You’ve seen plenty of movies with a hacker typing rapidly on a black screen. You’ve heard about how kids should be learning to code. But what actually is coding, and why is it important for kids to learn?
Coding is defined as the symbolic arrangement of statements or instructions in a computer program in which letters and digits are represented as binary numbers, or the set of instructions in a program. In simple terms, coding is what makes it possible to create websites, software, and apps. Everything you use on a computer, from your browser to the websites you visit, was created using code.Coding Languages
What can make it complicated, though, is that there are thousands of different coding languages in existence today. Coding languages, or programming languages, are a set of rules that provides a way to tell a computer what operations to perform. Different languages have different standards for commands, abbreviations, and syntax. Over time, programming languages have evolved as we have developed better ways to design them.
Today, the most popular coding language in the world is Java. Originally designed for cross-platform compatibility, meaning it can be used for a variety of different devices and programs, it can run on almost any operating system. It’s one of the most popular choices as a first coding language to learn. At Youth Digital, kids can learn Java using Minecraft in our Server Design 1 and Mod Design 1 courses.
Other popular code languages today include Ruby, which was designed to be a fun and productive language, and Python, a multi-purpose language that emphasizes code readability and is another popular choice for first-time coders.
Coding for Kids
Learning how to code empowers kids to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. With code, kids can move from consumers of their favorite technology, like video games and apps, to creators of it! Whether it’s just for fun or a future career path, coding is a great skill for kids to add to their toolkit.
In addition, there are many career opportunities for coders. Software developers write code every day, while other workers in fields like finance, marketing, data analysis, and even politics use code as only part of their jobs. Just like learning Chinese or gaining leadership skills, learning to code will set kids apart and prepare them for success later in life.
Where to Start
One of the most common questions parents ask is, “How should my kid start learning to code?” Luckily, today there are plenty of options for kids of all ages to learn to code. From interactive games to online courses to toys that teach coding concepts, parents have endless resources to get their kids learning to code at any age.
A good way to guide your kids into the type of programming that interests them is to ask your kids what they want to create. Whether they love video games or Minecraft, selecting a coding course, toy, or game that incorporates their interests makes it more likely that your kid will stay engaged and interested in coding.
The Bottom Line
Coding is a great way for kids to express their creativity and use their love of technology productively. Parents can set their kids up for success (and fun!) by providing them with tools to help them explore and learn how to code. With an early background in coding, imagine what kids can create in the future!