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Should students learn how to code?

FEATURE

Each day the world we live in becomes a little bit more digital.

Whether it’s education, health, finance or entertainment: there are few areas that remain untouched from a digital revolution.

Those old enough to remember a time before smartphones are often referred to as digital immigrants. While those who have grown up in a digital environment are digital natives.

So it makes sense that for those digital natives, who are well versed in navigating the online world of websites, apps and interactive touch screens, also learn the language of that world.

And what language is that you may ask? The language of code.

For those who don’t know: coding is what makes the digital world. The apps you know and love on your smartphone and each website you visit were made with code. It’s like an instruction set that tells your computer/smart device what to do.

Learning code is as challenging as learning a whole new language, but taking the time to become proficient can reap both enormous personal benefits, as well as benefit the world around us.

learning laptop

Why is learning how to code important?

From a creativity standpoint, learning how to code is an amazing opportunity to build something from scratch and take pleasure in how people interact with it. It could be a website, app or game designed to entertain, teach or guide.

And although you’re never too old to learn how to code (in fact learning should be a lifelong journey) there are many examples of very young entrepreneurs who used their coding skills to create apps or websites that have gone on to make millions, if not billions of dollars.

Mark Zuckerberg was around 20 when he launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, while Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy were 21 and 23 respectively when they created Snapchat.

But it’s not just about fame and personal fortune. Learning how to code can have a dramatic impact on the future of the Australian economy.

As our world becomes increasingly digital we’ll need more qualified people to create, develop and enhance the world around us (and in our smartphones).

Much of that development will be through coding and design, which has an obvious start in schools, either in direct coding courses or in affiliated Science, Technology, Engineering and Math subjects (STEM).

PricewaterhouseCoopers has reported that Australia stands to gain a $57.4 billion increase in GDP by shifting 1 per cent of the workforce into STEM-focused roles.

baby code

Students want to learn how to code

Earlier this year, Microsoft released research indicating that Australian students are well behind their counterparts in the Asia Pacific in the areas of coding training and uptake.

Nearly two-thirds of Australian students surveyed said they wanted to know more about coding, but didn’t have the opportunities to gain the computer skills they need.

The #WeSpeakCode campaign launched earlier this year helped over 800 students from 30 schools across NSW to undertake a coding course at the University of Technology Sydney.

During that event, then Communications Minister, and new Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull said “The only barriers to our success is imagination, we have all of the technology… You have to dream, and what you have with your coding skills are the languages in which to dream. The job you have in 10 or 20 years’ time may not even exist today. You need to be on the balls of your feet, always ready to take advantage of opportunities.”

code

So, you want to learn how to code?

Thanks to passionate developers and organisations around the world, there are a number of websites that can help your learn how to code:

Like anything worth learning, coding is a skill that requires time and patience. But it’s a crucial skill that will help shape the future Australia in a digital world.

Photo Credit:

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

Vision Creation

PublicDomainPictures

 

4 comments

  1. The ACS wholeheartedly agrees. Research commissioned by us and launched in Australia’s Digital Pulse supports the need for coding in schools. This is a great way to help build the digitally skilled workforce Australia needs to develop a strong digital economy.

    Australia’s Digital Pulse is available at http://bit.ly/ausdigitalpulse

    Thomas Shanahan
    Manager – Media & Communications
    ACS – The Professional Association for Australia’s ICT Sector

  2. Aubrey says:

    Good code is a well designed solution to a problem. The most important aspect of getting young kids to learn to code is that they will develop analytical, logic, and problem solving skills. They will learn about testing out ideas and how actions (code) has outcomes and consequences.

  3. Coral says:

    Interesting.

  4. Mike Callaghan says:

    For those who think this could cost a lot of money try the Ubuntu/Linux path there are a lot of free (as in air) solutions to learning code and all of the software will run on older computers.

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