April fell in love with technology from the moment her dad brought home the family’s first computer, but it wasn’t until halfway through college that she realized it could become a career. Although coding has certainly changed since April first started teaching herself to code, what hasn’t changed is her enthusiasm for building websites and applications, which she shares with all of her CodeWizardsHQ students.
It All Started With an Apple IIe
April grew up loving animals and wanted to become a veterinarian, but everything changed when her family got their first home computer. That computer opened up a whole new world and April started building her own games at home and taking all the computer classes she could find as early as elementary school. It took a little longer for this side passion to become a career, though.
“It didn’t occur to me that it could be a career opportunity. I actually even went to school to be a veterinarian because it just never occurred to me that computers were a thing. Somewhere in there I realized that my passion was actually programming, so I switched majors and went from there.”
April currently has a full-time programming job in addition to teaching at CodeWizardsHQ, but she’s found her coding background to be helpful throughout her career even when she’s had jobs that haven’t directly involved programming.
“It’s always helped me in my jobs knowing how computers work and being comfortable with computers. It’s helped me kind of excel and stick out in any job I was doing.”
Sharing Her Passion With the Next Generation
April’s husband discovered CodeWizardsHQ over a year ago and knew teaching would be a perfect fit for his wife. Although her husband and three sons (ages 14, 25, and 27) have varying levels of interest in technology, none of them share her same passion for coding, so April especially loves seeing her students discover the magic of coding.
“Some of my favorite moments come from the first Python class they take after Scratch. They’re having fun with Scratch but it doesn’t occur to them as programming. So those first few classes when you give them some words to type and they type in the words and it runs, I wish I could record all of those faces, all of those moments. They just get so excited, you could just see them jumping up and down and excited because they’re actually programming,” she says.
April wholeheartedly believes in the benefits of teaching coding to kids, both to expose them to a whole new interest and for all the ways coding can help kids in life even if they don’t make it a career.
“You don’t know if you love it until you try it,” she says, “and then it helps everywhere in life. It helps with a certain way of thinking and how you analyze things and how you think about problems. And then almost everything, especially every electronic we use, involves coding, so even having a little bit of knowledge on how things work, if for some reason you had to go fix something, you would at least know where to start.”
For students who struggle with learning new coding concepts at first, April is able to relate to that frustration first hand while also pointing out all the great resources that CodeWizardsHQ has to help kids in their coding journeys.
“The first time I decided to switch from just application development to website development I felt like I was trying to type a letter in French and I don’t know French, like I had to look up every single word. The first website I built from scratch took me months and months and months and now of course I can do one in days. If you love it, you just have to keep with it, and there’s tons of resources online for CodeWizards students. If you love it, it’s totally worth it and it gets easier every time.”
Discovering New Hobbies
Outside of her full time job and teaching, April enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. She also enjoys playing the drums, a hobby that she picked up at the encouragement of her husband and that she stuck with when she realized how much math was involved.
“My husband is a huge musician, so as soon as he found out I was interested in the drums he bought me a drum set and got me lessons. I was so fixated on computers as a kid that that’s what I filled up all my elective classes with and it never occurred to me to do anything musical. It’s actually really mathematical, I had no idea, so I would have gotten into that as well as a kid, but I never even tried it.”
She also still really loves to code for fun and even recently built an application at her son’s request.
“My oldest son plays Warhammer 40,000 where you have to roll hundreds of dice, so I built an application that pretty much rolls the dice for you and tells you what all the details are,” she says.
This genuine love and passion for coding is what makes April such a great CodeWizardsHQ teacher and why her students enjoy taking classes with her so much.
“I love talking to students who are super excited about coding and they want to know what’s next and they’re trying to think of things to do that we haven’t taught them to do. I’ll spend extra time with those kids if they want to just because I love it. It’s definitely the most rewarding thing about teaching.”