To (learn) Code or not to (learn) Code?
If you look at my bio on our webpage (Bradley Brodkin Bio), you’ll see that an area of personal interest is in the movement towards teaching children early on how to write code. It’s an area that I began taking an interest in a few years ago when a friend referred me to an article written by Bill Gates about it. If you go to the code.org website, you can find many articles, blog posts and links that help support the initiative.
What does this all mean and why is it so important? The simple answer is because our society is moving more towards a structure where it’s becoming more important to learn, understand and leverage technology innovation as part of the normal course of our day. In my last blog post (As Technology Evolves So Must We), I wrote about how it’s critical that we evolve with technology lest we be left behind or dissolve. But reality is, our future and more importantly the future of our descendants hinges on this evolution happening. If we don’t prepare our children for the job opportunities out there. In a letter sent out today by a long list of both technology and academic business leaders (code.org/washington), they quote numbers like 20,000 open technology jobs in Washington State, with only 1200 computer science graduates last year. Seeing numbers like that make it easier to understand how critical it is to encourage our youth to learn the skills necessary to fill those jobs. Our economy is changing (just as it did at the end of the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution). People must learn the new skills necessary to not only continue this evolution, but to also ensure they and their children have well paying jobs.
Where do we start? The easy and most logical answer is by beginning to teach our children at the primary school level. Just as we focus on teaching them math, grammar, geography and science, we must add to that computer science, starting with the basics. Those of us who are parents of teenage or young adults, have seen them become not just computer literate, but in many cases, experts in a variety of areas. This has happened not because they were forced to, but because that’s how they communicate. When I grew up, we had nine telephones and two lines (for a family of six). Today, we seem to only get calls from marketers on our home line (only one) and communicate mostly via our cellphones, text messages or email.
Basically, I believe that if you make it easily accessible, kids will try it (at the very least). If we make coding a part of the basic curriculum starting with middle school, it’s been proven to be an effective way to teach the skills that may peak a child’s interest and launch them on a lifetime of coding excellence. That may very well help improve the world we live in today and more importantly the world we’re leaving behind for the generations that follow us.
Whether you agree or disagree, please let me know what you think (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org).