A lot of people hear the words “computer science” and their brains are immediately flooded with thoughts of complicated calculus equations and awkward, geeky boys whose faces are plastered to a computer screen. However “computer science,” especially in this day and age, actually does not at all fit this stereotype that has been created. In fact, coding is more similar to a language than it is to any form of calculus or algebra. “Computer science” is a “science” just in the respects of it being a study of computers through experimentation, but all this “experimentation” is coding which, as I stated previously, is essentially just another language (like trying to learn Spanish!).
Now, although I have made an effort to establish that coding is not quite as horrific as many of us often think it to be, the real issue is at hand is the lack of education in coding in public schools. Steve Jobs once said, “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer…because it teaches you how to think.” In the context of coding as a language, this makes perfect sense. How would you ever know how to think if you could not formulate your thoughts into words? In this new day and age of technology, communication is almost as dependent on computers as it is on verbal language. Therefore, in order to think in this new way, we must learn to speak in this new way. By mandating students to take at least one class in computer science, the myth of the stereotypical “computer nerd” can be abolished along with the stigma of this progressive work. The more people who learn to code and who learn to love coding, the faster we will progress into the technological world.
When I first started high school, I never put any thought into “computer science” or coding at all. In fact, for the most part, I tried not to think of anything mathematical or scientific unless I was being forced to. Then, in my sophomore year of high school, I was forced to take a class in Visual Basic. The first day I walked into class I had prepared myself to be bored out of my mind. As time progressed, I did become bored, but not for the reasons I had expected I would. I learned all of Visual Basic in just two weeks once I had realized that coding was just a language, so I was bored and yearning for more. I was then inspired to study Java and HTML the next school year. Had I not been mandated to take that one Visual Basic class, I would have never realized that coding was not quite what I had thought it would be.
Overall, I completely agree with the message of code.org. Coding is not at all as hard as it appears and really should become a basic skill we are all capable of. If we are going to progress technologically, we as a society should do it as a whole and not just let the select few blindly lead us. By being able to code, we are capable of creating our own, personalized form of technology and that is something we should all have access to doing.
If you are interested in learning more about coding, follow this link to teach yourself some basic skills!