kenny katzgrau 083113Web developer Kenny Katzgrau says even fourth-graders can begin to code after a bit of instruction. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

The idea of computer code may be daunting to many adults. But kids are quick to pick up on the logic underlying the dominant technologies of our time, says Red Bank resident and web developer Kenny Katzgrau, who will lead an Intro to Coding class for kids aged 10 to 14 years old at the borough Public Library this Thursday afternoon. 

The primary goal of the 90-minute session, says Katzgrau, is to spark interest in what can be a hobby or the basis of a lucrative career.

“There is an incredible amount of hype surrounding learning how to code, and I don’t think the message for why it’s such a powerful thing has been made apparent,” says Katzgrau, who wears multiple hats: as CEO of adserving company Broadstreet Ads; webmaster for redbankgreen; and freelance developer for Yahoo, Mozilla and more.

What’s the value of learning to code? Not only is code used to write world-changing applications like Facebook and Google, it’s something you can get started with as a hobbyist, Katagrau says. “You can parlay that into a non-traditional high-school job building and maintaining websites,” he says, and later, turn it into a serious career in a field that’s revolutionizing almost every industry that exists.

“It isn’t just about building useful or world-changing applications, which is certainly possible,” says Katzgrau. “Learning to code leads to deep, analytical thinking skills, and has potential for an immense amount of creativity, with a startup cost of practically nothing. A hobbyist developer in middle or high school might write a program to play an unbeatable game of tic-tac-toe. Or maybe it’s something creative, like a paint program or something no one’s ever thought of yet. But it absolutely does lead down a path that can be very lucrative. Anybody who gets involved has the potential begin working toward a career, make a career switch, or simply learn something new and interesting.”

Getting started isn’t as mysterious as one might think, says Katzgrau, who’s taught coding sessions at Port Monmouth Elementary in Middletown. “It’s amazing how fast even the fourth-graders pick up on it,” he said.

The library event runs from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Registrants are encouraged to bring a laptop or Chromebook if possible.

Participants will learn to write lines of code, and then  jump into an open-source version of the popular game “Flappy Bird.” “We’ll modify the code to cheat, win the game, and search for other little hacks that show how we can alter the flow of code execution by adding or removing code,” Katzgrau says.

Sign up by calling (732) 842-0690, extension 111, or stopping by the library.