Why Kids Should Start Programming

There is an increasing realization that knowing how to program is essential, especially for the younger generation. A couple of weeks ago we talked about how kids can start to begin programming and what programming language to choose for their first adventure in the IT world. Today we’d like to talk about why coding is a necessary skill for kids to learn as they grow. First let’s understand why kids should start programming and why this could be so important to their future.

While we’re living in an era of fast technological innovation and change, there is a growing necessity for people who don’t only know how to use the connected world (anything from computers, smartphones, programmable devices, the IoT etc.), but also understand how to utilize all these things in new and innovative ways. So learning to code for children should become as basic as learning to read and write and should be treated as such in primary schools worldwide.

Connected devices are already changing our world

Computers, smartphones, and smart devices will shape our kids’ world as they grow up, just as Physics, Math, Biology and Chemistry shape our world of today. In about 20-30 years, an inability to code or at least to understand the logic-based thinking behind it to some level will be just as remarkable as illiteracy or innumeracy is nowadays. So it will be better to give your kid that knowledge and skills of coding as soon as possible.

Code is becoming one of the world’s most widely used languages

Computer Science is the new language of the world and it’s one of the fastest growing areas of study. Almost every aspect of human life relies more and more on software development, computing, and programming. If your kid studies coding from primary school, then you give your child a chance to get a well-paid job and to do some of the most interesting and challenging jobs that could appear in the future. Some specialists predict that in 2020 there will likely to be more than a million unfilled jobs that depend on coding and programming.

Kids learn better and faster when they’re young

This fact is true for any field of study. Kids have better learning skills than adults do – their minds are more flexible and open, and learning to code is like learning a new foreign language, it’s easier when you’re young. Also starting in their childhoods, kids are getting in touch with smart devices and computers, so it makes sense to take advantage of the natural tendency that children have to learn faster and better when they’re younger. This is not only about coding itself, it’s also about logic-based thinking, which is an ability to think and understand processes in the real world.

Coding is about creativity

Just like arts and crafts is a way to express creativity, coding can be fun and empowering skill for kids today. Another benefit of teaching kids how to code is that it provides tools to unleash their creativity of how they can build their own solutions in their own way.

There are some online platforms, like Scratch and others that teach kids how to code in a way that is not boring and doesn’t make them feel like they’re sitting in a classroom and learning something they don’t want to. They can start by playing games and if a child doesn’t like some aspect of a game, he can change it by rewriting the code. They are also able to find games or apps that other kids have modified so they can learn from the experience of other kids.

Talk with Bill Gates on Scratch
Talk with Bill Gates on Scratch

Problem solving and critical thinking

These two skills will help kids to achieve success in their future careers. Coding helps kids to develop critical thinking skills and problem solving processes that are not only important in computer science, but in many courses that are taught in schools as well. It teaches how to look outside the box and to find a better solution by comparing the opportunities and the threats of a situation. It helps them to break big challenges down into smaller and easier manageable tasks. This type of skill is important for everyone to have, not just those one who want to work as a software or web developer in the future. These skills could help to achieve big and overwhelming goals during one’s professional career.

Learning of storytelling through code

Programming can help kids to develop consistency in their thinking. Coding is like telling a story where you need to know what to write and why one thing follows the other in a particular order. Most online courses designed for kids usually use games to teach them to code and this requires kids to follow and even to create a story line as they play and code.

One interesting thing is that in Estonia, a country that has an electronic government and also brought us Skype, in public schools first graders are learning how to code. So don’t miss out on a chance in life and don’t let your child be left behind.