Do people really understand the value of learning to code? Unless you’re already a science enthusiast, it’s not likely that you’ve thought about the benefits, skills, and knowledge that coding could bring. And the bigger picture here? You should be developing coding skills before high school graduation, as they will provide you invaluable insight into other areas of your education throughout college. Coding is a computer science skill that is extremely vital because it teaches you how to logically solve problems, open your mind to unlimited creativity, and allows you to compete for jobs and careers that are constantly changing with technology. Let’s explore why these three things are so important to foster through learning how to code. But first…
What is coding?
The computer science term coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer or similar device to perform how you want it to. Each row of codes tells the computer to do something different, and a full page or document of rows with coding is called a script. Each script is planned to carry out a specific task. This job might be to rotate an image on a website or to cause a box to pop up on the side when you visit a certain page. Coding allows an individual to highly personalize websites and put unique stamps on the technology they use. But why is coding so beneficial to you in the long term?
You’ll develop problem-solving skills
Coding isn’t just typing random letters, numbers, and symbols. It teaches students how to be resilient, encouraging them to continue to try after failed attempts. It also teaches you how to identify a problem, examine the problem on a larger scale, and reduce it down to smaller pieces to generate an effective solution. When this skill is practiced consistently in school, students become computational thinkers. This allows you to decompose, identify patterns, understand the abstract of a pattern, and comprehend algorithms. As Chief Technology Officer of SongKick Dr. Dan Crow explains, “Computational thinking teaches you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems.” This is a skill that everyone should learn as it is adaptable to any career or field of work.
You’ll enhance your creativity
Can you imagine having endless possibilities to make a piece of technology perform specific jobs? Well, you do! At a very young age, we’re taught to use our imagination in writing or listening to stories—crafting whole worlds in our brains about legends and superheroes. Coding opens a different kind of creative pathway that allows students to perform all types of experiments by assessing various ideas. Going through this process gives them full control of their own exploration of a preconceived thought. In the real world, job and careers require creativity to progress projects and to prove your worth in order to advance to higher positions. Maria Klawe—a mathematician, computer scientist, and President of Harvey Mudd College—believes that “coding is today’s language of creativity. All our children deserve a chance to become creators instead of consumers of computer science.”
You’ll have opportunities for computer science careers
It’s evident that coding and technology is disrupting the workforce. Companies like Radio Shack, Yellow Cab, Toys “R” Us, Payless ShoeSource, and many more were forced out of business because they couldn’t keep up with changes in technology—unlike bionic companies such as Uber, Amazon, online e-commerce stores, and others. It’s important that students are taught skills that will allow them to compete in a tech-driven workforce—whether their actual job is in a science path or not—because coding with technology will continue to advance based on human demands. According to the 2018 STEM Education Report Card by the Washington Student Achievement Council, it’s projected that between 2020 and 2025, only 35.7% of total annual job openings in computer science will be filled by graduates who will be prepared for the jobs. Students who take an active approach in gaining STEM skills are likely to have a lot of opportunities in front of them.
Learning how to code before graduating high school teaches students how to expand their creativity, view problems differently and generate solutions using computational thinking, and—most importantly—compete in a constantly evolving workforce that is heavily reliant on technology. At every high school in the country, students are required to show proficiency in certain subjects to graduate—there should be a push to include computer coding, and STEM education in general, as one of those subjects now more than ever.
Did this article spark an interest in STEM education? Even if you’re not interested in it as a major, use our College Search tool to find summer programs or individual classes you could take in the sciences!