There is a push in education to have more students learn to code. In fact, some schools are considering having computer coding count as the foreign language requirement to graduate from high school. This in many ways almost singles that coding has “arrived” and is not a legitimate subject not just for the computer nerd but for everybody.
In this post, we will look at several benefits of learning to code while in school.
People often code to solve a problem. It can be something as small as making an entertaining game or to try and get the computer to do something. Generally, the process of developing code leads to all kinds of small problems that have to be solved along the way. For example, you want the code to A but instead, it does B. This leads to all kinds of google searches and asking around to try and get the code to do what you want.
All this is happening in the context in which the student is truly motivated to learn. This is perhaps no better situation in which problem-solving skills are developed.
Attention to Detail
Coding involves the ability to see the smallest details. I cannot remember how many times my code would not run because I forgot a comma or a semicolon or perhaps I misspelled a variable. These problems are small but they must be noticed in order to get the code to run.
When students develop code they must write the code perfect (not necessarily efficiently) in order for it to work. This attention to the small things helps in developing students who are not careless.
Computational thinking is the skill of being able to explain systematically what you are doing. When developing code students must be able to capture every step needed to execute an action in their code. It is not possible to skip steps. Everything must be planned for in order to have success.
This type of thinking carries over into the real world when communicating with people. The computational thinking comes out when presenting information, teaching, etc. This logical thinking is a key skill in today’s world where miscommunication is becoming so common.
Naturally, learning to code can lead to employment opportunities. There is a growing demand for people with coding skills. Some of the strongest demands are in fields such as Data Science in which people need a blend of coding and domain expertise to develop powerful insights. In other words, it is better to be well-rounded rather than a super coder for the average person as the domain knowledge is useful in interpreting whatever results the coding helped to produce.
There are naturally other benefits of coding as well. The purpose here was just to consider a few reasons. As a minimum, learning to code should be experienced by most students just as they are exposed to music appreciation, art appreciation, and other subjects for the sake of exposure.