We’ve been going on and on about how the world is undergoing a major change and how everything is and will be about technology in the near future. Technology has made our lives simpler, easier, and quicker; and among all of these technologies, computers and the internet take the cake. However, there is another dark horse behind the success of these technologies: Coding.
Now, you might ask what has coding got to do with it. We say everything! Especially today when a lot of things that we do or use is influenced by coding — sending texts and emojis, sharing memes and jokes on Smartphones, watching videos, booking movie tickets, traveling, ordering food on a Sunday afternoon while sitting in your comfy pajamas, watching Netflix; almost everything is now possible with a few taps and swipes even on a screen of 4”. And this will not stop here. The pace with which everything is transforming, almost everything will rely on computers and coding; and who knows, things which we cannot right now imagine might become commonplace in the near future, courtesy programming.
First Things First
What is coding and why is everybody talking about it?
Simply put, coding or computer programming is the language using which one tells computers to perform different tasks; these tasks can range from sending a simple text message to simulating the entire space. Though computers can perform all of these tasks with great precision, they still cannot decisions on their own; they have to be told what to do and how to do it step by step. That is why coding is extremely necessary.
But this is not the only reason why coding is indispensable. Looking at the direction in which technology is advancing and how it’s transforming everything around us, it can be safely said that almost every job right now requires some form of computer literacy. And the jobs that would come up in the near future might even require to know at least basic level coding.
Why Should Kids Today Learn How to Code?
Today’s generation is born and brought surrounded by technology. Kids these days know how to unlock cellphones, play games, and watch videos before they can even speak properly. As they grow, their proficiency in using technology further increases. But most of them don’t know what goes on at the back that allows them to all of this with just a few simple taps and swipes. Not knowing how stuff happens tends to make you its slave after some time and you become so much dependent on it that you lose your ability to think and to function without it.
“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.”
– Christian Lous Lange
This was one reason. Another major reason is the increase in STEM jobs, especially in the field of computer science. A report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce says that as of 2018, 51% of the total STEM occupations and computer science occupations. They also rank among the top ten highest paying jobs. Despite this, the number of positions that go vacant is quite large. According to the 2018 STEM Education Report Card by the Washington Student Achievement Council, the projections for the years 2020–2025 show that Out of the total annual job openings in Computer Science, only 35.7% will be filled by graduates that will be prepared for the jobs. The remaining 64.3% will go unfilled.
Reason? Lack of graduates with the required skill set. And if this gap isn’t filled, after some time it might become impossible to keep up with technology and the world might get into a downward spiral.
Till now we’ve been talking about the need for introducing children to coding from the perspective of the world. Does this mean there isn’t much for them in it personally?
Of course not! Learning programming skills carries with numerous benefits. It helps them develop creativity and cognitive skills. Learning to code is just like learning a new language. And studies show that learning a new language help the brain in a lot many ways. It improves memory, boosts brain power, and keep it sharper for a longer time. Learning programming skills also helps children problem-solving skills, and helps them relate to the world around them better. How? Coding essentially involves taking bigger problems and breaking them down into smaller and simpler problems. Once they get used to it, children approach problems in every other domain of their life in a similar fashion. It thus helps them deal with those seemingly daunting problems in an easier and efficient way.
“Learning to write programs stretches your minds, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”
– Bill Gates
Apart from developing problem-solving skills, learning to code makes kids more creative. It pushes them to come up with out-of-the-box ideas and solutions. Perhaps the most important benefit of learning programming skills is persistence — not giving up and methodically looking for solutions through research and collaborations. And the satisfaction one feels after succeeding is cherry on the top!
Worlds Greatest Minds on Coding
If you’re still not convinced why your kid should learn how to code, here is what some of the biggies of the world have to say about it:
“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.”
– Stephen Hawking
“Everyone in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.’
– Steve Jobs
“My number one piece of advice is: you should learn how to program.”
– Mark Zuckerberg
“Whether we’re fighting climate change or going to space, everything is moved forward by computers, and we don’t have enough people who can code. Teaching young people to code early on can help build skills and confidence and energize the classroom with learning-by-doing opportunities.”
– Richard Branson
If they also agree on how essential learning how to code is, that it is the need of the hour, who are we to disagree with them?
In a Nutshell
With the world passing through a phase of drastic transformations and moving towards a digital era, learning how to code is fast becoming a must for the generation of today. Not only is it going to help them become better innovators and develop skills necessary for the computer science occupations in the world of STEM, but also in personal development. And what is more, some the world’s greatest minds continuously keep on emphasising on its importance. Hence, it becomes quite logical to encourage our kids to take up coding at a very young age so that they can prepare themselves for what the future holds for them.