Coding and kids

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By Christian Wilson

Traveling to 50 trade shows in the last five years, I have spoken to a lot of great coders. The funny thing is that few of them learned their coding skills in classes.

The hacking and drinking scene from “The Social Network”

doesn’t have a professor anywhere in the picture and that is pretty accurate. Coding is not a skill embellished within the walls of academia. It is a talent that gets perfected by those outside the “book smart” set.

I am not a fan of my son prepping for such coding job interviews as in The Social Network, especially because he is only 12 years of age! But getting him started now on coding can only help his future.

There is a West Coast college that costs way beyond $20,000 to get into and I am not sure instructors there teach their students how to handle The Social Network assignment – hacking and interception. I am pretty sure that if you called instructors at the college and asked “Do you teach your students ‘to gain root access to a python web server, expose its SSL encryption and intercept all traffic over its secure port … all behind a Pix firewall emulator?” there would be silence or a dial tone on the other end.

Do our schools teach:
 Python?
 Ruby on Rails?
 PHP?

Why aren’t they?

Check out higher education course syllabuses and you likely will see few mentions of these items anywhere within the classroom setting.

Why are we waiting until college to have kids get involved in coding? I believe that kids in high school, or maybe even grade school, would have an easier time reading, writing and understanding the code language. Much like any foreign language, the earlier you get students immersed in the language, the more fluent they become. Why are we not teaching code in grade schools and middle schools?

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As an example, even if you just had kids play a code-learning game, like Primerlabs.com’s Code Hero (http://primerlabs.com/codehero ), an hour a week, it could mean big bucks for those kids later in life. By having the basics of code language, as well as having fun with code, they could be well on their way to lucrative IT careers. With such games, you could also find the naturals with code and steer them down more IT avenues. Activities like Code Hero let youth make their own game while learning code in the process.

I have my son creating a blog this summer just so he learns the fundamentals of coding. While giving him some coding knowledge, it also will help him with his reading and writing skills. Plus, it starts getting him ready for that Facebook interview in nine or 10 years (minus the shots I hope)!

Comments

  1. This post is great. I pretty much taught myself code by trial and error. My son is little and just starting to get into computers. I think I will start doing something once a week with him for him to start learning.

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