10 Essential Business Contracts for Startups and Small Businesses (with Templates)
Last Updated: 9 Aug 2022
Published On: 16 Oct 2020
As a small business/startup your priority is to grow your business and maximize profits – it is easy to neglect the legal aspects that are tedious, but equally as important. A lot of start-ups even rely merely on trust and verbal agreements when conducting business in their relationships with shareholders, partners, suppliers, and customers rather than taking time to draft contracts. You must understand that failure to document these agreements and understandings properly can prove fatal to business and brand image in the event of a dispute/litigation.
What are the Essential Business Documents for a Small Company / Startup?
Most small business owners/ start-up founders are unaware of which contracts their businesses need to protect their relationships with other parties. This is understandable – don’t worry, we have a list of the 10 essential business documents for start-ups and small businesses while starting and conducting business operations:
Where do I get these Essential Business Contract Templates?
It is crucial to have templates of common business contracts. However, most business owners do not know where to obtain templates. The most obvious way is to instruct a law firm to prepare business contract templates for you. However, this costs upwards of tens of thousands of dollars and many start-ups do not have the financial resources for this. For businesses that would like to save on time and costs or without a legal budget, an alternative is to create business documents through DocPro. We will be providing you with links to all the relevant business contract templates you need. They are completely customizable, meaning you can tailor them to your needs and simply download them in Word format when you’re done.
10 Essential Business Contract Templates for Your Business
If you are running a small business/start-up and do not know how to draft business contracts, do not worry, here is a list of the ten essential business contracts templates you need to kick-start and run your small business:
1. Shareholders' Agreement
What is a Shareholders Agreement?
If you are starting a business with another person, you need to enter into a Shareholder Agreement. It regulates the relationship between the company, its shareholders, and directors and governs how your business will be managed.
What to include in a Shareholder Agreement?
It is vital to draft a comprehensive Shareholder Agreement as it will be the go-to agreement in case of potential disagreement between the shareholders.
Here are some key provisions that your Shareholder Agreement must include:
Why is it important?
When starting a business with a limited budget/resources, owners often make the mistake of running the business without setting up a proper business structure. As such, when the business grows and starts to generate revenue, issues arise amongst the co-founders and can lead to business failure. Without a Shareholder Agreement, you will expose the business to huge risks and litigation costs, howsoever unforeseeable it may seem right now.
Shareholders Agreement Templates:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Shareholders Agreement - Equal Shareholdings
A Shareholders Agreement is suitable for the set-up of a simple joint venture - a company with equal shareholding. This agreement is drafted for 4 parties and can be in Neutral, Strict or Loose Form.
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Shareholders Agreement - Unequal Shareholdings
A Shareholders Agreement to be entered into upon completion or establishment of the Joint Venture Company with standard clauses for minority protection. This agreement is drafted by four parties and can be in Neutral Form, or favor of the Majority / Minority Shareholder.
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Parental Guarantee to other parties in relation to Shareholders Agreement
In relation to a Joint Venture / Shareholders Agreement, a guarantee is given by a party's parent to the other shareholders for the party's obligations.
2. Investment Agreement
What is an Investment Agreement?
An Investment Agreement is a contract between a company and investors who want to purchase shares of the company. The investor can be a new shareholder, an external investor or even an existing shareholder.
What does it include:
The Investment Agreement covers the following key provisions:
Why is it important?
As your business grows, you will need funding to expand and grow in new areas. As such, you need to enter an Investment Agreement and outline the terms and conditions for the incoming investor such as restrictive covenants on selling/transferring of company shares, rights to purchase new shares, etc. Since the investors will have ownership rights in your business, it is important to have a well-drafted Investment Agreement to minimize the chance of disputes.
Investment Agreement Template:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Investment Agreement – Single Investor
An investment agreement is a contract defining the terms of investment which a single investor invests in a company owned by managers/founders. The agreement is drafted in neutral form.
4. Service Agreement
What is a Service Agreement?
A Service Agreement is an agreement under which one party agrees to provide services to the other party for remuneration.
What to include in the Service Agreement?
A Service Agreement must include:
Why is it important?
If you are in the business of providing a service, you need to execute a service agreement to define the terms of your relationship with clients, so you are both on the same page and do not clash. It also helps you to define your responsibilities as a service provider and limits your liability in the event of a third-party claim.
Additionally, as the business expands, consistent use of the Service Agreement with the clients will make the contract management process more efficient.
Service Agreement Templates:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Service Agreement – Long Term Neutral
A Service Provider providing various services in relation to Customer on a regular, long-term basis. Both parties intend for the services to continue indefinitely. This agreement is drafted in Neutral Form.
