Learn to Code – It’s Good for You

It is no news to anyone any more that programmming in one form or another is going to be ever more important in schools in the years to come. However, there are still misunderstandings in just what is it that makes coding so important. Why should everyone of us know it, at least to an extent?

I found the below infographic yesterday embedded in an Edudemic blog post. There are some figures predicting how the amount “computer science -related jobs” is going to grow, how England has starting to include coding in its K-12 curriculum as a mandatory subject, etc.

 

Learn How to Code

 

However, what interested me the most are the skills & professions the infographic is outlining. The following topics are supposed to be related to or resulting from programming:

  • Algorithms
  • Cryptography
  • Computational Biology
  • Machine Intelligence
  • Heuristics

Nice list, but shows well just why there is this confusion on what is it about programming that is so important. You see, those five points on the list are on very different levels. I would pick algorithms and heuristics as core parts and complement them with the likes of ontologies, data structures, logic, and reasoning. These are the core skills programming can teach, the foundational components to better thinking and learning.

Machine learning, computational biology, and cryptography are examples of applying these core skills. And there is a lot more to add to application areas. In fact, it’s going to be harder and harder to find professions and industry domains, where the abstract thinking skills taught by programming would not play a role.

Internet (of things) is going to be everywhere, in various objects around us. Designing and using those objects benefits from knowing how they “think”.

You often hear the mantra that we should teach our kids how to “learn to learn” (instead of trying to pour factoids in their brains). Above-mentioned skills brought to you by coding is the best fuel for this!

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