Our first Intermediate course was on SQL/databases.

SQL & Partners – April 2024

Hope IT just finished our first Intermediate course.  We want to start creating more Intermediate courses, for students that have taken many of our beginning courses, and to offer them topics that lead directly into paid positions.

SQL (and databases) is one such topic so many programmers know.  SQL has been stable for 3 decades unlike other tools and languages that change rapidly over time.  Part of the reason is the many companies that have databases that use SQL, and many programmers just pull data out using this technology, and the problem is so well bounded.  The flip side is, because so many programmers know SQL, it is one of those languages that new databases need to offer, if it will be widely adopted.

With this new course, we only had one student that was ready for this Intermediate course, so this was an invite-only situation.  As this student is far away from LA, we adapted the course to be on-line.  It is best to have this course be taught in-person.

Another interesting development occurred:  Due to all the Hope IT team members schedules in March, we could not all be at the course.  So we took turns leading the course; we all know SQL.  This allowed each of the Hope IT team members to explain different topics, and give different emphasis.  Overall, this course turned out to be very strong…and advanced…for this one student.  We learned how to improve the course for next time.  Below are some of the highlights.

  1. We tried to make it fun, so we used an old 1950’s novelty song: “One Eye, One Horn Flying Purple People Eater”.  (See picture above).  Look it up for the video.  The idea is, if there are dangerous alien one-eye creatures, how about 2 eye creatures?  3-eyed creatures?  You get the idea…one needs a database to keep track of all the creatures.
  2. We used SQL to pull the data of these creatures from the database.  We used an on-line database emulator called DB-Fiddle.  We also have all our slides and sample code in our Git Lab (commercial public code repository) site, for the student to review as he wishes.  (The picture below shows you a visual example of what SQL does, pulling data out of the creatures table.)
  3. We showed how to add (insert) more creatures, delete creatures, and change (update) creatures.  We also used dates to track when creatures were found.  Dates are a key part of SQL and databases; students need to understand how time is represented.
  4. We got into very advanced topics like:
  • Indexes: How to structure data for very fast retrieval.
  • Transactions: How to ensure a whole group of changes are done at one time.
  • Very Large databases: We just reviewed what professionals need to think about when your database is very, very large.

To touch this off, in the same theme of showing differences, our Scriptural reflections was the parable of the sower, and the 4 different places the seeds were sown.  And we reflect how we can be good soil.


Hope IT would not be able to function without partners.  No kids, no laptops, no Rotobic kits, no internships, no funds for kids that are assistants and co-instructors, no fun, no Hope IT.  Our partners make it happen.  So we appreciate all our partners.  We created a new web page, see the link below.


Here we want to highlight, and thank our partners:

  1. Knox Presbyterian Church has been with us since day 1.  We are in year 8 now.  Knox has supported us with prayers, encouragement, financial support, offer their rooms for our courses, allowing us to use their background checks, the same they do with all the adults that work with the Knox children at Sunday School.
  2. BridgesUS is Hope IT’s fiscal sponsor, and provides us monthly coaching.  Bridges has been a key partner to offer the internships to kids, working on the Bridges website, using WordPress.  Lastly, Bridges handles the work permits and checks to kids that go through our internship, or are paid being assistants or co-instructors in the Hope IT courses.
  3. Barnabas Robotics offers us encouragement, and are our friends.  We buy our Robotic kits from them, as they are packaged nicely and well-thought out.
  4. Door of Hope has been a key partner over many years, but especially these last 2 years.  Most of the students coming to the Hope IT courses after COVID have been from the Door of Hope.
  5. Sycamores (Foster Care Group Home) in Altadena has sent some of their boys over many years now to Hope IT courses.  We continually work together to find ways to get their boys enrichment opportunities at the Hope IT courses.
  6. Stars (after-school and mentorship program) has been a partner for years with Hope IT.  Our highlights are having 3 Stars-only courses.  2 were WordPress during COIVD; these were on-line courses.  A more recent course was creating games with Roblox, with 4th and 5th graders; that was our largest course ever, with 9 students.

Meeting with Stars

Hope IT just had a good re-introduction with Stars a few weeks ago.  As mentioned above, Stars is an after-school and mentoring program for underserved kids in the Pasadena area.  Three members of the Hope IT team came. Hope IT visited their new facilities at Lake Avenue Church.  We heard about many of their efforts during COVID, caring for kids and families around Pasadena.  We are touched and just in awe of their work.  We spoke to key members of the Stars team, and showed what Hope IT has done since 2023.  We agreed to find ways to partner.  We look forward to working with them going forward.  (We forgot to take a picture to show you all.)

Hope IT has a little break in April and May, before we finish this school year with another course in June, Solving Mazes with Python.  We’ll probably have a few more newsletters before the school ends.

We are so grateful for all your prayers, support, and encouragement.  We think kids do see their skill and confidence improve, and see their futures more positively.  Thank God.

Peace,–Mike Veerman
Hope IT team lead

Week 1 in our SQL course – SELECTing all rows from the Creatures table

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