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Service Agreement – Long Term Provider
A Service Provider providing various services in relation to Customer on a regular, continuous, or long-term basis. Both parties intend for the services to continue indefinitely. This agreement is drafted in favor of the Service Provider.
5. Employment Contract
What is an Employment Contract?
An employment contract is a legally binding agreement between an employer and employee that outlines the terms of employment.
What to include in the Employment Contract?
It includes the following key provisions:
Why is it important?
The employment contract is beneficial to both the employer and employee as it ensures that both parties clearly understand the scope of employment. This has the effect of minimizing the chance of future disputes. The employee will be aware of what is expected in terms of performance standards or unacceptable behaviors at work. If the roles involve handling sensitive information, the confidentiality clause in the contract will ensure the employee does not disclose any confidential information to others.
Employment Agreement Templates:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Employment Agreement for Junior/Mid-Level Staff (simple form) Employment Agreement between the employer and junior/mid-level employee highlighting employment terms, benefits, and restrictions. This is drafted in favor of the employer.
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Employment Agreement (Junior Employee with Share Options) Employment Agreement between Company and Junior Employee with the option for Junior Employee to purchase share options. This is drafted in Neutral form.
6. Independent Contractor Agreement
What is an Independent Contractor Agreement?
An independent contractor agreement is a written agreement that establishes the business arrangement between the business owner and the contractor.
What does it include?
An Independent Contractor Agreement must include:
Why is it important?
The main purpose behind hiring independent contractors is to avoid forming a legal relationship between employer and employee/agency/partnership with the other party.
Independent contractors can be hired on a whim to execute certain projects at various stages of business. They may be a more appropriate option for start-ups as it is easier to end the relationship/contract once the project is completed without being responsible for the benefits that employees are entitled to by law.
Independent Contractor Template:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Independent Contractor Agreement – Simple Job Customer
A freelance Independent Contractor Contract performing a simple job for Customer at an Agreed Price. This agreement is drafted in favor of the independent contractor.
7. Memorandum of Understanding/Letter of Intent (“MoU”)
What is an MoU?
A Memorandum of Understanding/Letter of Intent (“MoU”) is a non-binding agreement that records the intent of parties to enter a business transaction. It is followed by a formal binding agreement between the parties.
What does it include:
MoU is a common document used among small businesses and start-ups for business transactions such as joint ventures/sale of a business. It must include:
Why is it important?
An MoU is important because it outlines the proposed business arrangement in clear terms, which will provide you with clarity on what to expect from the business relationship. It will enable you to make an informed decision before you decide to enter into a formal binding agreement with the other party. Also, it expedites the transaction that would otherwise turn out to be a lengthy process involving negotiation and drafting of a complex agreement between the parties.
Memorandum of Understanding/Letter of Intent Template:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - Joint Venture
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) in a joint venture situation. This represents the good faith intentions of the parties to proceed but is not legally binding. This document is drafted in favor of joint venture participants other than the leader.
8. Joint Venture / Partnership Agreement
What is a Joint Venture?
A joint venture is a business arrangement whereby two or more businesses collaborate to pool their resources on new business activity.
What does it include?
Why do you need it?
As a small business/start-up, you aren’t equipped with all resources and expertise (such as funding, distribution services, technology, marketing expertise, etc.) you need to fuel your innovative business idea. As such, by creating a joint venture through collaboration with other companies and combining their resources with yours, you will be able to meet your goals more easily.
There are two ways of creating a Joint venture:
If you need more information on whether you should have a joint venture or partnership, check out DocPro's blog here.
Joint Venture Template:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Joint Venture Agreement
An unincorporated Joint Venture/Consortium Agreement with a Joint Venture leader and participants to provide service to a client in a particular jurisdiction. The association is for non-permanent services required for a specific project. This agreement is drafted for four parties and can be in Neutral Form, with full or no indemnity between participants.
Partnership Agreement Template:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: General Partnership Agreement
A General Partnership established under local laws. It provides a basic Partnership framework only. This agreement is drafted for 4 parties and can be in Neutral, Strict or Loose Form.
9. Lease Agreement
In the initial stages, small businesses/start-ups usually do work from a home office. However, as the business expands, they will have to lease commercial property or rent co-working/shared office space.
What do you need to consider in the lease agreement for commercial property?
If you decide to rent a commercial property, you need to sign a lease agreement with the landlord. A lease agreement governs the use of the rented property for commercial purposes.
The important things to watch out for in a lease agreement are:
A co-working space is rented through a license to occupy, i.e., it only permits you to use the property. It does not need a traditional lease agreement, which renting a commercial property would require. Co-working spaces are therefore more popular amongst small businesses and start-ups for their lower rental prices and flexibility.
The important things to consider before renting a Co-working Space?
