Why everyone should learn to code
It’s a digital world. Software plays a huge role in our everyday lives. It’s everywhere. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple. Computers, phones, TV’s, cars, cameras,… even some shoes and clothes. Software is all around us, including some places you probably don’t realize. Not everyone is going to be a software developer, or “coder”, of course. But most of us use a computer these days, for work, school, or entertainment. And if you use a computer, there will come a time when knowing even the basics of programming will help you. It’s unfortunate that most of our school systems don’t teach any coding until high school, and then only as an elective . Kids in elementary and middle school could and should start learning some basics of computer programming.
You don’t have to be a hardcore coder to do useful and fun stuff with programming. Lots of games have ways to interact with them by writing a bit of code (for example, Minecraft “modding”). If there’s some task that you do on your computer every day (or every week, or every month…) and that task needs several steps, you probably get tired of doing that same thing over again every time. If you know some programming, you can probably get the computer to do all the steps automatically. That’s really what programming is about – telling the computer to do a series of steps to make it do what you want.
And learning to code isn’t just about learning to code! Learning programming also helps you learn to think logically and problem-solve. One of the big ideas of the new Common Core, especially in Math, is problem solving. There’s no better way to develop and practice that skill than doing some programming.
Even if you never write a program, knowing something about coding makes you more “tech-literate”, which is essential in today’s world.
In our book, we’ve tried to make learning the basics of programming fun and easy. The programming language we use, Python, is a great general-purpose language. I call it my “Swiss Army Knife” language. It’s a great language for learning the basic concepts, and you can keep using it to do real-world stuff, too! So take the plunge and learn a bit of programming. I guarantee you’ll find it interesting, challenging, and fun, and you’ll be learning an essential skill for today’s world.