Whether the demand is coming from colleges who want enrolling freshmen to enter college “smarter” or from a job market looking for entry-level applicants with more than four years of education, children are learning software development at an earlier age than ever before. Right alongside traditional foreign languages, students as young as six years old are learning “simple computational tasks” in order to have them creating their own web and mobile applications only a few years later.
Children have long had access—during their free time—to programs that made learning how to code enjoyable. And we know today that fewer and fewer children—or their parents—have free time in their daily routines. So the solution is the addition of classes that teach software development, testing, and even agile in public schools worldwide.
Outside the ever-expanding need for knowledgeable testers and developers, the arrival of the Raspberry Pi deserves credit for this recent boom of school-provided coding classes.
Its creators developed Pi in response to the lack of programming opportunities for kids, due to the high cost of computers. “We want to see cheap, accessible, programmable, computers everywhere…,” the founders state, and getting affordable machines into cash-strapped schools has been an immense boost to the trends we're seeing today.
Only a few years ago, the trend was to provide laptops or even iPads to school age children. However, as we see now, that goal was startlingly shortsighted. Students were being taught only how to use computers. Now in classes throughout the UK, Estonia, and Australia, students are being taught how to build and create their own projects—not simply how to use someone else’s work.
Parents whose children are in schools that lack the luxury of these sorts of classes can find some great resources for learning programming skills here. Now if we can just find some of that scant, spare time amid homework, soccer, band, ballet…
Previously a copywriter and editor for TechWell, SQE, and StickyMinds.com, Noel Wurst has written for numerous blogs, websites, newspapers, and magazines. Noel has presented educational conference sessions for those looking to become better writers. In his spare time, he can be found spending time with his wife and two sons—and tending to the food on his Big Green Egg. Noel eagerly looks forward to technology's future, while refusing to let go of the relics of the past.