Can’t wait to start renting a co-working space? Check out a full blog on 5 things to consider before renting a co-working space. Read more at: https://docpro.com/blog/5-things-to-consider-before-renting-a-coworking-space.
Lease Agreement Template:
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: Lease – Commercial (Neutral)
Lease of commercial property with options on rent-free period and early termination. A lease is over 3 years and in the form of a deed. This is drafted in neutral form.
DOWNLOAD IN WORD OR PDF: License to Occupy - Commercial / Shared Office Neutral
This License gives the licensee the right to occupy the commercial property for a defined length of time. A licensee has only a personal interest, and this interest can be revoked by the landowner at any time. This is a shared office arrangement drafted in neutral form.
What is GDPR, and does it apply to your business?
General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is a complex and strict privacy law drafted and passed by the European Union. As a business, you are responsible for complying with the GDPR if you are collecting or processing data concerning people living in the European Union. Any non-compliance with the GDPR policy can result in heavy penalties.
If you deal in global markets and the GDPR policy applies to you, check out our complete guide to GDPR for small businesses: https://docpro.com/blog/a-guide-to-the-7-principles-of-gdpr-for-small-businesses-and-consumers.
Please note that this is a general guide to the most common contracts a business will need. This does not constitute legal advice. As each business may be different, you may want to speak to your local lawyer.
Prasanth Ramaswamy is a legal contributor to DocPro. Prasanth is a practicing solicitor at a leading international law firm specializing in corporate and finance law.
If you would like to become a blog contributor to The Misfits Lair, please click the link below:
The documents provided are for general reference only and do not constitute legal or professional advice. For more information, please see Legal Notices © 2022 DocPro Inc. All rights reserved. DocPro is a registered trademark of DocPro Inc.
Coding classes for kids and teens
Technology is all around us, so it is essential that children have an understanding of coding which is basic literacy in our digital world. Learning to code not only helps students understand their digital world, but it also improves communication, creativity, math, writing, and confidence. More so, learning to code provides a solid foundation for your child’s future success both academically and personally.
At the most basic level, coding is a method of communicating with a computer. It uses language that a computer understands to give a computer instructions in order to perform specific functions. Coding allows us to create things such as computer software, websites, apps and video games.
Coding is better when learning begins early because it helps children gain an appreciation for how things work and develops problem-solving skills. These skills are essential for academic achievement and future careers. Learning how to solve problems is a life skill that that is easier to learn young and continues to improve and develop over time. When children face challenges throughout life, they can use their sophisticated problem-solving skills to navigate solutions.
Learning to code is a challenge for kids that teaches them tenacity and success. They begin to understand that when you fail, you can learn from the mistakes, bounce back and begin again. This resilience is an important life skill that will assist with the obstacles and challenges faced throughout life. When kids learn from their mistakes and eventually reach success, they realize that facing obstacles and experimenting leads to success.
Coding helps children learn how to think differently. Students learn more than just typing code into a computer; they learn how to think logically. They will learn how to take a big problem and break it down into smaller pieces until it is solved.
Computer programming is not always connected to creativity but learning how to code helps children understand how to experiment which gives them the confidence to be creative. They get to design something and watch it come to life. They can design games and activities which adds to the fun of coding.
Learning to code is like learning any other language, it is better to start early and improves with consistent and regular classes that get more advanced over time.
It can begin as early as elementary school and progress through middle school and high school. Continuous courses that advance with your child allow them to build skills and gain a more advanced understanding of how to code.
A Basic Guide to Bitcoin
In collaboration with Commodity.com LLC, "Your Go-To Resource For Commodities"
It seems that everyone is talking about Bitcoin - and with good reason. In the past 2 years, the cryptocurrency has made the news multiple times. However, there still remains some confusion around what exactly Bitcoin is.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency, and secured through the use of cryptography. It is not backed by a government, a government currency (fiat money), or by precious metals.
The creator or creators of Bitcoin remain anonymous today, going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. The original idea behind Bitcoin was to be used as an alternative banking solution during the financial and mortgage crisis of 2009.
Unlike currency, bitcoin isn’t physical. It is a digital currency that exists only on a digital ledger known as a blockchain and in personal digital wallets. Bitcoin is used to purchase goods and services as long as the company accepts it as payment. It can also be traded or held as an investment.
Bitcoin was created as a form of currency that doesn’t rely on banks for transactions or for governments to issue. The intention is for it to be free of the inflationary problems that plague government-backed currencies and make transactions smoother, quicker and cheaper.
What Determines the Value of Bitcoin?
Bitcoin’s value depends on the market demand for it. The more the public accepts it as a legitimate form of currency, the more it has risen in price. However it wasn’t deemed valuable in the early days. In 2010, one Bitcoin was worth $0.08, yet today one Bitcoin is worth $50,000.
