Why All Children Must Learn Code

Coding can enhance children’s creativity and their understanding of mathematics. wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

By Bitange Ndemo

Across the world, the conversion of information into a digital format – also called “digitalisation” – has increased productivity in the public and private sectors. As a result, virtually every country in the world is working towards a digital economy.

As this new economy evolves, special skills like computer programming are needed. This is like a language of numbers, known as code, which allows people to write instructions that are executed by computers. The goal is to create something: from a web page to an image, to a piece of software.

Early coding languages emerged in the 1940s. These were basic in what they could do but complex to learn and needed an advanced understanding of maths. By the 1990s – when universities, businesses and people started to connect over the internet – computing speed and memory improved to use high-level coding languages. These became widely available on open source platforms and online tutorials made it possible for many people to learn and continue advancing the languages so that they became simpler. Today languages like Javascript can easily be learnt by children.

Nobody can escape the touch of digital technologies. It’s used in fields as diverse as hospital equipment, remote education delivery, marketing creative art pieces or improving agricultural productivity. Coding language develops the software that can effectively deal with problems and challenges – for instance, because of coding, people who couldn’t get a bank account can now keep, send and borrow money using mobile phones. It’s an important skill to have as countries develop.

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