If coding is such a big part of our future, why don’t schools teach it? If so many jobs require a computer science background, why do only 1 in 4 schools in America have coding classes?
It is obvious that coding is going to be such a big part of our futures. Millennials rely on technology every day, even more so than other generations. You’d be hard pressed to find someone between the ages of 18-30 without a cell phone in their hands or sitting at a computer for most of their waking hours. Millions of young adults even sleep with their phones in their hands. We rely on these relatively new technologies to keep in contact with friends and family far away, to inform us about current events happening all across the world, to find the score of the baseball game that just ended, and to provide entertainment. But rarely do people stop to think about what goes on to make all of this possible.
Without people who are able to write and understand computer coding, we wouldn’t have computers, cell phones, text messages, video games, social media, blogs, or even word processors. All of these programs have a lengthy code that allows them to function. All of these writers have had to learn code at point, either in high school or college. Coders have made our lives so much easier, and have made themselves quite a lot of money.
If coding is so beneficial to society, then why do 75% of high schools in America not teach it?
It could be because of a lack of people educated in coding. But the numbers of qualified coders are increasing each year, as the field of computer science continues to grow. Nearly every college in the country offers some kind of computer science degree or classes. With the economic opportunities becoming larger and larger, it has become a desirable college major. So, a lack of qualified coders willing to teach is not the problem.
If we all recognize how important coding is, why is nothing being done to add more coding classes? Another possible answer is that teenagers do not realize why it is so important. However, if the class was marketed correctly, that opinion would change in a second. If you explained to teenagers that without coding, all of the technology and tools that they have become reliant upon would not exist, students would be lining up to try their hands at it. Sometimes, students don’t have interest in something if they can’t see the real-life value in it. I was one of those students.
When I found out that my 11th grade PreCalculus teacher was a computer science nerd, I was a little freaked out and intimidated. He taught us precalculus in code using a program called SAGE, which was essentially a calculator without buttons, you had to write out the commands yourself. While it was intimidating and felt pointless at first (I can’t count how many times I asked my friends why we were making a dog run around in circles), it was really cool to get the correct answer after I wrote the code. It was so rewarding to see the results of writing our own code and watching it run.
Once I realized that this code was just the beginning, I was really interested in seeing what would happen if I got even better and wrote more advanced codes. While I didn’t take advantage of the other computer science classes available, I am still interested in this field and am thankful for those people who did learn how to write bigger and better codes and invented some technologies I’m addicted to today. If students were explained why coding was so important to what they take for granted, they would be lining up to take coding classes.
So why don’t most high schools in America offer coding classes? I don’t have a good answer for that one.