Market demand is currently increasing as more businesses and services are accepting Bitcoin as currency. Large corporations are buying Bitcoin and adding it to their balance sheets. And it is becoming easier for anyone to buy it, sell it and send it to others using Bitcoin ATMs.
Bitcoin is a finite product and is limited to only 21 million Bitcoins. Today, there are over 18 million already mined. The last Bitcoin is expected to be mined in 2140.
Bitcoin Mining and the Blockchain
Mining and blockchain are two terms associated with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is mined, but it isn’t the type of mining like digging for gold. Every Bitcoin transaction has to be verified by miners. These miners use powerful computers to solve extremely complicated math problems.
Once a miner verifies a transaction, the nodes on the network will confirm it is valid. Once confirmed, the miners will then be rewarded Bitcoins for their service. And this is how new Bitcoins come into circulation.
Transactions are grouped together in blocks. Once a transaction is verified, the block will be added to the chain of existing blocks, which is where the term blockchain comes from. The blockchain is a digital ledger of all transactions. No one owns or controls the blockchain, and anyone can view it.
How to Buy Bitcoin
Bitcoin is purchased at a cryptocurrency exchange and, in some cases, brokerage firms. Bitcoin is divisible, which means it can be purchased in fractions of one Bitcoin. This is a great way to accumulate Bitcoin or buy just enough to keep in a digital wallet for spending.
Security is important. Choose the exchanges and brokerage firms with the best reputations. Most of these exchanges have a purchase minimum, some as low as $10 worth of Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Digital Wallet
Most exchanges will give you a digital wallet to hold the Bitcoins. It is important to remember that buying Bitcoin is not like buying stocks. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) protects shareholders if a brokerage firm fails, but cryptocurrencies are not covered. Some cryptocurrency exchanges provide insurance against theft and fraud.
There are two types of digital wallets, cold wallets and hot wallets. Hot wallets connect to the internet, which allows for quick and easy use of Bitcoins. Cold wallets are not connected to the internet. It is common to use both types of digital wallets. It is imperative not to lose the password to a digital wallet. Lost Bitcoins cannot be replaced.
How to Invest or Trade Bitcoin
Investors can buy and hold Bitcoin, expecting it to continue rising in price. Traders can trade Bitcoin and profit from the price movement of the cryptocurrency, up or down. The various methods of trading Bitcoin include:
In addition, the first North American Bitcoin ETF recently hit $1 billion in assets.
Bitcoin can be volatile, with the possibility of it rising and falling 10% or more in a day. If someone buys $100 worth of Bitcoin today, it doesn’t mean they will have $100 in their digital wallet tomorrow. It can be used as a currency where it is accepted, and it can be bought, sold, and transferred to others around the world without having to use a regular bank.
My article peer reviewed for publication by EC21 R&C in cooperation with NIPA (cyber security agency in South Korea).
In the Internet era, Big Data is term applied to datasets overflowing the boundaries of traditional database technologies. It brings together the power of computers and repositories with some of the largest inventories of ultra-individualized information to provide insight into every aspect of modern life and human behavior. This is a world where an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being produced every day; ninety percent (90%) of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. It is also a world where huge challenges and gigantic opportunities are created for regulators.
Data scientists, policymakers, and tax experts are looking into ways of using big data mechanisms, tools, and solutions to advance the study and reform of taxation. The debate on plans for comprehensive tax reforms are currently underway by US leaders, while they gain increased access to big data analytics to inform their policies, priorities, and strategies.
The scale and detail of data gathered by services or government agencies like IRS needs to be meaningful and reflect the reality of their user base. IRS is ubiquitous for the USA and its citizens. It is present in our daily lives, impacting life decisions and even routine. IRS can gather and organized data about most of the population and all types of businesses. For tax data, nearly every American citizen and corporate entity is responsible for paying and reporting various tax information, disclosing a considerable amount about themselves. That means an unimaginable amount of data is available for gathering, organizing, managing, and analyzing. This is the very definition of big data.
IRS receives and processes more than 250 million tax returns every year. Budget cut and workforce attrition has negatively impacted IRS capacity as it fights an estimated tax gap of more than $450 billion annually. Working smarter is the solution for more efficiency and more tools to battle tax fraud and tax evasion as identified by the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division.
Big data characteristics (for instance: volume, velocity, variety, veracity) also mean that big data employs significantly large storage space from diverse sources, stored in different formats, with different update intervals. Tax fraud analysis use of big data is a game changer as methods, techniques and technologies are released. Data mining through analytics is employed in the knowledge discovery in databases process, deploying predictive and descriptive tasks.
Through data mining, fraud investigation analyzes large volumes of data to discover unrecognized or unperceived patterns in data sets by leveraging statistical analysis and database technologies to find those patterns.
