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Underage Achievers

By bmetzler in News
Fri Feb 25, 2000 at 05:52:46 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

An article on Fox News today about high school students being courted by some of the top companies in the country. I think it cool that young people today are learning how to hack when they are young, and enjoying it. Of course, this causes problems. The article mentiones that there are companies that try to take advantage of teen programmers. We are also well aware of Corel's mishaps with underage developers. Then wasn't there an episode involving Comdex, where a CEO wasn't allowed in because he wasn't 18 yet?

I see this becoming more of a problem in the future, with computers becoming even more widely available then they are now. The hacker spirit is alive and well, and younger and younger hackers are going to start doing bigger and better things. I also see this as providing a means for kids who never would have had an opportunity to be success, to amount to something. Kids in poverty, with just a computer, and a desire to learn, will be able to get ahead. With Open Source, and inexpensive computers, the door is wide open for young enterprising hackers. No longer is the computer field just restricted to those who are lucky enough to get into MIT.


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Underage Achievers | 6 comments (6 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
it could go either way...... (none / 0) (#2)
by rajivvarma on Fri Feb 25, 2000 at 05:13:16 PM EST

rajivvarma voted 0 on this story.

it could go either way...

Rajiv Varma
Mirror of DeCSS.

Interesting article. I know there a... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Fri Feb 25, 2000 at 05:39:24 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

Interesting article. I know there are some younger folk who read kuro5hin. What are your thoughts on this? And I'd like to know how old people here were when they seriously started thinking of themselves as "computer" people.

Not the real rusty

Re: Interesting article. I know there a... (none / 0) (#3)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Feb 25, 2000 at 06:12:09 PM EST

>And I'd like to know how old people here were when
>they seriously started thinking of themselves as "computer" people.

I've had people calling me a "computer expert" since my mid-teens, but
after I got on the Internet it was proven what I had suspected: I was horribly
unclued compared to anyone but non-users and my father. It wasn't until
I was about eighteen and a half that I started thinking of myself as a
computer person.

-Perpetual Newbie, too lazy to log in.

[ Parent ]
Re: Interesting article. I know there a... (none / 0) (#4)
by rusty on Fri Feb 25, 2000 at 06:24:45 PM EST

That's interesting. It was kind of the same way with me. I've used computers since I can remember (I'm 23 now), but it was never a major part of my life.

I did a science project in high school, programming a model-rocket flight simulation system in...

wait for it...

BASIC! On MS-DOS no less. It ran on my 8088 franken-puter. This was in 1994, mind you. I've been behind the curve, hardware wise, until this year really.

Well, it turns out that BASIC sucks for heavy math. My program never quite worked. Got me a third place though.

Anyway, that was really my first attempt at programming. And my last for a long while. I took an intro C++ class in college, freshman year, and hated it. But around the summer before college started, I'd begun fooling around with web stuff, and ultimately that's what did it.

I dropped out of college to be a web developer, at the end of 1997. At that point all I knew was HTML and a little Javascript. Moved to DC, got a couple temp jobs, and managed to learn perl, and started playing with Linux. That, finally, is when I started considering computers, programming, and the web my ultimate field of interest and defining hobby.

So I was a late bloomer, really. I wish I'd had more experience when I was younger, like learned a real language in high school. Things might have been different.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Underage Achievers (none / 0) (#5)
by joeyo on Fri Feb 25, 2000 at 08:00:50 PM EST

I am of the opinion that what many companies are seeking and paying big bucks for, even young kids without college degrees, are boil down to trade skills. This is indeed why companies can hire people right out of college- all you need is the right mindset for programing and a bit of experience. Not some fancy-schmancy education.

This isn't a bad thing. I have great respect for higly skilled work and weaving programs out of air-stuff is high art. But if you are going into it because the money is good now- be careful. You may not always be in such high demand.

Unionizing wouldn't be a bad idea either :)

"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

Re: Underage Achievers (none / 0) (#6)
by ramses0 on Sat Feb 26, 2000 at 03:08:46 PM EST

You make a really good point. It's college (and/or the degree) that gives you leverage in the future. I could probably have skipped college and gone directly into some sort of computer-job, but I would have started as tech-support, done some web-sites, learned more programming, been screwed by learning C++ without training, and then maybe have 60% of the skills that I do now in the same 4 years time.

If you've got the money (or the grades and a scholarship) don't pass up college. It's fun, it's neater than HS, and you learn a lot. Even if it's not a CS class, you're still learning, and maybe what you learn will someday come in useful.

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[ Parent ]
Underage Achievers | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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