If grade-schoolers are taught biology and mathematics in order to understand the world around them, then knowing the basics of how computers communicate—and how to engage with them—should be a given. There is virtually no field that doesn’t use computers in its day to day operation. Be it medicine, construction, legal services etc., every field involves the usage of computers and coding skills give a definite advantage to the people involved in these fields.
Understanding the importance of coding in the present times, various initiatives have been taken both by the government and private players to improve the coding skills of young children. For example, few years back, Google launched an initiative called “Made With Code”, aimed at getting young women excited about learning to code and close the gender gap in the tech industry. The idea behind this initiative was to show young girls that the things they love, from apps on their smartphones to their favorite movies are made with code, and they can apply the skills they learn to their own individual passions.
Still, there is a great disparity between the percentage of men and women who can code. In the United States, for example, Women currently hold only 24% of the jobs in computing—a level that has held steady since 2011. What’s worse is that the situation doesn’t seem to turn around for good in the near future. That percentage is likely to fall to 22% by 2025 if no new efforts are made to create and sustain young women’s interest in computing, from junior high to university.According to various Federal reports, the share of women computer science majors in the US dropped from 34% in 1984 to 18% in 2017.
The gender gap in computing doesn’t just impact women’s earnings by leaving them out of key industries like medicine, engineering, dentistry etc. Eventually, the lack of gender diversity in a workplace impacts a company’s competitiveness as it attempts to navigate new business models using technology.
Globally too, there has been a decline in the number of women involved in computing roles thereby impacting their participation in the above mentioned fields simply because of computational and other fields are intertwined in modern times.
It has been seen that young children generally show sparking interest in junior high school, before their interest falling in high school, eventually their interest level reaching an all time low by the time they reach college. The way computer science is taught to young minds matters the most apart from other contributing factors.
What parents in America should do to create interest in coding among children?
Learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today. There are tons of jobs and occupations that use code directly, like web designers, software developers and robotics engineers, and even more where knowing how to code is a huge asset—jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology, medicine or information sciences. Some educators and experts are calling it the ‘new literacy’—a subject so important that every child needs to know the basics to excel in our rapidly changing world.
Apart from various government initiatives targeted towards improving the level of computational knowledge among children, parents have a big role too in generating interest among children in coding. Given the relevance of coding in various jobs one pursues after college, if you think your kids are too young to learn to code? Think again.
Four- and five-year-olds should learn the foundations of coding and computer commands along with learning to write and spell words. Older kids can learn to code through classes, mentors and online tutorials.
For starter, coding should be made fun. And what’s fun for children? Without an iota of doubt, it is playing games! Code Ninjas provides a unique solution in this regard by providing a place where gaming is celebrated as kids gain confidence in coding, logic, and problem solving. Code Ninjas creates a high-quality, continuous curriculum that lets kids grow and learn, no matter where they start. All this while, the children feel that they are having fun. Coding games and toys equip kids with 21st-century skills!
Another important thing that parents can do is to make sure that students are in contact with role models and inspiring teachers. There is no dearth of role models in the tech field. From Bill Gates to Susan Wijcicki, Belinda Parmer, Juliana Rotich, your child’s name just to name a few of the hundreds of role models to look up to.
Moreover, as discussed above, because young women are more likely to be interested in taking up careers that can help bring positive change in the world. If parents emphasize how computers can help solve problems, girls are going to be more likely to get interested in coding.
By 2019, 51% of all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields, according to a White House fact sheet. The federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector needs many more. Computer science is not only important for the tech sector but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector.