It’s hard to appreciate the value of code because it’s hidden so well. Code is akin to the preparation and illusion behind a magic trick. When a magician goes on stage and does a magic trick, it gives what seems to be an impossible outcome, but in the background there may be a Rube Goldberg setup filled with a bunch of complexities and mind boggling arrangements. The trick appears uncomplicated and simple but it gets that simplicity from the complexity behind it. It’s the slight of hand and concealment of the trick that makes it work and such a joy to see. If you step back and look at your phone and consider all the things you can do with it, it’s magical, or at least appears to be magic. When taken at face value it shouldn’t make sense. How can something with the thinness of a pencil and the length of an index card allow you to reach someone in Japan without any wires or complex instructions, allow you to dig into the archives of famous philosophers and scholars, allow you to read the news, let you play a video game and switch between all of these with a few flicks of the finger? Ridiculous. Incredible, but absolutely ridiculous. It’s modern magic. We as a people have just grown used to its magical charm and are no longer impressed by its capabilities, but if you were to go back to the 1800’s and show someone an iPhone their shock would be ineffable. And the complexity behind the magic of technology takes the form of code.
In the American education system there needs to be more of an emphasis on coding, the same amount of emphasis that is put on reading, writing, mathematics and science. A lot of pre-k to high school students are forced to take a language as one of the required courses, and in my opinion coding should be added as another alternative. It is a language after all. A language that is more universal than many others and one that presents itself in almost all regions of the world. The whole point of standardized education is to give the younger generations tools to keep the world moving forward, so why neglect the technological aspect of that, which the modern world basically depends on?
There are some schools and learning sites like code.org and treehouse.org that have the right idea. These sites are providing a resource for people of all ages to start to learn code in an easy and efficient manner. I’m using treehouse and I can speak for its easy to use format, its passionate instructors and its overall attractive appeal. In retrospect, I regret not learning code in high school, but now there are so many websites that teach it, it is only a matter of picking the best one to learn from.
Coding is a crucial skill in the modern world and it needs to be treated as such. Throughout the years a lot more people have been taking interest in learning code because of tv shows like Silicon Valley and things like the idea of having an app on the app store to call your own, and this is good but the momentum is too slow. More efforts need to be made that encourage coding as a skill that needs to be learned, rather than just something that stays hidden in the background.