Monday, January 11

CHALK TALK: What is “Coding” and is it Important?

 Computer code is the language of the 21st Century. It has invaded and transformed our lives in a multitude of ways, from communications and banking, to transportation, and even eating. Yes, microwaves are computers, too! An invisible language of streaming code surrounds us everyday, making our lives easier and more efficient. Simply put, code are literal instructions for any device with a computer. Thus, coding is simply telling the computer, step-by-step, exactly what you want it to do.

The importance of computer science and people who can read and write computer code grows everyday as technology changes and new ideas emerge. Many computer programmers liken the skill of coding to a language that everyone should be fluent in. Much like verbal and written communication, it is now pertinent that people familiarize themselves with the language of the computers that share in our daily lives. While code is complex, Tamara Hudgins, executive director of Girlstart, states that “[l]earning to code is not hard. Can you write a sentence? It’s essentially the same. You learned a linguistic convention just as every user of a language does.”

So, is it important for my child to learn about coding? Absolutely. The International Business Times suggests that “coders [are] the architects and builders of the digital age.” The IBT also estimates that in nine years there will be an estimated 1.4 million computer science jobs, but only 400,000 qualified college graduates to fill the positions. With the projected increase of computer-based jobs, children learning to code while in school are getting a jumpstart on building skills for technology fields. However, coding teaches more than just a computer’s language. The purpose behind coding is to solve a problem and create an easier way for a task to be accomplished, placing great emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. Two skills that are important to learn no matter what field a student chooses to focus on in the future.

Young adults with skills in coding and computer programming are already in high demand and the need will only increase as we further our use of computers in daily life. Peak your child’s interest with these great coding resources, tutorials, and online games!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

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