CodeWizardsHQ instructor, Melanie Seiberlich, grew up with a passion for coding. She fulfilled her lifelong dream when she became a developer. Now she encourages kids to follow their dreams too!
Growing Up as a Kid Coder
Melanie’s philosophy is that you will be happy doing what you love, and that’s what she teaches her kids and students. Melanie’s love has always been for coding, even if no one around her was interested. You wouldn’t suspect that this grandmother of six is also a seasoned programmer.
In the early 1980s, she was an 11-year-old girl excitedly waiting for her dad to unpack their first computer. An Apple II. No one else was particularly interested in the device, but she couldn’t get enough. Melanie sat for hours and learned how to code, fascinated by the ability to control the computer and make simple games.
I’ve always loved computers since the first time I touched one, when I was 11. I fell in love with it and I thought it was the most amazing thing.
Nowadays, her philosophy is that you will be happy doing what you love. But though Melanie continued to code and build programs as she grew up, her career did not start in computer science. Instead, Melanie worked in a factory to take care of her two young kids. At least until the factory closed and the workers were laid off.
But here’s the silver lining: The factory would pay for its workers to attend school. Both Melanie and her mother worked at the factory and jumped at the opportunity to go to college. It was finally time for Melanie to pursue computer science as a career. She calls it “one of the best things that could have ever happened.”
Coding In the Financial Industry
After graduating from college, Melanie worked in the finance industry as a programmer. For students who are interested in working with numbers and analytics, she recommends coding as a valuable skill to have. “It’s like a game to see what we can do with the numbers. Coding is really good for everybody … I think it makes you a little more patient sometimes and sometimes it’s a little more stressful, but, once you get it… that feeling… there’s nothing like that.”
Melanie also likes that coding languages are always progressing. She continues to learn and stay current in her field. “I’m a nerd, I like to step behind the computer and learn stuff. So, when Python came out, and I saw how big it was getting, I made sure I was on top of that,” she explains.
Bringing her Passion to the Next Generation
Now this quirky coder is working at CodeWizardsHQ. Her experience and passion for technology make her a great candidate to teach, but her ability to connect with her students is what makes her a standout teacher.
Melanie always wants her students to be proud of themselves and not to give up.
Whenever they feel embarrassed or discouraged, she helps them overcome that. Melanie doesn’t just let kids walk away with incomplete programs.No, Melanie continues to work with them, even after class, until they get it.
Of all the other classes I’ve seen online, I haven’t seen one where the teachers are so active with their students. They have messages and they can talk to them in the forum. It’s not like the kids watch a video and they’re on their own.
That’s why the parents love her. The kids love her because she’s so fun! Her long-time students will tell you about the funny pranks they play on each other, or times they competed for imaginary money, and about all the times they heard Melanie humming to herself when she’s concentrating. One of her funniest moments in class was when a student accidentally wrote a variable as “upperranger” and she sang out “go go upper ranger” (to the tune of power rangers). The kids got a good laugh and the theme for the day became Power Rangers.
Melanie feels teaching is perfect for her because she gets to share her passion with other people who love coding too. She spends time with her family and two dogs, and rehabs furniture in her free time. And her philosophy, that you will be happy doing what you love, she teaches that to her students, too.
Melanie says, “It amazes me what their brains at that young of an age can know and come up with. And then they sit there and code it! It’s a really good feeling especially when they get it, there’s nothing better than hearing that and hearing their excitement.”
“I always made sure I worked really hard and showed [my kids], even if you do it later in life, make sure you are doing something you enjoy doing.”