Why Kids Should Learn to Code

Robert Kim / Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Learning code can be similar to anything else we would like to enlighten our children with. The same way we teach our kids to read sheet music and play an instrument, they can also be taught how to code and program a computer. In schools or in an after-school program, we can provide children with some great opportunities and exposure to at least some of the basic concepts of programming.

Some of us were very lucky growing up and our parents provided us with all of the latest technology, which at that time, was pretty limited. Back then, how many kids were saying they wanted to grow up and become computer programmers? Probably, not too many… The few that did, were going on to create things like Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook. Nowadays, almost all of us have access to a decently powerful computer and a connection to the Internet. The opportunities are all out there for the next few generations, it’s all just a matter of who will take advantage of them.

Code.org is a great online environment that is free to use and has tons of resources available for people interested in learning how to code and program in a new language. Their goal is to promote participation in computer science by making it available for everybody and especially in more schools. They released a promotional video about a year ago with some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Dorsey. Check it out below.

Being able to code may even be more advantageous than learning a second, third, or even fourth language. It doesn’t really matter which career path they eventually decide to take, the skills learned from programming are universally applicable. Designing and learning how to create basic programs can be fun and exciting for kids when they can see what they were able to produce on their computers. MIT has a program called Scratch, which is also available online for free that kids can try and create their own programs with. It’s a very simple tool that can give children a fun and introductory environment for them to learn and play with. If you see your kids excited and enthusiastic about learning more about what they can do with computers, then you can help them develop those interests more later on.

There are several classes, programs, and camps for kids to attend to learn some coding. All of which can be found online by searching for local coding and programming courses or camps. Here are some of a few that I was able to find, including one hosted by Microsoft.

Microsoft – Summer Camps, for Game Coding, Designing, YouthSpark, and CodeIT

iD Tech – New Jersey Summer Camps for courses in Game Design, Web Design, and Coding

International Ivy – New Jersey Summer Enrichment Programs for Computer Programming in Scratch and C++