If you can code you can change the world
Coding is the language of the future, and every girl should learn it. As I’ve learned from watching girls grow and learn in our classrooms, coding is fun, collaborative and creative.
~ Reshma Sujani
The World Economic Forum, in its 2018 Future of Jobs Report, indicated that, ‘By 2022 technology will create 133 million jobs and eliminate 75 million jobs’.
Growth will be primarily driven by ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, widespread adoption of big data analytics, and cloud technology.
The key thing to remember here is that in the future of work, it is jobs that will become redundant and not people. Understanding the basic principle of how computers work is no longer optional for the current generation of students if they want to be leaders of the tech-enabled world.
This is what fuels us at the Dottie Rose Foundation, we are nurturing the seeds that’ll change the future. We feel passionate about reducing the gender equity in STEM and we do that during the early stages of education. That is because in order to power innovation, no girl should be left behind.
Here’s why coding and STEM is for every student.
It‘s not just for the engineer
Let’s first talk about the misconception that coding is meant only for engineers or students who will go on to pursue a career in software development.
Coding is nothing more than telling a computer what to do in a language that the computer understands. You see coding is the language of the future. Look around us today, we are constantly interacting with computers in one way or the other. Given that our world around us is becoming more and more digital, learning to code is equivalent to learning how to read and write.
Think how a child learns language. She first listens to her parents and people around her and learns how to speak. But that isn’t enough, she has to go on and learn to read, identify words when she sees them so she can make sense of the world around her. Then she has to express her ideas and thoughts, so she has to learn how to write.
Coding expands the understanding of the world around you. The skills you develop while learning to code are actionable and universal all through out your life. Encouraging your children to learn these skills is equivalent to providing them with tools to not just interact but thrive in this world.
It will teach you how to think
‘Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.’
~ Steve Jobs
Coding is not about lines of commands on a screen, it is rather about going from point A to point Z in 24 different ways. It is figuring out the minute well-thought-out steps to achieve a goal. Coding forces you to start thinking in logical steps and how variations in those steps can lead to a different action.
The essence of coding is in computational thinking, breaking down large complex problems into small digestible chunks and forming repeatable solutions.
Learning to program also improves your attention to detail. Given that a missing hyphen or a semicolon can lead to different results, you become quite skilled at paying attention to details.
It can ignite imagination
Have you ever solved a puzzle? Do you remember the excitement of accomplishment at the end of it. What if you told your child she can create her own maze and play with it? Learning how to code will open that door to imagination for her.
Coding is about joining the dots to make the picture whole. As Bill Gates rightfully said, ‘Learning to write programs stretches your mind and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains’. Imagine you can make a character of your choice and make it jump up and down. Imagine dragging code blocks that allows you to make catchy music beats and mix them up.
Coding provides creative ways to build your own worlds and see it come to life. The sheer joy of making things and being able to add movement to complex interlocking parts on screen can be very entertaining. In the words of a tynker maker, who is also a student, ‘Coding is fun because once he has finished it, it’s really fun to play with it.’
So go on, have some fun.
Let technology be the wind in your sails.
Let the knowledge to code be your flights of fantasy.