If you have been paying attention to technology news, chances are, you have heard by now that coding is the new literacy. In recent years, coding has now officially entered public school curriculum, with schools in UK, Singapore and more launching coding classes starting from the primary school levels.
Coding education tools have also seen similar demand, with popular tools like Dash and Dot raising more than USD $78 million in funding, and Apple launching its own Swift Playgrounds app to teach the language to young learners.
As technology is set to become an integral part of your child’s future, you are probably keen to know how your child can get started. Before jumping on the bandwagon, how exactly can your child benefit from learning coding?
At First Code Academy, kids as young as four can start learning how to code, then advancing through to professional languages like Python. We’ve seen many success stories where students have found a community, a voice or a dream through coding, and we’d to share more on what children learn when they learn coding, and how that benefits them:
(1) Learning to how to learn
Jobs today are vastly different from jobs 10 years ago, and are likely to change even more drastically in the next 10 years. Technology is rapidly changing the workplace, and the best employees are able to adapt and pick up new skills and technology quickly.
Professional programmers know that to stay relevant, they have to constantly stay updated by learning new languages. In coding, students practice the skill of learning itself by continually search for answers, best practices and existing frameworks.
Coding also places an emphasis on developing logical and algorithmic thinking through building programming logic, both critical skills in the process of learning. More than just improving academic performance, learning how to learn also prepares young children for a future where continued learning is critical to keeping up with change.
(2) Developing a mindset to experiement
Failing and trying again is part and parcel of programming and even has its own name and place in the programming cycle — ”debugging”. Programmers know never to expect to complete or “ship” a software product without first going through rounds of debugging.
In coding, students learn to see failing is part of the journey to eventual success, and in doing so, learn to be more experimental and to even anticipate failing, so they can later fix these errors. An advantage of coding is that students can immediately see and interact with the output of their ideas, learning that experimentation can be quick and rewarding.
(3) Building crucial soft-skills in problem-solving and creativity
With super quick and easy access to information on the internet, the best employees can no longer rely on just knowledge alone — jobs in the future demand a new suite of soft skills.
Problem solving is critical in coding. Many companies that we know today were created while trying to solve real-world problems. Google was created as a more efficient way of searching for information the internet; WhatsApp was created so users could send messages for free over the internet (instead of paying carrier fees).
More so, students are problem solving at each step of writing code. In creating an application or program, students have to first systematically break down the problem into logical steps, then arrive at a solution out of a suite of possible options through analysing the problem from different angles.
Coding offers a world of possibilities at our fingertips, where with the touch of a few buttons, we can create entire worlds. In writing each line of code, students brainstorm a volume of ideas and solutions, then imagine and experiment with various outcomes before arriving at the solution.
Through coding competitions like the AppJamming Summit, an annual regional mobile app competition for kids aged 8-16, students are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions, where they are rewarded with international exposure and the experience of pitching their ideas on a global stage.
There are many other immeasurable benefits to coding — the thrill of creating your own application, the satisfaction of fixing a tough bug, or the joy of sharing a game with family and friends. We believe that coding is a means to an end, and the journey of coding itself teaches many practical skills that prepares children for their future. Which skills do you feel are most important for your child?