Why should kids learn to code?

Forget just French and English, our children all need a foundation in coding if they are going to thrive in the new digital world. Software development will be a key skill as technology continues to expand and become part of our day-to-day lives. I was very lucky to get a taste of application development while in Computer Engineering in University, and I can honestly say coding has provided me some of the best managerial techniques I use as an entrepreneur today.

A few major benefits of understanding software development:

  • Think logically and with a process: When faced with a problem, coding teaches people a structured way to solve a problem. The basic principles help rationalize a problem into its basic components to help you find a solution that you can use again and again.
  • Understand technology/resources: Before you start coding you need to understand the basics of computing (memory, storage, processing, input, output). If people start coding their familiarity around technology increases.
  • Learn how to reuse: Any good coder will tell you they’ve used someone else’s code at some point. The development community has done a great job sharing resources openly to prevent reinventing the wheel every time.
  • Automate and make things efficient: When we started Grade A, one of our business partners was a coder and developed our internal management tool. The level of automation in our organization at the time was amazing. We were turning our business processes into automated tasks making our lives easier and more efficient. As a developer you start to look as manual tasks as painful and will quickly start automating things with your code. Great for any organization.
  • Build things from an idea: My most favorite thing about development is the ability to create. If you have an idea for a website or application (app nowadays), you can literally create it from lines of text. Developers can create things with very little resources, they simply need an idea to fuel their imagination.

If you’re looking to get your kids coding here are a few apps worth trying:

Gamestar Mechanic – Design your own game. Great tools to make the process simple and understandable. I would recommend having kids 8-15 use this application, any younger and it may be too confusing.

Move the Turtle – This is a great little tool that reminded me of the first days using AutoCAD. Kids can build rules to move the turtle to accomplish goal. Great for 5+.

Hopscotch – This application is a great starting point for kids to use variables, create classes and reuse code in scenario driven events. Ideal for children 8+.

The reality is our world is becoming more and more digital. Our entertainment and work environments our continually moving to applications to hopefully improve our lives. Developers will be the architects of the new world, with coding as the building blocks. The key will be getting new generations accustomed to coding as early as possible.

Post by Mathew Lafrance, President, Grade A