Why everyone should learn to code

The Internet and computing is now so prevalent in society and culture that there are few businesses in the modern world that do not in some way interact with them. Farmers use software for accountancy, websites for ordering feed, email to communicate and computerised feeding systems. There really are little professions left in the world where there is no interaction with computers and more still the Internet.

When I was young I was seen as a computing genius by most of my family and friends, I could operate video recorders, tune televisions and of course strip and rebuild PC’s. That was enough to impress but I was no different from many other kids my age, I was just more of a geek than you would often encounter in my neighbourhood. I also had an overwhelming urge to take the lid off things, break them and fix them. Curiosity.

I often hear parents talking about how their child can do anything on a computer, how they’re a natural. We currently live in an age where computers and the internet is an everyday part of our lives, messing around on an iPad, Mac or PC today is the same as tuning a TV set or programming a video recorder in the 80’s.

As parents of the future generation we owe it to our children to push them a little further, invite them to take the lid off the internet and look inside. Like the video recorders of old which worked on circuit boards, wires, cogs and wheels, the internet basically works on code; HTML, CSS, Javascript. It’s not too difficult to understand for a child and there is a wealth of websites out there to help kids code. CodeHS (http://codehs.com/) is a great starting point for young children to learn the logic and structure behind code. From here a site like Codeacademy.com (http://www.codecademy.com/) is a great place to learn a host of skills. For more information and resources checkout http://www.code.org/.

So that’ the kids, but the title says everyone should learn to code. Well the reason is simple, back in the 80’s our parents struggled to program the VCR for one reason, they did not understand the technology behind it, there was a mystique. Kids live in an age when everything just seems possible, they grow up with iPhone’s, touch screen PC’s and 3D television, so they have acceptance but not real understanding. Lifting the lid on how technology works not only removes the mystique but it gets the little grey cells working. It lets you see opportunities that may have been outside of your understanding and reach.

Learn to code and you can better assess what’s truly possible.

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