One of the most important objectives in education is to prepare students for their future careers. Over the last two decades, coding and programming have emerged as some of the most desirable skills for employers.
Benefits of Learning Coding in School
Coding is fast becoming one of the most important subjects taught in schools. Here are five reasons why it’s beneficial to your students.
1. Coding is the new literacy
It’s no secret that children grow up with an almost innate ability to adapt to new technologies. The way they pick up smartphones, computers and games consoles seems like second nature – but it’s just the nature of being young. Our ability to quickly pick up complex or technical tasks diminishes with age. For example, the older you become the harder it is to learn a new language.
The same goes for technology use and, more precisely, coding. Today, the importance of learning to code rivals even that of reading and writing. It’s a core skill that can help a child develop a deeper understanding of how technology works. Given the extent to which technology shapes our lives, learning to code helps develop a better understanding of the world around us.
2. Prepare for the future jobs market
Schools have a responsibility to provide their students with all the tools and skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace. Increasingly, that means an ability to code. Glassdoor reported that eight of the top 25 jobs in the US are tech-based and require some level of coding proficiency. These don’t necessarily have to be computer programmers but include roles such as Data Analysts and Scientists.
Similarly, a 2016 Burning Glass report found seven million job openings that year which value coding, with roles such as computer programmer rising 12% faster than the market average. These roles are also among the best paid around. Jobs requiring coding pay $22,000 a year more on average than those that don’t.
There is little point in focusing on skills that leave students with limited options when it comes to hitting the jobs market. By incorporating coding into the curriculum, you hand children an essential tool for building a successful career.
3. Develop problem-solving skills
Coding can often be daunting. Presented with a significant problem, frustration can quickly build if you find yourself constantly walking down dead ends. But coding teaches a child that complex problems are simply a series of smaller problems that can be fixed in sequence. Coding can often be compared to hypothesis testing in science, particularly when testing whether a set of code will stand up and work correctly. Children will be taught to identify a problem, break the code down into segments and test each one, repairing faulty parts before moving onto the next problem.
It’s this mindset that makes great coders, and one that pupils will benefit from regardless of subject or circumstance.
4. Instil perseverance
To succeed in the method of hypothesising, testing and refining, you need one characteristic more than any other – perseverance. Creating a set of code only to see it fail upon testing is disheartening, especially if the solution isn’t immediately obvious. But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
Coding takes incredible levels of perseverance to try new things, test and find solutions to problems. It’s another vital life skill that students will draw upon for the rest of their lives.
5. Heighten language skills
Recent research for the University of Washington found that a natural aptitude for learning languages is a better predictor of coding proficiency than maths. Instinctively, you might think there are strong comparisons between maths and coding, but code is a language, and mastering it requires many of the same logical steps to be taken.
Code has a natural grammar and vocabulary to unlock. If you find a child is particularly good at it, you should also find their ability to learn new languages is heightened.