Posted on October 27 2016
In our technology-fueled world, coding seems to be the most coveted skill on resumés today. It’s the backbone of every computer program, app, and website we use. So, how important is learning to code? Will focusing on coding pigeon-hole our kids’ career opportunities, or is it an expertise that will translate across many industries?
Isn’t it astounding to think that our parents’ generation worked without computers? How is that possible? How did they get anything done? While I struggle to imagine an office filled with dictaphones and typewriters, I realize how relatively quickly computers became an integral part of office life over the past 30 years.
As I look to the future, I wonder what the working world will look like when my child begins his career. Aside from supporting him in his education, how can I best prepare him for his future?
To gain a little more insight into the world of coding, I turned to the dads in our tech department at Seedling to school me on the subject. I was curious to lean how coding relates to language, if it’s connected to creativity, and if they want their children to become programmers.
Coding can be compared to language—both have grammar and syntax. It requires the user to determine what they want to convey, and how best to craft their message. Verbal languages have thousands of words (and comparatively, few rules), whereas coding has few “words” and is mainly governed by rules.
Simply put, coding is problem-solving, a skill every parent wants their child to learn. The real challenge of coding is learning to break down complex problems into manageable chunks.
“Nothing increases problem-solving abilities more quickly and effectively than learning to program. Studying the hard sciences, mathematics, and physics is similar, but they’re tedious and tend to be more theoretical than practical. Learning how to program teaches you how to think, and how to solve problems correctly. Even out in the real world.” - Brandon
Even if children aren’t interested in computer science or engineering, having a basic knowledge of programming concepts will inform their problem-solving skills and expand their creativity. Though it may not seem like it, coding is very much a creative practice. Translating an idea from imagination to an interactive digital product is a true feat of creativity.
“Coding is a craft, and most people take pride in how beautiful their code is, or even how efficiently it runs.” - JC
Coders are able to produce interactive media like websites and video games out of thin air.
“It’s about creating experiences by tapping into the power and capabilities of all the new devices and services available. You can literally create any conceivable virtual thing.” - Kyle
Knowing there are multi-dimensional uses and benefits of coding makes me wish it were something I had studied in college—the grammar nerd in me is intrigued by the syntax rules of the digital language and how its application can create virtual realities straight from the imagination.
There are many resources available to introduce kids to the world of computer programming and coding. Hundreds of schools across the country have added computer science to their curriculum, teaching kids as early as kindergarten. If your child is really excited about learning to program, code.org is an excellent starting place, offering online courses as well as local listings for coding classes.
You can even prep kids offline at home—putting puzzles together and building with blocks help hone their problem-solving skills. Have an old telephone or broken laptop? Let them disassemble it to see the inner workings. The discoveries they make might just spark an idea that could change the world.
It’s no surprise that all three tech dads in our company want their kids to learn to code. After sharing their sentiments with me, I absolutely want the same for my own child.