In today's world of technology, it’s becoming more and more important to gain skills in coding. Much like learning a new language, it’s best to start learning coding at a young age, so a solid foundation can be built. Even understanding the basics will create countless opportunities in the future and encourage creativity, increase problem solving skills and improve communication. Here’s why it’s important for your kids to start learning coding now.
What is Coding?
Put simply, coding is how we communicate with computers and is used behind the scenes for many things we use on a daily basis. It’s what is used to build and run websites, apps, video games and more. It’s similar to learning how to speak and write in a new language - in this case a computer’s language.
“Coding is the new literacy. To thrive in tomorrow’s society, young people must learn to design, create and express themselves with digital technologies.” Mitchel Resnick, Director, Lifelong Kindergarten groups
Why is learning code early on so important?
Just like learning a language, it’s better for children to learn coding at a young age. Even toddlers are able to grasp the basics and start building the foundation of coding, meaning there’s no better time to begin than when a child’s mind is still forming.
High Demand for Programmers
Technology plays an important role in many jobs, meaning coding has quickly become a vital skill. Just knowing the basics of coding should give your child a set of skills that will be useful in almost every industry and give them a huge advantage over those who don’t. In fact, recent statistics from Code.org say that 71% of all new STEM jobs are in computing, yet only 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science. It’s also predicted that this year 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled. That’s a big shortage of people for computer related jobs!
Being able to code will give your child a huge competitive advantage compared to their peers that don’t possess the skills. It will make them more desirable in the eyes of universities and potential employers as well as be an excellent skill to add to their CV.
Improved Academic Performance
Learning coding will considerably improve your child’s academic performance and help prepare them for the future. Not only will it build confidence levels and encourage creativity, coding also helps kids visualise abstract concepts, apply maths to real-life situations and understand the value of planning. It can even build important life skills that are incredibly valuable during your child’s time at school and will stay with them throughout their adult life too. Here’s just a few examples:
Problem Solving: Learning to code teaches problem solving and analytical skills by pushing children to grow intellectually and think outside the box. They’ll often be tackling complex problems and in order to find a solution they will have to break each one down into smaller parts, using a logical way of thinking.
Persistence: Like any new skill, learning to code is challenging. It will involve tackling difficult problems and making multiple mistakes along the way which can be very frustrating. However, there is no better way to build persistence and resilience, which is a highly desirable skill.
Communication: Communication is an essential skill throughout school, work and life. When kids learn how to code, they learn a new method of expression. It teaches logical communication, strengthening both verbal and written skills and helps kids communicate complex ideas in a simple way a computer can understand.
How do I teach young children to code?
There are so many websites, apps, books, classes and games available, all designed specifically to help kids learn to code. Remember, the sooner your child starts to learn the easier it will be for them to grasp basic concepts. Here’s a few ways your child can get started today.
Scratch: This free MIT app allows kids to program interactive stories, games and animations, then share them with an online community.
Kodable: This code-writing system lets teachers, tutors and parents’ guide children through the fundamentals of coding. With over 70 lessons to choose from, each one breaks down the computer science into basic concepts that are easy to understand.