As the demand for skilled programmers and developers continues to grow (beyond even what we thought just a few years ago), coding has become increasingly important in today's economy.
I mean, it's hard to escape it—from technology and finance to healthcare and education, each and every industry seemingly requires skilled individuals who can code and program their way toward more efficient processes, cooler products, and amazing outcomes.
Get Started Young
Like anything, learning to code at a young age can give kids an early boost, and might lead to a variety of career opportunities; providing those who have the right skills with a competitive advantage in a lucrative job market.
Not to mention that because coding is a true worldwide language, young people from all over the globe may interact and contribute. It is becoming a basic literacy in the digital age, and coding instruction may help young minds to become more engaged and knowledgeable digital citizens.
By learning to code at an early age, children may gain a jump start in a fast-changing employment market while also developing a range of vital skills that will serve them well throughout their life.
It's about acquiring knowledge and experience, and becoming well-rounded to the point that one can move flawlessly with shifts and market changes, and can be first to move on new ideas and potential ground-breaking technologies.
All of this points to the fact that learning to code has become a desirable experience for people of all ages—we see it in coding lessons for kids, our own online coding classes for teens, and from the many parents saying something along the lines of "I wish there was something like this when I was young."
So, what are some good simple steps for beginners who are for an easy introduction to coding?
Interact with hands-on activities related to familiar interests
Hands-on projects and interactive activities provide an effective path toward making coding more appealing to kids.
Allowing children to work on coding projects related to their interests, such as programming a video game or getting familiar with Minecraft coding can help to keep them motivated and interested.
With this approach, learning something new might not seem as daunting of a task given kids are working on something they have genuine interest in from the start. Interactive coding activities, such as coding challenges, can make the learning experience more enjoyable and accessible.
Incorporate coding into daily "fun"
Another way to make coding more interesting is to incorporate it into other playful activities, such as the kinds of games kids already enjoy playing. Coding games (even board games and card games), for example, can be used to introduce children to coding concepts in a fun and interactive manner.
Here are some examples:
There are several successful coding websites, programs, and initiatives in place to promote coding education for young people:
Scratch is a block-based visual programming language that is widely used in schools and homes to introduce children to coding.
Code.org is an online learning platform that offers a variety of coding tutorials and activities for children of all ages.
Khan Academy is an online learning platform that offers a range of coding resources, including interactive tutorials and coding challenges.
There are also a variety of STEM competitions and extracurricular programs available for children who are particularly interested in coding. These can be a fun and engaging way to learn more about coding while also connecting with other children who share the same interest.
Scratch Olympiad is an international scratch creative programming competition where kids create and submit their own project.
NASA App Development Challenge allows middle and high school students tackle technical problems presented by NASA.
American Computer Science League offers divisional contests and challenges for students of different ages and abilities.
Finally, there are numerous coding books, videos, and other resources available to assist children in learning to code. These can be an excellent way for children to learn at their own pace and to gain a more in-depth understanding of coding concepts and techniques.
Code Your Own Games: 20 Games to Create with Scratch
Coding Games in Scratch: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Building Your Own Computer Games
Coding for Kids: Python: Learn to Code with 50 Awesome Games and Activities
In addition to the resources outlined above, you can support your child's coding education and help them develop a love of learning in a variety of ways.
Here are a few pointers:
Set goals and allow your child to explore their interests to encourage them to take ownership of their own learning. To assist them in achieving their goals, provide them with resources such as coding tutorials and online platforms, and outline positive behaviors and outcomes.
Create a conducive learning routine and environment at home by making technology available and encouraging the use of coding tools on a regular basis. This will foster an environment conducive to learning and experimentation. If this is not an option at home, take advantage of your local library for computer and internet use.
Buy into the benefits of encouragement and support your child's effort and progress over their natural abilities. Fostering a growth mindset in children can help them approach challenges with optimism and believe in their ability to improve. Share your own enthusiasm for coding and technology as well—children often look to their parents for guidance, and showing interest in coding can inspire them to explore it further.
Create and play family-friendly games and coding projects, such as building a website or a challenge together, to make coding a fun family activity. This can help to foster a strong sense of community while also encouraging your child to keep learning and growing.
Take advantage of any after-school enrichment activities, programs, or clubs related to coding. This can allow them to connect with other children who share their interest in coding.
In the end, do what you can to give your child access to a variety of resources, such as coding books and videos, to help them learn at their own pace and gain a more in-depth understanding of coding concepts and techniques.
Again, coding education is an important skill for children in today's tech-driven world. It not only gives them a competitive advantage in future careers, but it also improves problem-solving, logic, and creativity. Learning to code at a young age can also help children develop a growth mindset and the confidence to take on new challenges.
Technology will only continue to advance and the need will only become greater. By instilling a love of coding in children, we can help ensure that they have the skills and mindset required to thrive in the digital age.