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Why every tech pro should learn to code

Sarah K. White | July 27, 2016
You might think the need for coding skills applies only to programmers, but that is far from the case. This popular STEM skill has found its way into nearly every industry and is quickly becoming a skill.

A push for learning coding young

You might assume thatstudents graduating from computer science programs come out armed with the hottest coding skills, but that isn't always the case. It takes a lot of time and effort to change and modernize a curriculum, so plenty of schools are still behind the times when it comes to integrating coding into the curriculum.

And coding offers more than an understanding of programming, it teaches valuable lessons about critical thinking, says Eric Klopfer, director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program at MIT. Klopfe's team is dedicated to getting students invested in coding at a young age by encouraging educators to include the STEM skills in lessons.

Klopfer envisions a world where coding is integrated into every curriculum, from math to science to social sciences. For Klopfer, coding is a way to teach kids how to visualize problems and solve them in new and creative ways. "Computational thinking is really about breaking down problems to discrete steps, a skill that is required in virtually every discipline. As this way of thinking becomes part of the fabric of learning it can have the greatest value in supporting students as they learn other subjects, and using computing creatively," he says.

Trina Gizel, CIO and vice president of IT at Flexera Software, a company that helps companies manage enterprise software, views coding as an efficient way to view the world around us. "Coding is essentially a logic skill set, understanding and building relationships between data, systems, technology and how we do just about everything in our day-to-day lives," she says.

It's becoming easier than ever to instill an interest in coding in young children -- you can walk into Toys "R" Us and get your toddler a tablet specifically designed for their age group, Davis points out. There's also no shortage of games, apps and websites directed at teaching children the basics of coding. And, as Davis notes, when it comes to teaching kids programming skills, the early the better.

"The first time my father saw a computer it was bigger than his house, and now I hold one in my hand every single day. Imagine what the technology world will look like in 30 years if every child knew how to write a program before they went to high school," says Davis.

Staying competitive

Harpreet Singh, vice president of Product Marketing at CloudBees, a company focused on accelerating the software development process, acknowledges that software has become so pervasive that it's found its way into nearly every industry and department. Software can be a great thing -- it can take difficult tasks and make them easier, sometimes removing mundane steps from processes, freeing up employees to be more productive and creative. But the real challenge with software is typically with the humans on the other end of the computer -- they need to be tech-savvy.


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