What do Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, and Snoop Dogg all have in common? They have all used their celebrity status to promote the need for more computer programming education. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, emphasized the universality of programming when he said, “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.” His statement couldn’t be truer as countless statistics demonstrate the improved job prospects of individuals with coding skills compared to those without.
In fact, the top source of new wages in the United States is computer jobs. This is because the demand is high for computer programmers. Regardless of industry, every company requires a coder, whether it’s needed to create a website, software, or an app.
As technology continues to touch even the most remote industries, the opportunities for coding are endless. Not to mention the fact that computer software majors can earn 40 percent more than the average college graduate. Teaching children to code has become the single best way to set a child up for success. Even if children choose not to go into a tech-related career, learning to code improves essential life skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity; which can lead to success in other areas of work.
Coding Improves Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Although it can be frustrating for children, coding is one of the best ways to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Unlike other areas of study, students can’t simply wing it when it comes to coding. To successfully solve a coding problem, children have to take the time to understand it and come up with a course of action.
Sometimes coding leads to roadblocks that can only be solved through backtracking and trying again, teaching children determination and patience. When children learn these critical thinking and problem-solving skills at a young age, they are more likely to have the confidence and skills required to tackle challenges in areas of life, both within and outside of the classroom.
Coding Promotes Creativity
Aside from the obvious STEM skills that coding instills, it can promote artistic skills like creativity. Former President of the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel emphasized this point when he spoke about coding, saying that it
unlocks creativity and builds confidence in students regardless of age, gender, or race.
While many view coding as an abstract concept that is difficult to grasp, it’s simply a universal language that can be utilized to create anything from programming a remote control to a complicated video game. The best part about coding is that they enjoy learning about it. A study found that 54 percent of students enjoyed computer science class, second only to art class.
Given the technologically saturated world of today, learning to code is as relevant, if not more so, than learning about photosynthesis or geometry. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of American schools offer computer science programs, which leaves 60 percent of children without access to programs that could propel them towards success.
While most children will never use the quadratic formula outside of the classroom, coding is a skill that would undoubtedly be utilized in many avenues of life and, therefore, could be considered the one skill your kid needs to excel in life.
Kali Muir is an ambitious freelance writer with a BA in Communications. She was born in Canada but has since lived in Norway, Denmark, and England. Her work experience is as diverse as her past addresses, including roles in technical communication, corporate communication, marketing, and article writing. She has experience working in varied business sectors: Oil & Gas, Engineering & Technology, Clothing & Equipment Retail, and Creative Writing. Follow Kali’s professional and personal journey at www.kalimuir.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.