|Recently an ugly and short-sighted essay about teens posting on HN hit the frontpage and was later killed.|
I'd like to take a moment to point out how important it is that we encourage young people who take the time and ego risk to share their work.
"I am [age] and I made [thing]"
"I am new at this. I know you guys aren't. I want you to check it out and give me encouragement and guidance."
Do they want attention? Of course! They believe, correctly, that the attention of more experienced people will lead to their growth. We should absolutely give it to them.
Getting young people into science and technology is the single greatest professional duty any technologist has. We need help. The problems are so many and the minds equipped for them so few.
We have an entire planet of dumb objects waiting to be woken up. We need software written and interfaces designed for classes of products we can't even imagine yet.
So we need kids to grow up and choose the very, very hard work of learning to bend technology to their will. We need them to believe they can make careers out of it.
And we certainly need them to believe that when they get there, they won't be surrounded by assholes.
When a kid shows up sharing their work, we ought to circle around them and hoist them on our shoulders. They're choosing the career that will make our lives better one day. They're choosing the career that will broaden our hiring pools one day. They're, blessedly, choosing tech over drugs, drink, violence and investment banking.
When a teenager comes shuffling along, awkwardly holding up his or her project for our scrutiny, take a moment and see if there's any experience of your own that you can offer to help them on their journey. If there isn't, move along quietly and let the mentors do their thing, eh?
Young folks: I don't know a lot, but if you want career advice or tech advice or just someone to talk to, I'm firstname.lastname@example.org.