Opinion, Science & Tech

Programming: Why Children Should Learn Coding

The digital revolution is advancing with every passing year. We are at a point where technology has taken over our lives, being incorporated into everything we do, from entertainment to business. So why aren’t we getting our children in on the ground floor? Programming and computer literacy is still considerably low across the board, while jobs in the field exploded.

We all live with laptops on our desks, Smart-TVs on our walls and little super-computers in our pockets, yet we don’t understand them. Rarely do we conceive how these things work, as long as they do what we expect them to do. They have become ordinary objects. However, they are also our greatest potential. There are almost half a million vacant computing jobs in the US alone. It shows that we have missed a grand opportunity to not only push innovation further along but denying our children to reap the benefits of the digital age in the process. Apart from shallow consumption that is.

While the youngest of our society arguably already possess more computer literacy than any of us, they still lack significant insights in the field. According to code.org, 90% of parents would love for their children to study computer science yet only 40% of schools in the US offer corresponding courses. And even if classes are on offer, we usually offer them way too late in the curriculum.

Not all Children are Potential Programmers

I’m not saying we should impose programming on every child, but as with many other subjects, children don’t know they enjoy or are capable of learning programming until they can try it for themselves. That is a problem. Programming is a bit like a language for the mind and becoming comfortable with its concepts early on, can go a long way in improving our output of trained computer specialists. Even if we were to teach children coding, it wouldn’t mean all of them would become programmers as well. Programming can teach kids many desirable traits that don’t necessarily have to culminate in them becoming the next Bill Gates.

At its most basic core, programming or coding teaches basic logic and problem-solving skills that are applicable beyond the prospect of computer programs. Breaking down issues and situations and instructing a computer to solve those step by step has a transcending influence on other aspects of life too. It, at the very least, creates an understanding of the technologies we use on a daily basis, which is vital going forward. Our life will not become less entangled with technology; we may even get to a point where almost all job fields will require at least minor computer skills. Most of them already do.

How to get Kids Started in Programming

Apart from the need to have children try out coding early in school and incorporating it as a more readily available option throughout their school lives, parents can try to get their children in touch with programming and computer logic early on. Hour of Code to give children a little peek into what programming is and means. Going from there, Code.org also provides age-appropriate courses to teach basic concepts leading kids into the world of programming logic.

Parents could potentially benefit from learning a bit of coding themselves along the way, as it likely improves their earning potential while being able to give support to their kids.

While it can be an intimidating task to learn how to program computers, if taken step by step, it is a manageable task for almost everyone. You don’t have to be a genius to learn coding and programming. All it takes is time, determination, and to understand that this is the path we, as a society, have to take to ensure the digital revolution keeps being as progressive as it is.

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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