Technology has become integrated with every aspect of our daily lives and nobody knows this better than our children.
This statement was true leading up to the year 2020, and then the Coronavirus forced the world to up their technology game to an entirely new level. As this integration continues to develop, a basic understanding of computer coding will become more and more critical for the youthful generations, regardless of their eventual career paths, whether they want to work in technology or the arts. Quoting Annette Lee, the author of Coding Literacy, “If you don’t know how to program, you can carry on perfectly fine with life. But this is soon going to change”.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the future of coding careers and how learning this skill can benefit your children in various ways.
Coding Career Potential
As technology grows along its exponential curve, so do coding career opportunities for children.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job openings for software developers will grow 22% between 2019 and 2029. A rate of growth that’s more than four times the average of all other industries. Likewise, a Burning Glass report found that coding jobs pay $22,000 more than the average job every year, and nearly half of all jobs with a salary higher than $58,000 per year involved coding skills.
With numbers like these, it’s safe to say that coding is an excellent choice for kids from the perspective of career potential and job security. If your child isn’t interested in pursuing a career directly in technology, half of all programming openings are in industries outside of tech. Nearly every industry imaginable uses computer science, including computational arts, psychology, economics, physics, and even philosophy.
And in the case that your child decides to pursue a different path altogether, learning to code still develops essential transferable skills necessary to succeed in any other part of life. Let’s take a look at some of those skills.
The Skills Coding Builds
When it comes to coding, there are very few practices that develop such a diverse range of cognitive and social skills in children and adults, some of which you may expect and others that might surprise you.
Developing all, or even just a few of these skills could set your child up for significant success in their career, social life, and beyond. Here’s a list of just a few of the skills coding can develop.
Problem-solving & critical thinking
Problem-solving is the ability to approach complex and unique problems in efficient ways. The coding process requires coders to break down problems into manageable steps and then progressed through them by identifying, prioritizing, and testing solutions to those problems.
Similarly, coding and critical thinking share a strikingly similar process. First, the coder must identify the problem or task in front of them. Then they must analyze the situation or task to develop possible solutions, which they test and refine until they solve the problem or accomplish the task.
Coders are creators and world-builders. By definition, the discipline requires the coder to exercise their creativity and experimental mindset because, in coding, there is no “right” answer.
One of the most beautiful aspects of coding is how it empowers the coder to combine their logical left brain with the creative right brain. For children to learn to their maximum potential, methods that educate both sides of the brain are essential because the brain works best when both hemispheres are engaged simultaneously. The more your hemispheres connect, the better you’ll perform on any given task.
Many popular child activities tend to utilize one side of the brain more than the other. Coding is a unique experience because it’s the perfect way to strengthen and develop both hemispheres, as it requires logical and creative thinking processes.
Computer science is one of the rare professions where constant failure is expected and acceptable. Not only is it acceptable, but it’s a requirement to create robust code because the coder must handle every error before the code can perform optimally.
When children learn to program, they know that failure is an innate part of the process, a mindset that holds true in every other aspect of their life.
Famous researcher Angela Duckworth defines the ability to pursue what’s important to you and be resilient in the face of failure as grit. Through her research, she has proven that grit is a crucial component of success, stating that “the most successful people in life are those who have the grit to face failure head-on, independent of their talent and intelligence, by interpreting failure as a positive signal of progress.”
Confidence and Communication
People often believe that coding is a solitary activity, but this simply isn’t true.
Information and Software Technology published a study that found developer performance is so intertwined with team dynamics that businesses must improve one part to improve the other. Enrolling your child in a coding program could be an excellent way to enhance their teamwork and communication skills. Likewise, kids learn to develop confidence and a strong self-perception as they overcome any obstacle through teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking.
Through coding, your child can become empowered to traverse social circumstances with solid communication and team collaboration to perform and achieve their goals.
Regardless of the career path your child eventually chooses, coding is an excellent activity for developing transferable skills and opening doors in our future economy.
If you would like to learn more about getting your child started with coding, we recommend you begin by creating a conducive learning environment in your home. Once you’ve done that, take a look at this guide and this list of coding resources. You can also speak with your child’s school to learn about any coding groups in your local community.
We wish you the best of luck, and who knows, maybe you have the next Bill Gates sitting at home right now!