As a parent, you’ll likely take great interest in the subjects your child is learning in school, even new subjects like computer literacy, coding, or game development. And while some parents might be worried that their child is already on a computer or tablet too much as it is, the good news is that none of these subjects is likely to replace traditional subjects. In fact, these newer subjects will help children grow in many traditional areas like language and mathematics and potentially give kids a career advantage.
Coding courses and a traditional curriculum result from advocacy by professionals and academics who have understood that these skills will prepare children for future success. They know that teaching these skills to kids early on will prepare them for an increasingly technical workforce, but they will also help kids in many other academic areas and increase their abilities to creatively problem-solve and think critically.
[Read: Python for Kids]
Table of Contents
Coding is Cool
By learning computer literacy and code from an early age, students can get a head start on any number of rewarding careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2019 and 2029, jobs that utilize coding in some capacity will grow from 1.47 million to 1.79 million jobs, an almost 22% growth.
That means that not only are there many jobs for computer coders and programmers, but there are going to be many more in the future. The average salary isn’t too shabby either, at a little over $110,000.
However, coding isn’t just for full-time programmers and software developers. Many non-programming jobs both in technology and outside of technology benefit from knowing how to code and the skills utilized and mastered when coding.
[Read: HTML for Kids]
Learning to Code is Learning to Solve Problems
Coding is more than just a pathway to fruitful careers. By learning to code, students demonstrate improvements in math skills and other cognitive skills. Put simply; coding is more than just a skill; it can be an entire mindset through which people of any age can solve problems.
Significant parallels have been drawn between the problem-solving skills inherent to coding and the skills to solve math word problems. For students who struggle with completing word problems in math class, rather than constructing arbitrary situations that a student has to convert into math, coding, and, by extension, game development naturally force students to develop mathematical problem-solving skills to accomplish their goals.
Some examples of math necessary to code and build video games include:
- Boolean logic: Understanding the concept of True and False, as well as being able to calculate inequalities is a foundational element of coding.
- Algebraic variables: Remember trying to solve for ‘x’ in middle school algebra? Well, the ability to comprehend a variable as holding multiple potential values is also an inherent element of basic coding.
- Cartesian Coordinates & Vectors: According to Unity Technologies, “Vector arithmetic is fundamental to many aspects of computer programming such as graphics, physics and animation, and it is useful to understand it in depth”
- Trigonometry and Geometry: Moving different characters and objects around in a video game requires knowledge and understanding of angles, distances, triangles, and other elements of geometry and trigonometry.
These are just a few of the math concepts that coding helps students learn and understand. Likewise, the discrete logic used in coding is also fundamental to understanding and discussing philosophy.
[Read: CSS for Kids]
Coding is engaging (oh, and fun)
What’s the most interesting thing a kid can tell their friends? Is it that their dad works for NASA? Maybe. Is it that they can lick their elbow? Possibly. Though, easily one of the most remarkable things a kid can tell their friends is that they made a video game!
Of course, it’s difficult to deny the allure for kids of building their version of an amazingly cool game like Minecraft or Fortnite. It’s common knowledge that children are more likely to actively pursue skills that interest them, but there’s more to coding excitement than that.
When a child starts coding, no matter the toolset or language, they receive immediate, tangible results for their work. No matter how simple the game is at first, the fact that they built it themselves gives them a real sense of pride and accomplishment.
The same can be said even for non-gaming code. For many budding coders, getting their computer to say “Hello World” is the start of a satisfying journey of creation and discovery. After that, every step is another accomplishment and tangible reward—from writing their first website to building enterprise-level software.
By incorporating coding into the curriculum, schools are helping facilitate these positive experiences. That coding course your child takes very well may be the spark that ignites a love for a whole new pastime and a lucrative career.
[Read: Robotics for Kids]
How to Encourage Your Child’s Coding Education
Your child has a long way to go before they start building the next big video game, but in the meantime, a little boost from you can go a long way.
Here are some ways that you can help your child on their coding journey.
- Praise their successes: Whether it’s a simple “Hello World” program or a neat little game, your child put a lot of thought and effort into making it work. A simple word of praise will only compound the success they experience in writing code.
- Recontextualize their failures: There really isn’t such a thing as failure when it comes to programming. However, it doesn’t always feel that way when you’ve been struggling to solve a problem for several hours or even days. Let your child know that it’s okay to take a break, get some fresh air, catch some sleep, and come back to tackle coding challenges at a later point. Even when they struggle, they are learning valuable coding and life skills.
- Seek out Learning Resources: There’s always more to learn in the world of coding, but figuring it out all on one’s own can be daunting. You can help your child by finding different platforms, media, and courses from which they can learn.
[Read: Coding vs Programming]
Many schools have yet to add coding to their curriculum because of costs and a shortage of experienced computer science teachers. If your child’s school is one of them or if you just want to enrich your child’s current coding class, BYJU’S FutureSchool is a fantastic resource for giving them a head start. Your child will get personal 1:1 instruction and be provided rigorous and engaging challenges that will keep your child excited and motivated to learn more.
Likewise, at BYJU’S FutureSchool, failure is celebrated as an opportunity to learn and grow. No matter your child’s skill level, there’s a course that’s perfect for them.