Why Teens Should Learn How to Code

Computer programing, more commonly referred to as coding these days, has transcended the realms of “geekiness” into becoming a mainstream occurrence that is taking the world by storm. But what is coding, really, and why should kids do it?

What is Coding?
Coding, in the simplest terms, is giving a computer a step-by-step list of instructions it will follow; as long as they are entered correctly, the computer will carry out the commands. Learning it has been likened to studying a new language. Fortunately, many of our kids today are already pretty fluent in the language of technology and find coding not only relatively easy, but fun, too.

Why Teens Should Learn How to Code
An obvious reason is so they can keep up with the rest of the world: computers are our future, and coding is playing an ever-important role in that. Figuring out how code works, and the ways it influences technology, provides all kids a better understanding of the world around them.

It’s also beneficial for career prospects. Coding experience often gives teens a competitive edge with regards to competing for highly coveted internships or college admissions. Coding expertise is a skill that is now in high demand in the workplace, and it continues to become increasingly important.

Learning to code isn’t a great advantage in only the technological world; it can actually provide many more general benefits. Coding fosters problem solving and creativity, and enhances logical and critical thinking. Many coders will tell you that although it can be frustrating and challenging at times, it is highly rewarding, offering you a real sense of accomplishment when you succeed.

As well as all the obvious educational advantages, you can’t escape the fact that children of all ages truly enjoy coding. Finding things that teens like to do, while simultaneously helping their future prospects, isn’t always simple. With coding, then, how can you not be onto a winner?

Are Schools Teaching Code?
Although coding is understandably given a substantial amount of focus in specialized technological schools, mainstream education is lagging significantly behind. We’re aware that many of our schools provide inadequate STEM education, so a lack of coding doesn’t come as a great surprise.

One worrying aspect is that other countries are galloping ahead with coding initiatives. For example, in September 2014, the UK made it mandatory for all kids from the age of five to engage with a curriculum that features coding.

Additional Coding Resources
All is not lost. Although schools are failing to provide adequate resources for computer science across the board, there is hope from external sources, with a multitude of excellent organizations that have been established to help teens learn how to code.

For example, there are many after school clubs that specialize in teaching code, such as the successful international setup provided by CoderDojo. Alternatively, if a more intensive learning experience is something your teen is after, there are many wonderful summer camps run by the likes of iD Tech and Digital Media Academy.

You don’t even need to leave the house to learn coding. In addition to afterschool and summer camp opportunities, there are many fantastic online resources where teens can learn how to code in a supportive environment, including Code and Girls Who Code.

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20 Jun 2017

By Tracy Morgan