Bowling Green, Ky. (March 19, 2019) – Technology is evolving at a staggering rate. For our children, the presence of technological gadgets constantly at their fingertips is simply commonplace. Behind all of those devices, mobile apps, websites, software applications, and video games is programming that instructs each thing on how to function the way we expect. A general understanding of coding can provide insight on how the technologies around us work and can also spark ideas about other untapped potential.
There is a push to incorporate coding basics into educational curriculum at earlier ages, and the movement is gaining momentum. But what makes this skill more important than other topics or trades, and why should we push another type of content that might not be of interest to all kids? Because everyone wants to give their children the best opportunities to achieve success, and teaching them to code can help to prepare them for a potential career in a high-demand field. Plus, there are many intrinsic benefits that come with learning those skills.
It is estimated that 2.4 million STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs went unfilled in 2018. Of all the new STEM jobs created, 71% are in computing, but only 8% of STEM graduates are in the field of computer science. Developer jobs are among the fastest-growing types of technology jobs, and the current top tech skills in demand include machine learning, mobile development, data visualization, artificial intelligence, and virtual/augmented reality.
Exposure to coding can help kids realize it might be a subject of interest or something at which they possibly excel. But even if someone isn’t wired to be in the field of technology, there are still benefits to coding education.
Here’s Why Coding is Cool
Coding should not be viewed as an exclusive skill that takes time away from other important educational areas. Instead, it cultivates traits that will pay dividends in education, everyday life, and in almost any career. It is no longer depicted with a stereotype of being “nerdy.” It is now a cool field with almost limitless potential. The nature of coding itself requires taking a project and breaking it down into pieces that correspond to a series of steps that lead to a solution. It strengthens thinking skills and requires experimentation and creativity.
Coding fosters improvements in written and verbal communication, organization, and attention to detail. Kids often learn to have fun applying math skills they otherwise thought would never be used in real life. An inherent part of programming at any level includes debugging. That process teaches skills of problem-solving, working through issues, and perseverance with the ability to immediately test and see results. It isn’t simply teaching lines of code, but teaching a different way of thinking.
Education has evolved past memorizing facts and figures, in part because so much information can be retrieved almost instantly with a web search or by asking your virtual assistant of choice. Now, education is more about how to sift through the vast amounts of information to determine what is reliable, developing problem-solving skills, and learning to adapt to change.
Clearly everyone isn’t destined for a career in programming or even technology. However, it provides a unique opportunity to better understand what drives the technology we now view as essential to everyday life.
Code.org is a nonprofit organization focused on expanding access to computer science in schools with the vision to allow every student to have the opportunity to learn computer science just like any other core subject. You may want to ask how your child’s school is evolving to incorporate these skills into their educational experience. There are also numerous resources that can allow your children to be introduced to coding at home in fun and entertaining ways.
About the author: Ryan Johnson is Connected Nation’s Manager of IT Operations. Ryan manages, secures, and oversees the network operations center and systems at Connected Nation and manages the development and implementation of long-term technology strategies for Connected Nation and its programs and projects.
Ryan is also a father. He lives in Kentucky with his wife and four children.
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