Sometimes all you need is someone to give you an opportunity @DaveMcClure #IamAnEngineer #MyDaughter

We are a pretty nerdy family and sometimes to a fault. In fact some days we will be at home with the kids and we are texting each other, since we are in different rooms. My older kids do code. Thrisha (13) does mostly front-end – Javascript and HTML/CSS and Rishab (11) does decent SQL. My youngest girls are 9, so I am hoping they will start to code, soon, as well.

I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago talking to Dave McClure during the #preMoney conference, about my daughter, who has been coding for a while, and he suggested she should come and do an internship at 500 Startups. I am was not sure, but I mentioned it to my wife, who was a little worried about where she’d stay, how she’d commute etc.


We have a ton of family and friends in the bay area, so one of our good friends, Sachin, offered to host her for the 1 and 1/2 months of the internship. Thrisha was keen to do an internship, and 2 of the startups at our Seattle accelerator offered to have her over during the summer in LA and NYC.

She was constantly talking to these 2 companies and was pushing us to send her to those cities. I was not too keen about LA, because we dont have folks we know there, and so both staying there and commuting were going to be a problem. And she is only 13, so I was a little concerned about she being out on her own.

Over the last 5 weeks, thanks to Dave and #500Strong, my daughter has been in Mountain View, coding and working on a project that they use to monitor their investments. She has been very happy and is learning a ton.

The first day I went to drop her at work, she got on a call with the lead – Santiago, who has been very helpful and supportive. During that call, I was suggesting to Thrisha that she should spend more time brushing up on her Javascript and take 1-2 weeks to do that.

Santigo jumped in and said, “No, just go to github, download the repo and get started”. I was not too sure about Thrisha going in and checking code into production, but I let my fears stay in my own mind.

Turns out Santiago was right. Thrisha got the repo, and picked up the language and the requirements completely by just looking at the code and learning.

I am still amazed that a 13 year old (let me brag for a little bit) is able to understand and work on code that gets used, but that’s I guess the scary part as well. If, a 13 year old, who is heading to 9th grade can do it, what stops my 11 year old or 9 year old?

At what age should we support programming with our kids? Should we just expose them to technology and programming and let them pick up stuff on the go?

Another question is about women in technology. I dont think this problem is going to go away anytime soon and it does require a concentrated effort for a long period of time, but you have to hand it to folks like Dave and others at 500 Startups.

Sometimes, all you need is someone to give a 13 year old, an opportunity. I know Thrisha’s very happy and thankful to the #500Strong team for the chance to work at the fund.

My daughter’s 13. She can code. She is an engineer. #IcantBeMoreHappy #IamAnEngineer

2 thoughts on “Sometimes all you need is someone to give you an opportunity @DaveMcClure #IamAnEngineer #MyDaughter”

  1. May be this is exactly is the problem these days in India, particularly in entrepreneurship. Peolpe equate coding with engineering. For every problem, people want to build an app.
    I truly respect the fact that as a 13 year old she’s coding and it’s wonderful. But don’t bring down engineering. Many people look up to you, and please be careful with your words.

    If you really want your children to grow into engineers, may be try to teach them some physics first. And perhaps some mathematics. Some serious mathematics…..

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