Predictive tasks work with machine learning and related technologies to make a prediction for each observation resulting from data-mining. Prediction employs regression analysis to examine relationships between independent variables and dependent variables. Financial complexity demands the volume of variables provided by big data to make more accurate predictions. The statistical techniques for these include linear regression, multivariate linear regression, nonlinear regression, and multivariate nonlinear regression (as well as the more complex logistic regression, decision trees, and neural networks). Other, more complex predictive techniques of data mining appropriate to fraud detection or prevention include rule-based fuzzy reasoning, genetic algorithms, Bayesian belief networks and fuzzy neural networks.
Descriptive tasks, which include association rules and cluster analysis, describe the data under analysis. These tasks can be used to create models of behaviors (or transactions) that could fall under suspicious categories. Descriptive tasks might be types of association rule analysis including multilevel association rules, multidimensional association rules, and quantitative association rules. Association rule algorithms generate rules describing potentially fraudulent situations. Cluster analysis collects data into related subsets patterns, a discovery of patterns that can be used to discover or prevention financial fraud.
Complex and large-scale analytics such as what IRS fraud detection employs, requires big data, or the use of multiple data sources. An audit executed to discover fraud would integrate large internal and external datasets (demographics, taxpayer or corporate profiles, previous filings, call center data, and audit histories). The data analyzed could include many years of historical data as well as external data. The volume and variety of data would be difficult to analyze without the analytics tool-set of big data and the work of data scientists.
There are sources indicating the deployment of “spiders” by the IRS (automated computer programs) to review social media sites. Reports have also indicated the adoption of phone tracking technologies (for example, “Stingray”, a cell site simulator). Also, IRS keeps considerable volumes of data through utilizing more traditional technologies (for example, NRP and Individual Master File database). Independently from the accuracy of these sources and reports, a solid conclusion is that IRS has access to many data sets.
IRS is cross-referencing and mining these data sets to execute run pattern recognition algorithms so that trends can be identified enabling the understanding of the relationships in the data. IRS has employed several advanced techniques and tools in these efforts (including anomaly detection, advanced clustering and neural networks), with the objective of improving case selection and coordination among IRS divisions. Data analytics and predictive policing will help the IRS identify tax-reporting anomalies and identify tax evasion on a larger scale.
Within the accounting and tax law profession, big data and analytics are associated with automation. Offloading data management and processing power to computers translates to less manual labor to dissect numbers, construct models, and conduct independent analysis. This does not at all the end of opportunities for those tax professionals. It represents instead new beginnings, fresh opportunities, new knowledge, and a renewed importance of the experts working with these machines.
The partnership between data scientists, programmers and law professionals with masters in law in taxation (LLM) degrees is necessary to ensure the right questions are being asked about the wealth of information found through big data, to interpret the feedback derived from algorithms and data queries, and to provide guidance for the development of future policies.
In the accountant profession, Master of Taxation is offered for those professionals seeking advancement in the field. Like previous example, this expertise is important to hoard the data being collected, managed, and organized, to ensure that the analytic potential of available technology tools is leveraged optimally. As big data enables policymakers to be rely more on scientific methods while working on tax reform, experts in tax law and accounting continue to be needed to make the new robust information accessible, meaningful, and useful.
Big data umbrella with the analytic capabilities it provides, has already demonstrated disruptive for different industries. In the internet age, very few entities (people, businesses, governments) living in the 21st century are isolated from the impact of big data. Tax processes, policies and practices are no exception. Taxpayers are looking for solutions and opportunities to make tax planning and compliance more seamless and automatic. Government, likewise, is investing in new ways to collect, organize, and utilize big data to enforce and reform taxes in the United States. Human creativity together with with analytic capabilities of modern technology, represent a brand-new era for taxation.
Over the last ten-year period, IRS investments in big data analytics will result in good return, in areas such a international tax enforcement through the collaboration with international tax enforcement efforts (country funded programs, document leaks, among others). Information reporting and information-sharing agreements have led to important structural changes in the global collaboration of tax-related information. These results will only further strengthen the new initiatives (highlight to the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, known as the “J5”).
Positive results produced by those investments will pave the path to enable new efforts to focus on areas that are ripe for development. Certainly, the one example at the top of anyone’s list is Cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency-related tax compliance is unknown, most likely enormous. According to IRS reports, less than 1,000 taxpayers reported gains with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin during the 2013-2015 period. The IRS is actively mining newly received data from actions on different exchanges servicing the USA.
For the IRS, the future of fighting tax fraud has arrived. Among the different processes, tools and efforts, IRS has embraced big data analytics, only seen the tip of the iceberg has surfaced. With a reported year-over-year 400 percent increase in tax fraud detection and more than 1,000 percent increase in the identification of proceeds from other financial crimes, IRS is likely to increase its skates on its bet on big data, big data technologies, and tools.
