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Should kids learn coding if they don’t plan for careers in Tech?

All over the world kids are learning coding and it is now recommended or even mandatory in most developed countries for kids to learn coding. But many parents wonder, is it relevant for my kid to learn coding if I want him or her to become a doctor or a lawyer? After all what will a doctor or a lawyer do much with knowing coding.

One of the dangers in the above argument is the parent or the decision-maker is jumping the gun and deciding long before to the appropriate time to make the decision. It is like saying: I’ll not let my kid learn football because he is anyways not going to become a footballer and what use does a doctor have of football. Well, one might argue that football is a recreational sport, and any person can use it in life as a recreation irrespective of their profession and the same is not true with coding.

Well, that is exactly where the above argument goes wrong. Coding is as recreational as football. Period. Moreover, as technology is such a ubiquitous part of our world, the future generation that completely understands the technology has a real serious edge over people consuming it. It is primarily so because technology is going to become more and more ubiquitous in the next one or two decades with more of machine learning coming into everyday use.

Important to know the creator’s point of view of technology for all

If you observe the world clearly, there are just two types of people for everything, be it a lawyer or an architect or a software developer – there are creators and consumers. Simple! Now, because technology is touching almost everybody in the form of consumers whether you’re a lawyer or an architect, it makes the creators of technology that much more powerful as compared to an architect over technology creators. Therefore, for the balance to be right, it is important for all future generation to be aware of technology at a high level, if not the low-level details of computing. As we saw in the previous post on high-level programming languages and low-level programming languages. Just like how we have to be aware of basic car repair, in the same way people of the future should be aware of the basic computing and about what is happening in the background of a computing machine.

Huge potential for becoming entrepreneurs and run own businesses – big or small

Another reason why it is important for all kids to learn coding even at a high level is that coding enables people to have the power of creation and apply that power of creation across various areas and domains in life. So, tomorrow they may find an opportunity for being a creator by applying technology in one aspect of their domain say automating a part of medical sciences or legal services with technology. Firstly, such and such idea can only come when you’re aware of the applicability of coding as a creator and secondly, when such idea comes, it becomes easier to find the right people to have it implemented or implement by yourself when you’re aware of technology at a certain level. This will provide a huge opportunity for the future generation to become creators or services and products and run their own business – big or small – in their own domains, not necessarily in the technology industry.

Appreciation for complexity in simplicity

Let’s be honest, not everything in life is return on investment. In fact, most beautiful things are appreciated without one. If you’re aware of what goes behind something, how something is made, how it is engineered even to some level of detail, it enables you to appreciate the beautiful pieces of technology that emerge in the future that much more, and it adds to your ability to an individual’s satisfaction from life.

To not be fearful or be taken advantage of by technology

While it seems to be far-fetched to say that artificial intelligence (AI) can take over humanity and that people like me still doubt largely if AI can ever become human because so much of ‘being human’ lies in consciousness and not in knowledge and training, but there is no doubt that AI is going to be highly penetrated with our lives in the future doing a lot of activities that humans are doing right now. For example, there is no doubt in that future cars will be electric and driving will be powered by electronics completely and many similar technology applications that will come into the front in our households too. In the context of such a world, it is imperative for all citizens to be aware of the technology and not be in a vulnerable or fearful situation with technology.

Coding teaches logic, problem-solving and maths

And lastly, the obvious but very important reason why we should teach coding to kids is it also enables kids to develop more practical skills in problem-solving, mathematics, logic, breaking a problem into sequence of steps, critical thinking skills, algorithmic thinking skills, creativity and expression, debugging problems and even softer aspects of maturity such as persistence, incremental improvement, and learning to learn.

Teaching coding to kids is a progressive shift in society to build future humanity, which is more informed and comfortable around how things work. We live in an age where technology plays a role in everything that we do, and the future is going to be more of it. Therefore, all countries are teaching coding to kids across the globe, and it is deemed an essential course for kids of all ages starting as early as 6-7 years of age because the future is not the same as the organic present.

Hope this is useful, thank you.

You may find this interesting – What is Coding for Kids?, Coding a Math Quiz Game in Scratch, and Making a Monster Game in PyGame