Why Your Kids Must Learn How to Code
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We often think of learning to code as something done by college students or those looking to learn a new skill later in life 3 Myth-Busting Reasons to Start Coding Even at an Older Age 3 Myth-Busting Reasons to Start Coding Even at an Older Age Have ever wondered if you're "too old" to start learning how to program, the simple answer is that anyone can pick it up. The real question is, should you give it a shot? Read More . But perhaps the most important group of people who should learn programming is kids.

Even if you don’t think your child will aspire to become a professional programmer, there are plenty of reasons they should learn to code. Here are seven great benefits of coding for kids.

1. It Teaches Vital Logic Skills

Perhaps the most important aspect of programming from a learning perspective is that it helps kids learn logic and reasoning. The core of programming is solving problems, and doing so requires a disciplined approach.

Because programming involves telling a computer what to do, you eventually learn to think like the computer over time. Debugging is a big part of this. When you run a program and the result isn’t what you expected, you can dig in and find out why. Walking through what the program did step-by-step lets you follow the logic and deduce where you made an error.

Furthermore, everything in programming is explicit. A missed semicolon or simple typo can mean the difference between a program working properly or an error message 10 Most Common Programming and Coding Mistakes 10 Most Common Programming and Coding Mistakes The following are some of the most common programming and coding mistakes made by developers. These errors have resulted in widespread outages, data theft, intrusions and more. Read More . This teaches discipline to young programmers.

Once kids find solutions to programming problems, finding ways to avoid them is another knowledge-building challenge. At a large scale, this involves creating programs that are memory and time efficient. Decreasing the complexity of your code and reducing overhead are important principles that carry over into other areas of life.

2. It Provides an Understanding of How Computers Work

Today’s kids grow up with technology all around them. While it’s one thing to know how to work an iPad, it’s something else entirely to understand how the innards of technology work.

Programming helps provide this background. By writing their own programs, kids will understand what goes into application, website, or other forms of development. Not only does this help spot bad design, it also provides more context for the world around them. They’ll understand why something isn’t working when it acts up, and know what’s going on behind the scenes of everyday tech activities.

3. Programming Is Ubiquitous

Speaking of which, coding is clearly not a niche activity. Learning to program lets you interface with many systems. You can write code to build websites, make mobile apps, or create your own video game 5 Free Game Development Software Tools to Make Your Own Games 5 Free Game Development Software Tools to Make Your Own Games Thanks to these awesome free game development software tools, a game that might've required one year can now be made in six months or faster, sometimes without any code! Read More .

But programming reaches far beyond these usual examples. Think of everything in daily life that involves software:

  • Browsing social media sites
  • Using the bank
  • Streaming TV
  • Driving a car
  • Smart home products
  • Shopping online

Someone had to write some amount of code to power all these systems and more. Spending some time learning about their workings seems worthwhile, doesn’t it?

4. You Learn to Work With and Build Off Others

While you can program alone, at some point everyone learning programming will have to borrow code off someone else. Usually, this isn’t stealing. In fact, it’s encouraged. If someone created a function to perform some task, it’s a waste of time to rewrite it all on your own.

This teaches kids to not only know when to look for help, but also how to adapt others’ work into their own. Taking a framework and adapting it into your own project can be as difficult as writing some other code from scratch.

In professional environments, you rarely code alone. Collaboration between team members 8 of the Best Free Collaborative Tools For Programmers 8 of the Best Free Collaborative Tools For Programmers If you're a programmer and you aren't yet sharing or collaborating, you're behind the curve. Reap the benefits of collaboration with the right web apps. Read More is common, and you’ll often reuse code from a coworker or have your code implemented somewhere else. For kids working on a school project, for example, this teaches children to recognize how their code affects others and how to work closely with others.

5. Programming Lets Anyone Create

Everyone needs a creative outlet 5 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You a Happier Person 5 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You a Happier Person A proper creative outlet can work wonders for your mental health and overall happiness. Here are a few creative hobbies that are proven to help in this way. Read More . After working all day (or going to school, in a child’s case), working on hobbies that you’re passionate about 10 Hobbies for Programmers That Don't Involve Code 10 Hobbies for Programmers That Don't Involve Code If you want to exercise your mind in a fun way without writing a single line of code, there are several no-code hobbies you can take up to become a better programmer. Read More is a great feeling.

Even kids who don’t enjoy other forms of creative output, like drawing, writing, or playing music, can come up with awesome creations in code. Once they learn, they can automate computer tasks, create their own games, build websites, or do whatever else they desire. Having the power to create is vital for a child; who knows what they could come up with?

6. It Provides Job Opportunities

It’s also worth mentioning that programming jobs are massive right now 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Are In Demand Right Now 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Are In Demand Right Now Since landing a programming job can be tough in the current landscape, consider focusing on one of the following concentrations to improve your chances of success. Read More , mostly because nearly every company needs one. Most industries need people to maintain websites, create new internal applications, perform quality tests, and more.

Even if your child isn’t interested in programming as a career, having a basic knowledge of how to code is valuable. Like knowing a second language, understanding programming is part of being literate in the digital era. It shows potential employers that you have those logical skills, and may give you the edge over someone else with no such experience.

7. Kids Learn Easily

If there’s any time people should learn programming, it’s while they’re young. Today’s kids already learn how to use technology effectively at an extreme rate, and many of those activities lead into programming nicely.

For instance, Minecraft is a wildly popular game that requires a lot of thinking and planning. Kids regularly build houses and other structures in Minecraft, but people have also built complex logic Learn Python and Electronics with Minecraft Pi Edition Learn Python and Electronics with Minecraft Pi Edition Have you always wanted to learn to code but didn't know where to start? Learn how to control Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi using Python and some simple electronics. Read More like calculators using Minecraft tools.

While your child has more free time and a brain that rapidly picks up new concepts, you should introduce them to coding.

How Can I Get My Kids Started?

You don’t have to go far to get your kids started with coding. We’ve covered several ways kids can learn programming at MakeUseOf:

Will You Teach Your Kids Coding?

We’ve taken a look at several reasons why computer programming is great for kids. Even if they aren’t interested in a career in this field, the skills that programming requires are very valuable. They’ll learn to think critically, solve problems, and better understand the technology in their world. That’s a lot of benefits!

If this has piqued your interest, check out why programming is just one of the reasons giving your kids a Raspberry Pi is a great idea 5 Reasons to Give Your Kids a Raspberry Pi 5 Reasons to Give Your Kids a Raspberry Pi If you don't own a Raspberry Pi and you have children of a suitable age, you need to seriously think about bringing one home. It could transform your child's life – here's why. Read More .

Image Credit: Melpomene/Depositphotos

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