Citations and References
Freeman, J. B. (2019, January). The IRS and Big Data: The Future of Fighting Tax Fraud. Today's CPA, pp. 5-6.
Klasing, D. (2019, September 2). How the IRS Uses Big Data Analytics to Catch (and Punish) Tax Evaders. Retrieved from Klasing Associates: https://klasing-associates.com/irs-uses-big-data-analytics-catch-punish-tax-evaders/
Malaszczyk, K., & Purcell, B. M. (2018, June). Big data analytics in tax fraud detection. Journal of Finance and Accountancy, 1-10.
Villanova University. (2020). Big Data and Tax Reform. Retrieved from Villanova University Tax and Business Online: https://taxandbusinessonline.villanova.edu/blog/big-data-and-tax-reform/
How many coding resources are available these days? Coding is in vogue but the options are overwhelming. This new and unpublished article by Code Wizards HQ is for my readers who are interested in kids' coding education but not really sure where they want to start.
A recent study found that 76% of parents want their children to end up in STEM-related careers. And with an ever-growing number of jobs requiring knowledge of new technologies, it isn’t very hard to see why. From manufacturing to marketing, most jobs today are dependent on computers for their success. And computers are dependent upon code.
That’s probably why so many parents are hoping to get their kids into coding.
As many as 85% of parents are encouraging their children to learn to code, according to one study. But despite wanting their kids to learn, many parents are at a loss about the best resources available to help kids to code. Where can a parent start when they want to help their child dive into this new field, especially if they don’t know much about coding themselves? We're here to help!
We’ll help you narrow down the options by explaining the different categories of resources out there. Then, you can decide which resources best meet your needs.
One of the best all-around methods for teaching kids to code is taking a coding class. Coding classes come in a variety of formats and price ranges, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. That can make it tricky to pick the right coding class.
For instance, in-person classes have teachers that regularly interact with their students. This is a huge advantage because it means that students can receive real-time feedback on their questions! However, many live coding classes have limited schedules and require you to live nearby. Depending on where you live, it can be hard to find coding classes near you.
Online classes, on the other hand, allow for flexibility in both scheduling and location, but are often pre-recorded. That can limit their ability to respond to questions quickly, or even at all!
Of course, there are other classes that combine the best of both worlds by hosting live classes on an online platform. These allow for flexibility of location and real-time feedback.
Coding apps can be a great supplemental resource for kids learning to code. Many kid’s coding apps use bright colors, animations, and fun gameplay to encourage kids to learn the basics of coding. They can be great for getting an understanding of what a conditional or a loop is, but few of them get into the nitty-gritty of real-world coding.
If you are wanting to get the most out of coding apps, it's better to use them in conjunction with an established coding course. That way, the base concepts taught in the coding apps can immediately be used in a more and more specific context.
Another useful supplemental activity is a coding challenge.
Coding challenges, or hackathons, are hosted events where coders get the chance to simultaneously reach outside their coding comfort zone and show off their skills. It adds a competitive element to the learning process, which can be a great motivator for many kids.
Usually, there is a specific challenge or set of challenges that must be overcome through the use of code. The difficulty levels can vary greatly between challenges, but that’s part of the fun! Challenges are often teacher-directed events, too. That way, even if a challenge proves too difficult for a kid to figure out on their own, the teacher is there to help them learn and progress.
While coding classes are the fullest featured and most effective way to learn the intricacies of coding, they do take a while to get through. Sometimes, it can be an effective use of time to move quickly through the basics so you can spend your time on the more advanced skills.
Which is where coding camps come in.
Coding camps, or coding bootcamps, are intensive courses designed to get their students through the basics. That way they can focus on the lessons that they really want to be learning. They save valuable time by teaching a wide variety of coding skills quickly.
Since they only last for a short period of time, they are a great fit for students who have a chunk of free time available to dedicate to learning a new skill. Summer break is a great time for this.
More intensive coding camps can help students to master the basics quickly and take higher-level classes sooner. It's a great way to accelerate their learning.
In today’s connected world, it may seem odd to mention books as being a good coding resource, but there are some definite advantages to the medium.
For one, no one can be online all the time, and books can be a great resource even when screen time is over. Books tend to be a lot more in-depth than many online guides because the authors know that all the necessary information needs to be included upfront. There’s not the option to link to throw in a link to supplemental material.
And, it can be a lot easier to flip between a physical book and what’s happening on the screen without losing your place. Though, that can be a matter of preference.
Of course, the effectiveness of any book as a coding resource depends greatly on which book you’re using. It can be difficult to know if a specific book will cover the things your kid wants to learn. Make sure to choose a book that’s listed as a reliable resource for kids to get the most value.
