In one year, thanks to code.org, more than 50 million children in 180 countries have been initiated to programming through the Hour of Code program. Barak Obama, Bill Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg and even Bill Gate support this initiative. But why has programming become in the past few years a required skill to master?
Understanding the Technology is a major challenge, for everybody
Technology is everywhere. From medicine to videogames through agriculture. We use it to communicate, to learn, to move around, to buy, to entertain ourselves, to make our voices heard… it is absolutely everywhere.
Yet, how many of us are really able to interact with it?
We are facing an incredible technological boom, and the school should give to our children all the necessary weapons to get with the times. 15 years ago, we learned foreign languages to better live in a global world and we trained, by ourselves, for new technologies. School should now support this change by allowing the next generations to control technology and not be controlled by it.
But this is not only a cultural challenge. To sustain the growth, to stay innovative and competitive to the rest of the world, we need top-level developers, but not academically speaking. Being a developer is not just a profession, it is above all a passion and we should awake our children’s curiosity about this art and encourage them from a young age to pursue such a vocation. In Europe, countries such as Finland and most recently Spain have already implemented programs that initiate children into programming as early as elementary school.
Learning how to code is helpful in all areas
Programming is above all a skill that we should master if we want to go from passive consumers to real actors of the digital world. Programming allows you to open up the field of possibilities, to bring new ideas to life, to create tomorrow’s tools. It allows you to think logically and find easy solutions to complex problems, in every domain.
Whether we go for a job in computer science or not, programming is a great way to stimulate logic, curiosity and creativity. In fact, one can find plenty of tools, free and accessible to everybody that use gamification to teach programming in a playful and entertaining way.
We all can learn how to program by playing games
Programming is no longer an activity restricted to a few fans: platforms that allow people to learn how to program by playing a game are enjoying a huge success.
Programming is not only entertaining because it make us think, but the game dimension turns it into a more exciting activity. For example, the code.org website offers to teach how to program your own video game in 10 minutes. Even if their tutorials target in general a young audience (with partners like Tynker), there are also websites such as Codecademy or Khan Academy that teach the basics of programming to young people and adults, for free.
At last, for all of those who would like to go further, improve their skills, learn new programming languages or just have fun while programming, CodinGame offers a platform where you have to program your own character in order to enter the game.
It’s a step towards the next generation of video games, where players will not only make the character move around in a specific scenery, but will directly impact its behaviour and environment by actually coding it.