The Value of Teaching Children How To Code

By Rebecca Lindegren | Small Business

While many children in the U.S. know how to use computer software, very few children know how to make computer software. Is there value in teaching children how to code? Many industry experts believe so. Teaching children to code early on can vastly improve their computer skills and make them more competitive in the international technology world.

Implementing coding into early education programs in the U.S. can help the economy and make the U.S. more competitive in the constantly changing technology market.

There is a worldwide shortage of computer programmers. The more each sector becomes focused on using technology in every area, the more this discrepancy will become noticeable. The days of computers being used for only technological tasks are long gone. Everyone needs to have computer knowledge, from an architect building a house, to a farmer managing their inventory, all the way to teachers teaching their classes. New software needs to be developed for these people in order to make their jobs easier. Unfortunately, there are not enough people worldwide who know how to develop these programs. Despite this shortage, only 1 in 10 American schools currently has some kind of computer science program worked into the curriculum for grade school children.

Major players in the technology market, like Bill Gates of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, have urged young people to take an active interest in coding and computer programing. The knowledge of how programs are built is becoming more important. Coding is actually a simple process to learn. In fact, Bill Gates pointed out that anyone who has a basic understanding of math can do it. With coding being very easy to learn, and extremely important to understand, there is no reason that this type of knowledge shouldn’t be built into the elementary curriculum.

Computer programming jobs are growing at twice the rate of other jobs in the U.S. At the same time, less than 3% of college students are graduating with degrees in computer science. Many countries have noticed this gap in the market and are implementing new programs to increase their children’s skills. Estonia, a country with less than 2 million people, has already started a pilot program getting grade school children familiar with programming. The U.K. also has plans underway to introduce programming to young children.

This creates a danger to the U.S.: without enough resident coders available, these jobs will get outsourced to countries that do have the resources to write code. The need of coders in the U.S. job market is an opportunity for Americans to become an important part of the technology market, as well as decrease unemployment rates.

As computer programs get more complex, people will need a stronger knowledge of these programs to work with them. This technology is something that is going to continue to change and grow through time. Due to these constant changes in the market, it is very important that U.S. children get a good foundation in computer sciences, and specifically, in coding. Programing and learn can be as easy to learn as basic math, and it is just as necessary.

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