Growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s, I saw the rise of video games. The large coin operated video game machines were new and exciting. Couple that with Star Wars and you have one interested kid…me. I found myself saying “I want to build that.” when I looked at the game screen or watched a special visual effect.
My curiosity was sparked and I began to learn how to write a computer program using a basic language called, well, BASIC. I was fortunate and blessed to have a Mom that understood how computers would play a role in our world and she bought me my first computer during high school (a Timex Sinclair 1000 for you true tech geeks). BASIC was free and available right there on my new computer but there was no internet where you can see sample code or download tutorials like the ones found here. You only had books. Sadly the books in city library were not current nor the books in the school library. I would constantly bother my Mom to take me to the only computer store in our city to see if they had new books on programming. It was actually a great time and I did learn alot!
So why should you learn to code or get your child to learn to code?
If you cringe when you hear the words ‘video game’ or do not like to see a child sitting at a computer hours on end consider this one thought. Having taught now for over 18 years in higher education I can tell you coding develops logic and critical thinking skills. Software coding does not always have to revolve around games but then again….if that is what sparks your interest then go for it! But then also ask yourself “how do they build this?”. I have watched students start out and after a few opportunities to learn coding, they begin to see problems differently, break them down, and solve them in a very logical way. They get stronger and stronger at solving complex problems over time.
Whether you want to be a software programmer, engineer, doctor, fashion designer, or school teacher, every profession requires you to think and solve problems. Working on coding challenge walks you down that path and fosters those skills.
When I look at the world today as compared to 1983 I can say with great certainty, this generation has access to tools that would typically be found only at a university or well funded school district in the 1980’s. Websites such as the following ones are ready and available for you to get coding!
If you really enjoy it, it won’t stop there. This is a profession that continues to grow and change each year which is why I love it and you will too!