As we increasingly move towards a more digital world, coders are in increasing demand in every country. In the UK alone we’re seeing a STEM shortage, with over half of businesses expecting the shortage of STEM graduates to worsen over the next decade.
Why is it valuable to children?
Learning to code as a child brings myriad benefits. Most notably the job prospects it offers. The UK tech sector is estimated to be around £540bn and this is only growing. The number of jobs in Manchester alone increased by 164.6% in 2021.
But it’s not just job prospects, understanding code will help them understand how the world around them works. From their smartphone to their wearable tech, hospital machines to gaming apps, once children start seeing how code works in the real world it can help show them how important coding is for our everyday lives.
What skills does it foster?
Even if your child doesn’t go on to work in the STEM industry, learning code can help garner skills that can be applied throughout their whole life.
Critical thinking: Learning code will teach them critical thinking. If they do ‘this’ then ‘that’ happens. As they analyse a situation from all angles, they’ll learn to replicate this skill outside of coding.
Creativity: The only limit to coding is the coder’s imagination. Coding fosters creativity. From creating apps to websites, drones to motion cameras. If they can dream it, they can code it, and create it.
How to get started with coding
Like all new skills, learning as a child is easier than learning as an adult. But the key to getting kids to engage is to make it fun, challenging, but also achievable. Here are some of our top tips to help get you and them started with coding.
Play with them: You don’t need to know how to code to get started. Together you can help them discover coding. You can start a project together using a Raspberry Pi computer. Designed for beginners, they can help your little one (and you) grow in confidence with coding.
Make it fun: Yes, you’re hoping your children will learn a new skill, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be fun. There are a number of ways you can teach kids about code that don’t involve typing. Scratch, LEGO® WeDo and LEGO® Mindstorms are free programming sites where users can create their own interactive stories, games and animations.
Know when to stop: When teaching your children any new skill, you need to know when to take a break. If your child doesn’t seem that interested in coding, don’t push it. There are a number of other ways you can foster the same skills needed for coding.