My Name is…Etash Kalra

Douglas County High School student and author

Posted 3/12/19

About me I'm a high school senior at Douglas County High School in Castle Rock. I live in Parker, but I commute to Castle Rock for the IB (International Baccalaureate) program. I'm involved in a lot …

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My Name is…Etash Kalra

Douglas County High School student and author

Posted

About me

I'm a high school senior at Douglas County High School in Castle Rock. I live in Parker, but I commute to Castle Rock for the IB (International Baccalaureate) program. I'm involved in a lot of extracurriculars. Most of them pertain to either computer science and technology or to business. My career aspiration is to be a technology entrepreneur. I'm part of organizations like the Future Business Leaders of America and DECA, as well as I have my own coding club and a coding organization, where I teach students in Parker how to code for free at the Parker (Douglas County Public) Library. I'm in other organizations like speech and debate as well.

I wrote a book, called “From Zero to IOS Hero,” which is available on Amazon. It teaches computer science to middle-schoolers and high-schoolers. I plan to use every cent from my book's earnings to help provide free copies to students who cannot afford one.

Why computer science?

I started this book as sort of an extension to my efforts teaching computer science in my community. About my sophomore year, I participated in two app challenges. One was sponsored by Apple, and I got to attend their annual developers conference. The second one was a Congressional app challenge, where I presented one of my apps to Congress in Washington, D.C. After I came back from those two app challenges, I noticed a lot of students in the Douglas County area were very interested in learning computer science, but they didn't necessarily have the resources or the mentorship to do that. I started this organization called Launch for Impact, and we had about 30 kids who came in to about two dozen classes over the span of two years. Over there, I taught several different programming languages like Python and Java, and I also taught some of the beginners the basics of programming through MIT Scratch, which is just a platform to learn computer science. After that, I started writing this book because I thought it would be a good attempt for me to take this computer science education across the U.S.

Teaching the fundamentals

It aims at teaching students Swift and IOS (a mobile operating system) development, and it starts from the basics, bare bones of what computer science is, what variables are, and moves to the more advanced structures we see in modern day apps. A ninth-grader can go from having zero knowledge about it to having the ability to create a geo-location app and have it on the app store by the time they finish that book.

Challenges along the way

Really, writing the book in a way students would be able understand it differently from traditional computer science books. The reason I wrote this book was because when I started learning programming, a lot of the books I would use were very technical to the point it was very difficult for me to understand things. I wanted to make sure my book was very applicable to audiences ranging from middle-schoolers to 18-year-olds or graduates. My biggest challenge was organizing the book and planning it out where I would have to plan out which chapter would have which part of the curriculum, and setting an end goal for when students finish this book and what I want them to come out with. Everything builds on top of each other, so it was difficult for me to organize that and be able to teach computer science at a deeper level while still not losing the interest of my readers and having it be a fun book for kids to read as well.

If you have suggestions for who should be featured in the next "My Name Is..." contact Nick Puckett at npuckett@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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