Why 21st Century Kids Should Learn the 21st Century Skill

by Sarah Hoffmann

Code is the language of the 21st century. Computer programming is rapidly becoming an essential skill in every sector of the job world. To put it simply, everyone is doing it. But that begs the question, if coding is so important, why isn’t it being taught in schools?

While many schools have computer science classes, there is still an overwhelming majority of schools that lack any sort of coding class. Computer science is a growing industry full of opportunities, yet so many kids have little to no exposure to that world. When the idea of adding coding classes to standard curriculum comes up, there are often quite a few common challenges that come up.

Kids don’t know what coding is.

That’s fair. As popular and essential as coding is becoming, a lot of kids are still in the dark about what ‘coding’ really is. Code is the “brains” of a computer. A computer’s code is its training manual. It’s how a program knows what to do when a button is pressed, a file is saved, and a window is opened or closed. Everything a computer can do is written in its code. Learning to code is like teaching an animal tricks. Computers can be taught to do math, draw pictures, sort files, search for things, and so much more.

Coding is too hard for kids to learn.

Coding is difficult; no one is going to deny that. But is it too hard for kids to learn? Not at all. Everything worth doing is hard at one point or another. Learning to code is learning a new language. Like languages, coding languages have rules and exceptions to those rules. There’s a style to it. Each language has different quirks that can make or break an entire program. It takes time and patience; there are basics that come first, but then the creative part comes in and there is an opportunity to make something amazing.

Coding is boring and kids won’t enjoy it.

Coding can be tedious and time consuming. The idea of spending hours sitting behind a computer may seem daunting to a lot of kids, but that’s because they don’t know what they have the potential to create! Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Netflix; all of these popular websites were made by computer programmers. Even with very basic coding knowledge, kids can make all kinds of programs that are sure to get them excited and motivated to learn.

Schools don’t have the resources to teach coding.

All it takes to have a coding class at any school is a qualified teacher, a computer lab, coding software, and kids who want to be in on the most innovative industry of the 21st century.

The best way to open up the world of computer programming to kids is through schools or through alternative programs. Showing kids the ins and outs of coding can expose them to the all kinds of possibilities for their futures, as well as teaching them something that can be applied to so many different spectrums of life. There is no doubt that coding is important and will only continue to expand and advance as time passes. If computer science is the future, then it is important that the future generations can learn to love and grow the industry even more.

A good resource to help introduce kids to coding is through Awesome Inc U. They offer a Coding Camp, a Day of Code Program for educators, and one day courses for individual coding languages.

This post originally appeared on the Awesome Inc blog.