PRINT "Coding, Huh, what is it good for?"
PRINT "absolutely everything.. say it again"
In 2014 coding was put on the curriculum again. Why the sudden panic? What happened that was so drastic the computing curriculum had to be totally rewritten? Schools across the nation now have to take 'coding' very seriously. Indeed 'Digital skills' and 'computational thinking' are now education buzz words.
Why, what's the big deal? We're all happy emailing away, online shopping is the way to shop, digital news feeds, TV, movie and music streaming is rapidly taking over and e-book reading is becoming the preferred method of literature consumption.
So, why do our children need to learn to code?
Ask Intel, Arm, Samsung, Apple and Google what their silicon projections look like over the next few years. Take a look at where they are going - phones, watches, cars, tech in clothing, human embedded, silicon correctional functions for physical defects like blindness, hearing, spinal injuries and so on. And of course robots.
This future of computing provides exponential growth opportunities for tech companies of all sizes across all markets. In the sixties there were outrageous claims suggesting one day that there would be a computer in every office then in every home. Fast forward 50 years and now we are inundated with gaming consoles, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, 'smart home' systems... How many silicon powered devices do you own right now - 10, 20 maybe? This will only increase over the next decade.
Last year digital tech sector roles were added to the UK's Shortage Occupation List - many businesses now outsource their software development requirement overseas where they offer a high standard for a lot less outlay. India for example, is particularly prolific with offices dedicated to providing coding resources globally. It is anticipated the country will have over 5 million software developers by 2018 causing America to slip into second place.
This is why we must teach our children to code - and properly. We need to make understanding technology second nature and explain electronics and technology in the classroom, and to teach them to learn, explore and experiment fearlessly in the digital playground. In an ever evolving digital world, it is this understanding which will secure their future - and open up numerous job opportunities.
Schools use various methods to get children involved in coding. Coding clubs, workshops, Raspberry Pi's, FUZE BASIC and after school activities are becoming commonplace.
But, we have a choice, and by we, I mean Government and Education. Changes are needed to make some very serious commitments as the current efforts are just not enough. For example, if we are to take teaching coding in schools seriously, and, it is to be considered as important as other subjects (science, language, art, music, geography, history etc.) then we must invest in training teachers to a high standard or train computing experts to teach. It seems ridiculous we can instruct our schools to teach coding without qualified resources.
I apologise at this point for the generalisation but it is certainly more often the case than not. We, as a company, are dedicated to making learning to code as easy as possible for this reason.
By understanding technology - and not just using it, our future generations will be able to make a difference and help to shape the digital world around them. The UK digital economy somewhat depends on our children learning, enjoying, and understanding what makes a computer tick, so we should be encouraging them as much as we can to get coding - both as a lifestyle and a career choice.
Jon Silvera is the founder of FUZE Technologies Ltd - a company focused on making it as easy to learn to code as possible with the help of FUZE BASIC. For more information see www.fuze.co.uk.
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