Why learn to code?
Why should you learn to code? The answer is firstly you don’t have to but secondly I would strongly recommend that at least have some understanding. Coding shapes our world at almost every level and it is not going away. It is the silent skill that shouts through a megaphone.
For me it was out of interest and curiosity. That might be just me, maybe no one else feels that way. Yet governments are trying to include coding in their nations curriculum, they are starting to recognise its importance.
The UK government invested (along with the BBC) in a small microcomputer called a micro:bit for use primarily in schools to teach coding skills. They provided one for every pupil (year 7 and 8). The Raspberry Pi, Arduino are educational boards and the coding language Scratch was created for young children to help them learn to code.
There is no lack of resources for children, no real lack of opportunity (more on that later) and yet very few learn how to code. It remains a dark art as far as the general public are concerned. Parents have no idea what it is exactly, teachers and schools pay lip service mainly and the take up for GCSE and A’levels in the UK is woeful.
The reason for all this, in my opinion, is a lack of clear purpose. It is a bit chicken and egg or catch 22. You won’t know what it can do for you unless you explore it and you won’t explore its possibilities unless you have a reason to. If that makes any sense.
My desire and ambition is for everyone to have a go at coding even if it is just for 10 minutes. Yes you can do coding in 10 minutes. Even if all it means is you can say you have coded. That at least is a step in the right direction. The reasons why we should take any steps I will outline in the next paragraph.
Coding is a tool and not an end in itself. The world is already reliant on it and that is going to increase considerably over the coming decades especially in the field of artificial intelligence (cover more on that later). It isn’t just the dependance on it, we will need it to improve our lives and fix problems we haven’t even identified yet.
Children (adults of the future) aren’t learning how to code because the adults (parents and teachers) struggle with it also. So even if there is an appetite and a clear benefit the resources aren’t there, people. Not everyone can learn something online, it is possible and it is how many do learn but it is very limited and off putting for many.
Adults today need to at least have some grasp of the concepts even if there is no need to actually use it in a career defining way. Libraries run clubs but cannot find volunteers, schools want to run computer science classes but the teachers don’t know how to code, they have never been taught and haven’t the time to learn.
So how about you?