No matter where your kid ends up on their coding journey, there are amazing benefits to learning to code. And that will only become more true as time goes on.
Coding, as a field, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the list of amazing resources is only continuing to grow. These 5 types of resources are a great way to get started, but there are so many other great resources out there. We encourage you to find somewhere to start and explore from there!
By Suman Tripathy
For many students, myself included, their first exposure to Computer Science is through the AP Computer Science A course in high school. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are designed for high schoolers to learn subjects with the rigor, depth, and complexity of college classes. Taking AP classes can also boost a student's weighted GPA.
The AP Computer Science A curriculum emphasizes the fundamental concepts and problem solving skills that Computer Science requires, using the Java programming language. It introduces basics like variables, loops, conditionals, and methods, along with object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithms, and software design strategies. Java is a widely used programming language, useful and multifaceted because it can support abstraction, encapsulation, and object-orientation, all of which are important concepts for software engineering.
The official prerequisite for AP Computer Science A is first-year high school algebra, including function notation and other algebraic problem solving skills. Overall, the course recommends a solid foundation in mathematical reasoning. However, having worked with many students taking this course, we have found that some prior coding experience really helps students be successful in this course. At Juni, we recommend students who are new to programming start with our Python Level 1 and sometimes our Python Level 2 course before moving into Java.
The College Board's AP Computer Science A Exam
To receive college credit, students must register to take the College Board AP exam through their school, administered in May of each year. In 2017, the College Board introduced a second computer science AP course, AP Computer Science Principles. Compared to AP Computer Science A, this course "focuses on the broader aspects of computing, including not only programming but also topics like the global impact of computing, the internet and cyber-security, and creativity" (College Board). At Juni, we only offer the AP Computer Science A course.
The AP Computer Science A exam is a three hour test. The first half includes 40 multiple choice questions and accounts for 50% of the exam score. The second half includes four free response questions focused on program design, implementation, and problem solving, and it makes up the remaining 50% of the exam score. All of the questions on the AP exam involving coding use Java as the primary programming language, and test booklets include the Java Quick Reference that includes all of the accessible methods from the Java library that the AP exam may reference.
Goals of the AP Computer Science curriculum include:
5 Extremely well qualified
4 Well qualified
2 Possibly qualified
1 No recommendation
Ways to Prepare
Most students who take the AP Computer Science A take the course in high school. However, it is possible to self-study for the exam successfully. Thankfully, many great online resources exist for students!
The College Board itself has numerous helpful materials. For example, they offer a compilation of various exam tips and tricks, in addition to a test bank of each year’s free response questions, multiple-choice, sample answers, and scoring guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness in grading.
Barron's, another well-known test prep company, sells a great book for this course and offers an online practice exam as well. Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth also offers this as an online course.
At Juni Learning, we offer AP Computer Science A as a course with a private instructor that covers all of the topics on the AP exam in depth. With our classes, students are paired one-on-one with an instructor who works on concepts and test prep, tailored to the student's specific needs. With us, some students fully self-study for the AP exam, while others are simply getting exposure to the material in preparation for the school year ahead.
Our AP Computer Science A course is broken down into the following modules:
Advice From Former AP Computer Science Students
We asked Juni instructors who took AP Computer Science in high school on what they did to prepare for the AP exam and any advice that they would give current students. Here is some of their advice:
There are many different resources and programs that can help students prepare for the AP Computer Science A exam. The best fit depends on the student's learning style and time constraints.
Overall, the AP Computer Science A course is a great opportunity to learn the fundamentals of computer science and demonstrate proficiency to colleges. Passing the AP exam is a great way to earn some college credit, but more importantly it helps develop a lifelong technical skill that helps one think in new ways.
This article originally appeared on junilearning.com
Suman Tripathy holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Next fall, she will be moving to New York to pursue her Master's in Data Science. She is currently a Senior Instructor at Juni Learning. You can often find her camped out at Philz Coffee reading books and listening to music!
The Misfits Lair, a project by Zinnia Holdings LLC ©2020
By Ananya Rao
What Is An Algorithm?
algorithm is a set of step-by-step procedures, or a set of rules to follow, for completing a specific task or solving a particular problem. Algorithms are all around us. The recipe for baking a cake, the method we use to solve a long division problem, and the process of doing laundry are all examples of an algorithm. Here’s what baking a cake might look like, written out as a list of instructions, just like an algorithm:
Types of Algorithms
Algorithms are classified based on the concepts that they use to accomplish a task. While there are many types of algorithms, the most fundamental types of computer science algorithms are:
Example of an Algorithm: Solving a Rubik’s Cube
There are a number of different algorithms, from simple to very complicated, that exist for solving a Rubik’s cube. Below is just one simple algorithm. First, let’s specify a notation to use (similar to picking a programming language).
