Why Coding?

Many parents have asked me “what is coding” and “why should we enroll our children?”. This video by www.code.org is a fantastic explanation from people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, and other leaders in the tech industry explaining why exactly coding is important.

In the Pakistan context we seem to be churning out hundreds of thousands of programmers every year. But industry leaders I’ve spoken to all say that finding talent is one of the biggest problems they face today. I used to head the Pakistan office of a global skills training startup, I heard this echoed not just across industries but across the world. The skills gap is a well-documented problem affecting the world today. But what I could not understand was why computer science – such a technical subject – would have a problem. You learn a programming language – like I did in college – and you were done. What was the problem?

When I dived deeper into computer science in particular, I discovered that tech leaders here were saying that “quality” was missing. And quality boiled down to hard to measure amorphous things like computational thinking, imagination, creativity, knowing when to use which language, conceptualizing the abstract without being explicitly told. Coding wasn’t the problem, the approach to creating and solving problems was the problem. And then I realized that computer science wasn’t that different from other industries. To impact a person's thought process, an early years intervention is extremely important because it is much harder to change someone’s mindset when they are older. That is how Code School was born – to teach children computational thinking to help build problem solving and creativity critical skills for the 21st century learner.

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