Is Coding the Most Important Language to Learn Right Now?

Learning, PreK-12

Those celebrating Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code might say yes, and for good reason. Programming opportunities are connecting young women to STEM in creative ways and code schools have emerged as a valuable alternative to a traditional four year university. All around, it’s safe to say that learning to code is a great way to prepare for college and career.

That’s why we joined Microsoft to create Getting Smart on Coding for College & Career Readiness. This “Smart Bundle” shines a light on the importance of coding knowledge and serves as a tool to inspire educators to introduce students to computer science.

“Today’s students – our future business innovators – will not only depend on technology skills to get work done, collaborate, and communicate; but to navigate their day-to-day tasks and activities in an increasingly complex world,” said Alison Cunard, General Manager of Microsoft Learning Experiences (LeX) in the Smart Bundle.

With the increase in the use of technology, coding powers the machines and software that we use every day. As a language, its universality positions programming as a medium primed for collaboration. Coding also opens the door to entrepreneurial opportunities for anyone, regardless of their background.

The ability to code can level the playing field and provide access to college and careers for every student. With the uncertainty in ROI for traditional four-year postsecondary degrees, coding has become a lot less overwhelming and a lot more accessible and empowering. Some students are even leaving high school entirely to attend code schools.

A Flatiron School jobs report shows that coding academies are quickly becoming an affordable alternative to college. This brings a new perspective to a subject that once was viewed as necessary for only a select few. Computer science is finally transitioning from being seen as a specific job training course to being recognized as a key element to a student’s 21st-century education.

Anthony Salcito points out in the Smart Bundle that there are at least five important reasons for expanding access to coding and computer science learning experiences in K-12:

  • Coding is career prep.
  • Coding is critical thinking.
  • Coding is engaging.
  • Coding is entrepreneurship.
  • Coding is collaboration.

Every one of the skills taught by coding is essential for our students’ success in the 21st century. The next step is to find a place on the master schedule of primary and secondary schools around the globe. Computer science needs to be added to the list of math and science classes students can take to satisfy graduation requirements. It needs to be part of postsecondary institution applications, and on the mile markers of pathways to careers.

Students are passionate about coding and as this passion grows and spreads, expanding access to coding and computer science learning experiences in K-12 is vital for a myriad of reasons.

Powerful opportunities exist for young people to learn and create code. Strong partnerships between the business and education sectors help students across the globe realize their passion and potential while boosting readiness for college and careers.

Download Getting Smart on Coding For College and Career to find inspiration and motivation, and to spark creativity in educating students for postsecondary and well paying jobs.

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Tyler Nakatsu

Tyler Nakatsu

Tyler Nakatsu is passionate about storytelling. Follow Tyler on Twitter, @post_west.