believe teaching is always evolving. It does not stick to a single pattern. The year 2020 taught us so many things about changing the status quo. Our lives were transformed due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. Schools were closed and parents were spending a large chunk of their days with their children, kids were learning through zoom classes. We all had to remain at home because it was the only way to keep us safe. During that time. I had pretty much adjusted to spending time with my children because home-schooling was already part of my routine. However, I admit the dynamics of our daily routine changed because we were also stuck at home. I miss the old routine; I miss when it was safe to go outside. Still, I agree to keep outdoor interaction minimized till we figure out ways to tackle this pandemic. But like I said, teaching cannot be limited to the four walls of a classroom. Learning never ends.

Right now, I plan to spread the gospel. My passion for programming has inspired a new career path for me, thanks to my kids. We are exploring offering Youth-Coding-Mentor in the city of Albuquerque New Mexico. We'll began with a small number of people who we mentored to code and learn programming languages such as Html, CSS-grid, SQL, Git, G-Sap, JavaScript, PHP, C#, C++, to name a few. We plan to teach as many people as possible coding technology. We also want to educate people about coding and how technology has been infused into our day-to-day lifestyle. I hope to inspire a lot of people especially young minds to be whoever they want to be and if they want to be a programmer, why not?


CODING ISN’T FOR EVERYONE This is a big fat lie. Yes, there might be an argument that there are people who have a rare talent for coding. However, if there is any testament to convincing you that it is not impossible, it is me. I was a school teacher, a dad in his fifties who had zero background in software engineering. Now, I have a company that mentors other people on how to code. How did I do it? By being determined and willing to learn, I was able to acquire so much knowledge about programming and coding within two years. So, no, coding is for anyone willing to learn and practice. Practice does make perfect.

CODING IS FOR NERDS While I understand the need to place a nerdy stereotype upon those who studied programming in college or those who work as a programmer for a living. It is not entirely true. It is not an exclusive club that is reserved for a certain kind of people. Besides, who cares if you are regarded as a nerd just because you are good at what you do? If you are interested in learning how to code, you should not let the societal perception discourage you. besides, just because you are a nerd does not mean you cannot be successful. Take Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg for example.

CODING IS ONLY FOR THE OLDER GENERATION This is untrue. And I am so glad that my kids’ stories will inspire so many young kids out there to develop their skills as programmers as early as they can. Coding is not only for the older generation. Studies have shown how the youth are opting for careers in tech all around the world, the number grows every day. Innovative ideas are made by young people and these ideas solve a lot of world problems. So no, you do not have to be of a certain age before you can learn how to code.

CODING IS ONLY FOR YOUNGER GENERATION This goes without saying but it feels like something we need to buttress, if you feel like you are too old to learn to code, then you should consider me as a case study. It is never too late to learn anything; programming is one of them.

WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE BROTHERWHOCODE TO MENTOR YOU I know deep down that this is something I want to focus on in the nearest future to come. I will be honored to have you onboard my growing network of coders.

Jerry Smith is a 53-year-old teacher, mentor, and father who taught for 15 years until he decided to learn programming and coding with his children. He's passion is to continue mentoring not only to his kids but to young people who wish to become programmers just like him. He founded a company alongside his children called Brotherswhocode. The company is dedicated to mentoring and teaching skillsets that prepare one to succeed as a programmer. So far, they have created a network of Albuquerque’s programmers. Their vision is to grow this network, impart more knowledge and debunk the stereotype behind coding, by deciphering the complications of programming languages. For further inquiries, you can visit their website to learn more about Brotherswhocode brotherwho.code.blog. Watch their coding lessons and tips on their YouTube channel. The link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJmvf2Gv1SYE1jCf4_r9L6w.