Opinion: Children need to start coding, and they need to do it now

Coding used to be for geeks in their bedrooms but now it is firmly in the classroom. FUZE technologies founder Jon Silvera talks about how coding has been democratised and why it’s essential going forward

There has been a lot of emphasis placed on coding over the last few years. But why the sudden panic? What happened that was so drastic that coding was added to the curriculum? Schools across the nation now have to take ‘coding’ very seriously, and ‘digital skills’ and ‘computational thinking’ are now education buzzwords.

In an ever evolving technological world, we’re all happy emailing away, online shopping, reading digital news feeds, streaming TV shows, movies and music and reading e-books. Why then should we care about what is behind these online processes? And why do our children need to learn to code? 

Ask Intel, ARM, Samsung, Apple and Google what their silicon projections look like over the next few years. Take a look at where they are going: phones, watches, cars, human embedded, silicon correctional functions for physical defects like blindness, hearing, spinal injuries and so on. And of course robots. 

This future of computing provides exponential growth opportunities for tech companies of all sizes across all markets. In the ‘60s there were outrageous claims suggesting that one day there would be a computer in every office then in every home. Fast forward 50 years and now we are inundated with gaming consoles, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, ‘smart home’ systems, etc. How many silicon powered devices do you own right now, 10, 20 maybe? This will only increase over the next decade.

Last year digital tech sector roles were added to the UK’s Shortage Occupation List – many businesses now outsource their software development requirement overseas where they offer a high standard for a lot less outlay. 

“Coding has the potential to make our children’s future a lot more secure.”

This is why we must teach our children to code and properly. We need to make understanding technology second nature and explain electronics and technology in the classroom, and to teach them to learn, explore and experiment fearlessly in the digital playground. This understanding which will secure their future – and open opportunities. 

The UK digital economy depends on it and coding has the potential to make our children’s future a lot more secure by providing them with skills to help them write the future, not just be a part of it. 

But, changes are needed. For example, if we are to take teaching coding in schools seriously, and, it is to be considered as important as other subjects, then we must invest in training teachers to a high standard or train computing experts to teach. It seems ridiculous that we can instruct our schools to teach coding without qualified resources. Fuze, as a company, is dedicated to making learning to code as easy as possible.

By understanding technology and not just using it, our future generations will be able to shape the digital world around them. We have a responsibility to encourage the future generation to get coding, both as a lifestyle and as a career choice.

PCR’s Sector Spotlight on Education – in association with Westcoast – is running throughout August 2017 – click here for more articles

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