Did you know that programming is currently the most sought-after subject by parents in many countries? According to a recent study by Gallup and Google, 90% of parents in the United States consider that learning to code will be totally necessary for their children’s future and they value very positively that they can learn programming at school. They consider that it is an essential skill and that it is as important as the other subjects such as mathematics, history, language or natural science.
Nowadays, there are already around thirty countries that include programming within the official curriculum of their schools, including the United Kingdom or Australia. Many others, such as China, where parents are also increasingly asking for this option to exist, have activated different policies to encourage the learning of programming both within educational centers and in programming and robotics academies.
Learning to code is one of the most important skills of the century and it has many benefits which can be applied in any field. To ensure you’re aware of these benefits, please keep reading to find out 10 reasons why every child should learn programming:
1. Computational thinking
Learning to code is one of the best ways to work on computational thinking, which is a set of skills that help us solve problems of any kind. Children who develop computational thinking from a very young age are capable of solving big problems by dividing them into smaller ones, as they learn to find patterns using abstraction and looking for possible efficient solutions step by step. For this reason, we often say that learning to program is learning to think and that, beyond the application of this knowledge within the technological field, children who learn to code have a much easier time facing any situation in which they must decide by themselves and seek solutions.
2. Critical thinking
Thanks to this ability to think for themselves, when we teach children to program we are also giving them tools which help them in their personal development. The analytical capacity they develop thanks to computational thinking, the ability to understand problems and situations of all types and the fact of constantly looking for solutions based on trying, making mistakes, observing the results and finding the logical solution… All these elements help children to consider the “why” of things and to question everything that is explained to them, so that they also develop critical thinking and obtain tools to be able to build their own vision and opinion about different topics.
3. Reasoning power
Children who develop their computational thinking from an early age are faster when it comes to relating ideas. This helps them both in their daily life and at school, since many of the children who start learning to program can notice a change in many of the school subjects, either when it comes to solving math problems, learning foreign languages or improving their reading comprehension. This ability to reason and relate concepts also helps them to organize their ideas and express them step by step, clearly and understandably.
4. Learning a universal language
Did you know that there is a universal language that is much more widely used than English or Chinese? We are talking about programming, which is the language of machines. We are and will be surrounded by technology, both at home and in our professional lives. That is why learning to program is one of the essential skills of the 21st century and through its learning we can also work on many other skills that are increasingly important and are very valued by companies when looking for their new employees.
5. Creativity and imagination
One of these skills, which we can also enhance from a very young age, is creativity and wit. Children have a lot of imagination and programming can help them realize many of their ideas. STEAM education seeks to boost all this creativity and there are projects of many types that can be carried out at an early age through programming, whether it is the creation of their own video game following a story they have imagined, the design of a robot that does exactly what they want, apps and programs or personal projects including electrical circuits or home automation to enliven their bedrooms.
6. Improved concentration and perseverance
Learning to program is an activity that requires mental effort and a lot of practice. Therefore, when children learn to code, they improve their ability to concentrate and acquire study routines and perseverance that can be applied both in their studies and when organizing their daily life and doing other activities outside of school. Choosing a coding after-school program helps children establish routines that will serve them throughout life.
7. Improved self-esteem
Another important thing is that the project work carried out through STEAM education contributes to the improvement of the self-esteem of children who participate in these projects. Seeing how their effort becomes something real (which can be a robot or an automatic watering system, a fun app or a video game designed by themselves) helps them to see all that they are capable of and makes them feel proud when other people use and enjoy the project they have built from start to finish.
8. Collaboration and teamwork
It is common to think that learning to code is an individual activity and when we talk about learning programming, surely many people visualize a single person in front of a computer. However, there are many collaborative projects that can be accomplished through programming. In fact, at Wondered we teach children coding through storytelling, games, competitions and much more.
9. Professional future
The IT industry is gaining more and more weight as an economic engine and with the arrival of COVID19 and the digitization process that companies have experienced, as well as the need for many fields to quickly adapt to the situation using technology, the trend has accelerated during the last months. Currently, companies have problems to be able to hire digital profiles and there is a lack of training in STEM careers that makes it impossible to fill thousands of jobs. There is a gap between the training of young people and the reality of work they face when they finish their studies. There will come a time when knowing how to code will be essential and a totally necessary skill within the workplace, even in positions that are not directly connected with coding. Therefore, it is important that children acquire this skill the sooner the better and that we begin to see it as useful as learning to read or write.
10. Different projects and areas of expertise
As well as children have the opportunity to carry out very different projects throughout their education and their programming learning process, their future also goes through a wide range of possibilities within the labor market. The demand for professionals who know how to code does not limit them to one or two jobs: there are different areas of specialization in programming that range from web development to apps development, design and video game programming, virtual reality and augmented reality projects, computer security, among others. Learning to program can lead to many professional careers within the technology field, in addition to helping them in many other professional fields in which technology will play an increasingly important role.