I would like to preface this by saying that I know that the best way to gain experience in computer programming is to actually program. I work on personal projects, as well as projects for free code camp every day, and this question is based on how I might expand upon my knowledge at a relatively young age.
From what I just said above, it’s probably obvious now that I am a teenager. If you didn’t get that, well ta da! I am. I’ve completed the front end development certificate, and am working on my back end certificate currently. I started coding with FCC in December or November of 2016, but have always been more or less a technology fanatic. As most other teenagers, I’m starting to think about how I wanna apply for college. I’m only 16, so I’m a rising Junior, and will not be graduating until the year 2019, however, a head start is always great. I know that I want to go to a top tier school, and my grades and test scores are not out of reach of this goal. However, with college being available to more and more people by the day, top ten colleges are getting more and more selective. I’ve looked around for a while online, as long with talked with an educational consultant. It seems like one thing stands out clear: the kids who are the most likely to get into these schools (Harvard, Stanford, Caltech, etc.) are the ones that are all really good at something, and stand out for what they do. This is where I need your help. I’m always going to continue to program on my own, but I’m worried that showing up to a college interview, or writing on my college application that “I completed certificates X, Y, and Z on freecodecamp.com” is not going to stand out enough. Now, believe me, I love FCC. Anyone who I’ve ever talked to that was interested in computer programming, I redirected them right here. At this point in my “career”, if one could even call it that, I’m trying to gain some real life experience to match the things I’ve already done online. It might be easier for someone who is interested in Biology or Chemistry to find a lab and a professor that is at least willing to talk to them, but I don’t exactly know where to go as a programmer. I’m looking to get an internship or an apprenticeship of some sorts anywhere I can find it, and I’m willing to do just about anything. I have my summer free, so now is best. One interesting idea that I had was that I live pretty close to the TripAdvisor headquarters, and so I thought I might look around their website to see if there were any internships or opportunities, but sure enough, there was not. I guess at this point, I’m asking for advice. I don’t expect anything to be handed to me, and I don’t expect someone who replies to this to be my golden ticket to Yale. I am merely looking for advice as to where I can find experience opportunities, and maybe for those who know more about the college admissions process, can inform me of a better route, seeing that computer science and programming is my deepest and most developed interest. Best regards.
I don’t mean to offend anyone with this post. As I was writing this, I thought to myself that maybe my naivete is getting the best of me, and I might show up as arrogant or ignorant to the people who have to bust their butts for years to find a developer job where they live. However, advancing my knowledge and education as a computer programmer is worth more to me than accidentally someone’s feelings, so if I say something that is not exactly “politically correct” in the tech world, or it sounds like I’m a little too naive, please forgive me.