Each of the six faces of a Rubik’s cube can be represented by the first letter of their name:
Step 1: The Cross
A sorting algorithm is an algorithm that puts elements of a list in a certain order, usually in numerical or lexicographical order. Sorting is often an important first step in algorithms that solves more complex problems. There are a large number of sorting algorithms, each with their own benefits and costs. Below, we will focus on some of the more famous sorting algorithms.
Where Algorithms are Used in Computer Science?
Algorithms are used in every part of computer science. They form the field's backbone. In computer science, an algorithm gives the computer a specific set of instructions, which allows the computer to do everything, be it running a calculator or running a rocket. Computer programs are, at their core, algorithms written in programming languages that the computer can understand. Computer algorithms play a big role in how social media works: which posts show up, which ads are seen, and so on. These decisions are all made by algorithms. Google’s programmers use algorithms to optimize searches, predict what users are going to type, and more. In problem-solving, a big part of computer programming is knowing how to formulate an algorithm.
Why are Algorithms Important to Understand?
Algorithmic thinking, or the ability to define clear steps to solve a problem, is crucial in many different fields. Even if we’re not conscious of it, we use algorithms and algorithmic thinking all the time. Algorithmic thinking allows students to break down problems and conceptualize solutions in terms of discrete steps. Being able to understand and implement an algorithm requires students to practice structured thinking and reasoning abilities.
This article originally appeared on junilearning.com
Ananya Rao is studying Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and she is an instructor at Juni Learning. She is a biorobotics researcher at CMU, and she is pursuing an additional major in Robotics. She was previously a Digital Technology Intern at GE Transportation and an Assistant Teacher at the National Academy For Learning in Bengaluru, India. Ananya also enjoys dancing, building robots, and writing stories.
The Misfits Lair, a project by Zinnia Holdings LLC ©
Blockchain in Sports Betting
Wanna enter the Sports betting industry? Are you worried about the transactional data, security and entry charges?
Just relax and lean on to your chair. The amazing features of blockchain technology have reshaped the sports betting industry. It enhances safe and secure transactions as it is an open source decentralized network.
Basically, blockchain offers tremendous features like transparency, fast payouts, speedy transactions, independent in nature, etc. The most effective feature is the player’s account will not be restricted or blocked either personally or professionally due to extreme winnings.
Blockchain is the most prominent technology ruling today’s betting industry. It’s advancement in the sports industry has laid a pavement for its enormous growth in recent times.
To get detailed information, checkout the following Infographic developed by WinBTC.net in Partnership with MrBet.me.uk.
Blockchain & Mobile apps: With the vast competition already in the marketplace, several technologies are coming out to survive in the present market scenarios.
Blockchain, a most popular technology is well aware of many due to its association with cryptocurrency like bitcoin. It’s now used in mobile applications to make transactions safe, secure and speed.
Blockchain is generally used to modify the usage of mobile applications in order to make the app installation procedures simple, easy and eliminates all kinds of unwanted stuff. It has a greater ability to reshape the mobile industry with its outstanding features.
Blockchain in mobile apps ensures tremendous growth in the coming days . Checkout the following infographic on – Blockchain in mobile Application Market, developed by winbtc.net in partnership with AC Market.
By Abishai James from WinBTC.net
Bitcoin halving is often referred to as “Halvening”, it’s a formulated reduction in the reward coins offered to the miners using a predefined blockchain algorithm.
Bitcoin halvings take place once in every four – 4 years approximately, or for every 210,000 block transactions.
The process of halvening started in the year 2012, approximately after 4 years of the invention of bitcoin i.e 2008, but practically bitcoins came into play in the year 2009.
After the first bitcoin halving, the block reward of 50 bitcoins per transaction were reduced to 25 bitcoins per block or transaction, later this reward was further reduced to 12.5 and it has now fallen to 6.25 after halvening in 2020.
The main idea of halvening is to create scarcity for the coins and to control inflation, as bitcoins issuance is limited to 21 million coins as per the idea of Satoshi Nakamoto, inventor of Bitcoin.
The production of 21 million bitcoins involves 32 halvenings, we are now done with two halvenings and this might continue till or come to an end in the year 2140.
Investors from all over the world are excited and waiting for the Bitcoin price to increase, and the demand for bitcoins in the online gambling industry is high. Bitcoins are widely accepted at Bitcoin Casinos as they collect deposits in the form of cryptocurrency from their players.
To know the overview of Bitcoin Halving (Just in minutes), check out the following infographic developed by Abishai James at WinBTC.net in partnership with ACMarket.
Abishai James is a Bitcoin investor and trader, operating at WinBTC.net.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
I dedicate my life to science, technology, music and to bringing people together. And I do it my way.