As the technology sector grows each year, more and more jobs will require computer science skills from their employees—skills that are not being taught to children at an early age. And even though more jobs are being added, companies are running out of candidates to fill those positions.
Luckily, there are those in the education technology sector that want to help. One start-up group, as Eric Westervelt of Mind/Shift notes, is called Kodable, which works to teach kids five years and younger the fundamentals of programming through a game similar to Pac-Man.
Gretchen Huebner, the co-founder of Kodable, believes that “As soon as you can start learning [coding] you should, because the earlier you start learning something, the better you’ll be at it later in life.”
Even kids as early as two have used Kodable to learn about conditions, loops, and functions, and even debugging. “Five is just kind of the sweet spot,” says Huebner. Even if kids can’t get access to a colorful teaching game like Kodable, the consensus is that students should be exposed to basic computer science skills as early as possible.
“Just like we teach how electricity works and biology basics,” says Hadi Partovi, co-founder of the nonprofit Code.org, “they should also know how the Internet works and how apps work. Schools need to add this to the curriculum.”
As Westervelt continues to note in his article about the so-called ‘digital divide,’ there are some cities that have taken up the cause, like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Each city has recently committed to expanding their computer science curricula. However, there are still quite a few hurdles in the way towards real progress.
According to Westervelt, too many parents and administrators confuse computer science—the principles and practices of computing and coding—with gaming and basic point-and-click literacy. Other schools’ computers are outdated and slow, while some don’t have any computers to teach coding on.
We here at Dream It Do It Nebraska believe that every student should at least be STEM literate, and have posted many stories about how to reach younger kids to get them interested in STEM education.
Becoming computer literate is the gateway into being successful in this new information-driven world, even if you choose to pursue a different career path after graduation. “It’s all around us, and every industry gets impacted by it,” says Parvoti.
So get your kids and younger siblings interested in computers and apps at an early age. Take an hour to teach yourself how to code. It’s these skills that will allow you to succeed in the years to come as technology and information continue to change our world more and more.