Coding for kids

Ivan Ivan Follow Dec 01, 2022 · 3 mins read
Coding for kids
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In recent years, there are many new robotics or coding schools for kids. Such topics are also being taught as lessons in primary schools, and are also used as a Direct School Admission area for admission to secondary schools.

There is a growing interest in letting kids learn coding as it is a pretty popular industry to go into, especially with headlines such as “Singapore Tech Salaries Jump 22% in Chase for Skilled Coders”.

But is the industry already overly saturated with many software engineers? We see news on recent tech layoffs and with the poor economy and advertisement sales, tech companies are taking a pretty bad hit. I guess this is part and parcel of demand and supply, something like a stock market correction. But in the long run, software engineers or IT professionals are required in every sector.

Do we still need software engineers given the rise of AI?
Artificial Intelligence has made significant advancements in recent years. I still remember how AlphaGo managed to beat the top Go player at that time - Lee Sedol in a highly anticipated match in 2016. Then I thought to myself that it is not going to be as easy for computer to beat humans in a real-time strategy game such as Starcraft II because its more than just reading moves many steps in advance but there’s strategy (or trickery) involved. Boy was I wrong where in 3 years time, AlphaStar (a play on the game name) managed to beat top Starcraft II players.

However, given articles like this and other related ones, AI does not seem to replace humans anytime soon. Sure, automation will reduce a lot of manual work, but it is still necessary for humans to come in to fix various issues that AI can’t fix. My opinion is that there is still a strong requirement for programmers and software engineers in many years to come. Perhaps it might be useful to even study AI or its relative - Machine Learning, and improving them.

Is it useful for kids to learn coding?
Regardless whether the child grows up to be an software engineer, learning how to code is quite useful. Coding is something that adults are already learning even when they are not programmers. For example, writing simple scripts using languages like python can be useful to automate simple repetitive tasks.

Coding helps build digital literacy in a digital world where almost everything is digitalised. I think we are already past the stage where you need to learn how to use a computer, but we need to learn how to use a computer well.

Coding is also useful in allowing kids to think logically and how to solve problems in a systemised and programmatic manner.

How can kids learn coding?
Obviously kids will need to have a certain level of interest. Perhaps find a reason for your kid to learn coding. Does your kid like certain games or cartoon? Find a suitable learning program that has those! My kid likes minecraft and has lots of fun learning on code.org. Occasionally your kid may be stuck while solving some of those problems and it would be useful if you have some basic coding experience to guide him or her.

Alternatively, find a coding or robotics class nearby. A younger kid might start with robotics so that he or she will be able to more easily appreciate simple coding principles in a visual way. For example if a ‘move forward’ command is used, a robot moves forward, etc. In short, make learning fun for the kids. At the end of the day, if they don’t like it, don’t force it on them.

Photo: image above taken from Unsplash

Written by Ivan Follow
Hi, I am Ivan, the author of theAsianDad. I hope you like it!