He is only 9, but is able to understand game development classes meant for individuals aged 17 and above. To advance his skills and understanding of game development with the Unity3D engine, he attended a preview of the Unity Certified Associate course.
It is no secret that the government is pushing for tech literacy across all age groups. Tertiary students and adults have initiatives like the CITREP+ scheme, which allows trainees to receive course fee support of up to 70% or up to 90%, and even those as young as primary school students will be exposed to coding in school.
More young children are also starting to develop a passion in coding. In August 2019, the Gen Infiniti Academy team had the privilege of meeting one such individual. Passionate in coding and game development, 9-year-old Yu Yang taught himself how to use the Unity3D engine, but had many questions that he could not solve using online resources.
To learn more about game development and to receive advice on these issues, Yu Yang came for the second half of our Unity Certified Associate course, which covered intermediate concepts such as navigation and pathfinding, building characters, particle systems, audio and cameras, user interfaces, and mobile deployment.
While he was in class, we sat down with his mother, Boon Chin, to learn more about her thoughts on his unconventional passions.
Q1: To start, how did you find out about us? Through Google. His uncle, who is also into programming, helped us [to search and asked us to check out Gen Infiniti Academy]. So I drafted the email ... and arranged for this preview.
Q2: What motivated you to send Yu Yang for this preview?
He showed his passion [in coding]. It took me awhile to differentiate between gaming and coding. When I finally realised that he is quite serious [about] coding, I thought it was better to find something more systematic to help him develop his passions. So here we are!
Q3: Do you think that his peers / people around his age should learn coding, app and game development, data analytics, or other tech skills?
Coding for young students is about passion. [Its] definitely a good thing to have. As a mother, the way I see it is that through coding, his conceptual thinking and the way he influences his parents to listen to him on what he’s doing [improved], and he also talks a lot about problem-solving.
You cannot really code without having something in mind; you begin with the end in mind, then you put that in the [code] so I think that [these are] all essential skills in the new era. I definitely encourage kids who have the interest to come and venture more.
Q4: Do you think this would be useful for his studies and, in the long run, his career? Career? No, [he’s] only 9 years old, I don’t want to restrict him… for now, I’m also not really commenting on [usefulness in his studies]. But it is something [that I can use] as a bargaining chip. In our typical mother and son conversations, “if you do well in your studies, you get more time to pursue your passion,” – that becomes a chip for me to discuss with my son.
I also observed the coding process, where he sits through hours trying to think through game structures and what he wants to achieve and what he wants to build in. That focus is invaluable in early training and, of course, it would translate to his studies where he would also need to sit there and do his work. [Coding] also helps him improve his English and mathematics concepts. [These] help in developing the brain, so it would be useful in the future.
We would like to thank Boon Chin for agreeing to the interview and hope that Yu Yang continues to pursue his passions in coding and game development.
If a 9 year old can do it, so can you. Find out more about the Unity Certified Associate course here.
For full information on CITREP+ eligibility, please visit www.IMTalent.sg/CITREP.
Written by: Chloe Thio (Gen Infiniti Academy)