Technology over the past two decades has advanced in huge leaps. Our lives have been greatly changed by the advances brought by technology. However it is the present day children who have truly adopted technology. They have grown up with tech, and using it comes naturally. They are using tech for learning in school, for their games and even for socializing. But what children are not really learning is how this tech works and that is very crucial for a generation heavily dependent on technology.
England became the first country this year to make computer programming a compulsory school subject at all levels. Computer programming subjects start from the age of 5!
While in the U.S we have not started a structured school program for coding, there are camps focusing on technology. It is not necessary we put our children through a very structured program. Even if we initiate them to the world of coding that brings many advantages. Firstly it may be something that they actually have fun with and find a very side project. Coding is like a trade skill, it can help you no matter what you do in life.
Also teaching your kids coding is the same as exposing them to a second language. While they will not speak code to communicate in public, but by learning to code they will reap the same benefits one does when learning a second language. Learning a second language improves comprehension skills and overall cognitive function is boosted.
So why should you teach your children to code? Here are some of our favorite reasons.
1. It’s like giving them building blocks but better
Children are ecstatic when using their beloved Legos out of which they build their first skyscraper, race or dinosaur. Coding is just like a box of blocks, only it has almost limitless possibilities. So if your child knows how to code, and then pairs that coding knowledge with a Raspberry Pi, they shall have their very own drone built from scratch. Or my favorite project using a Raspberry Pi is the construction of a fitness monitor.
If your kid does not feel like dabbling in hardware, they could make their very own app. It can be a fun venture and a profitable one too, simultaneously. And which kid does not want to be a game developer. The possibilities after learning coding are almost endless.
2. It opens doors to a growing field
There is a huge demand for people with good coding skills in the job market. And coding is just like a language, the earlier you learn it, the more proficient or “fluent” will you be at it.
Over the next 10 years it is expected that coding professionals will be in huge demand across all industries. Such is the universal demand for coding that 67% of the demand is forecasted to be coming from outside the tech sector! There will be 1.4 million jobs to fill, matched by only 400,000 graduates in computer science!
3. Learning to code develops logical thinking
Coding is language, and a very logical one at that. By learning to code you are essentially learning the language by which you can teach a machine to carry out a number of tasks. The better you are at coding, the more you can teach the machine. So for each task you want the machine to perform, you have to write a code that gets the “message” across, while being as brief as possible. As you can guess, achieving this is quite the challenge.
Coding is a challenge which develops our children’s’ problem solving abilities and inoculates creativity in them. Even if they do not take up coding as a profession, skills acquired as a result of learning to code are relevant all across life.
Think of teaching code as a substitute of the traditional wood-shop or home economics class in schools. Coding is the new essential life skill that we should equip our children with. It can give them a whole new tool set and very well set them on a successful career path later in the future.