Formerly, computer skills such as programming were viewed as a rather difficult skill reserved for computer nerds, geeks, and exceptionally smart people who found interest in it. However, that perception is changing as the world is becoming digitally connected, computer skill is now an essential skill that everybody should have.
In the U.S., most students start honing their coding skills when they join college. However, most of the successful people who have transformed and led the tech and programming field started learning about it long before they went to college.
Some of them even taught themselves coding or learned from mentors as early as high school or middle school. This begs the question, why do students who begin programming early become so successful? This is because much like every other endeavor in life, learning to code early helps students gain more experience and understanding of the logical and advanced thought process behind coding.
This is the main reason why the study of computing and programming should be introduced as early as primary schools to help children learn to code much like a second language and become so versed in it, that it becomes second nature to them.
Billionaires like Bill Gates and Time Cook support this idea
The idea of teaching coding in school has generated unprecedented interest around the globe, with successful tech mavericks such as Bill Gates, Satya Nadella and Tim Cook, propounding the idea. Computer experts have stated that coding is important for young children because it supports early literacy development and enhances several skills in growing children. It is important for students to learn how to code very early even as early as Kindergarten.
At the TIME 100 Summit in New York City in 2017, CEO of Apple, Tim Cook referred to coding as “the most important second language you can learn” and he continued further, “I think every kid in the world should learn to code, whether your passion is in science or the arts, it’s a way to express yourself.”
Tim Cook is not the only one encouraging increased technical learning. Bill Gates also advocates for young workers to learn to code because computer competency is one of the most valued job skills today. According to Satya Nadella, the chief executive officer at Microsoft, while speaking at the Young Innovators Summit in Delhi in 2015, “everyone should learn coding irrespective of whether they are studying computer science, history or literature. It is a core skill,”
Students need to start learning to code as early as kindergarten because it not only helps groom their coding skill but also enables students to perfect their creativity and critical thinking. Here are some key benefits of learning to code early at school:
- Increased academic performance
- It fosters creativity and problem-solving skills.
- Help grow analytical and mathematical skills
- Acquisition of computer skills
- Teamwork, collaboration, and mutual assistance
- Development of critical thinking and time management skills
- Improved self-esteem and sense of competence
- Research and information mining abilities.
- Enhanced reasoning, organization, and planning skills
An Interactive Approach to Learning How to Code
My friend Ravi Sahni, who owns educational website School Supplies, has some great advice on teaching code:
“To be able to convince or interest children to embark on coding journey, schools should make the process informal, fun and interactive. Rather than theoretically lecturing students about how to code, students should learn by practice and collaboration, so that the learning experience adds to their enthusiasm.”
“Coding is like sports; you could read all you can about it but you would not truly start learning until you start practicing.”
Interesting related article: “What is Software?“