Why You Should Teach Your Kids How to Write Code

code | 11-08-2013

Our kids are still really young, but as soon as they are old enough to read and do some basic math, I’m planning to teach them how to write JavaScript. We will probably have a better setup than most people because I work remotely and we are planning to homeschool our kids. That will give me ample opportunity to work with them on a regular basis.

There are a ton of good reasons to teach kids to program at an early age. Here are just a few that I’ve though of.

Programming makes learning fun

When I was a kid, I absolutely hated math. I think one of the main reasons I felt that way was because the format I was learning math in wasn’t conducive to my personality. Just learning from lectures and problems on paper didn’t give me the instant satisfaction and instant validation or correction that writing code provides.

For instance, if I want to learn what 2 + 2 equals, I could do a math problem in a textbook, and then wait for a while to find out whether my answer was correct, by which time I would be completely outside of the context of the problem at hand, or I could write a unit test to validate that 2 + 2 = 4 like this:

test(‘when I add 2 and 2 together’, function () {
   equal(2 + 2, 4, ‘it should equal 4’);
});

I can run the unit test immediately and know right away whether or not my answers are correct. The advantage is easy to see.

Programming takes abstract concepts and makes them applicable in the real-world

Learning for the sake of learning is not something that excites most people. If you are learning something for the sake of using it in your daily life, it is a whole different story.

When you learn to program, you are also learning about math, logic, artistic composition (if you’re working on a UI), writing, reading and how to work with the scientific method.

You probably won’t even realize you’re learning all of those things, but you end up putting all of them into practice on a day-to-day basis.

Programming gives you a creative outlet

If you want to create something that can be used and enjoyed by people all over the world, programming is your key.

As far as creative outlets go, programming is awesome in that it allows you to reach an infinitely wide audience without the effort that some other outlets like writing a book, recording an album or painting a picture require.

Hosting a website or app is relatively inexpensive compared to producing a book.

Programming is job security

The current climate for programming and tech jobs is incredible. There are millions of unfilled tech jobs in the United States even now in a down economy.

Programmers are able to bring value to their employers and clients by automating arduous processes and creating products and websites that attract more customers. Since employers are forced to compete over the limited commodity of skilled programmers, wages and benefits are typically pretty good in the tech world.

But it goes beyond just being able to get a job as a programmer. The real value that any employee brings to an organization is their ability to produce services. With the ability to write code, repetitive tasks can be automated and the amount of goods and services that are produced will increase.

What that means is that whether you are a programmer, a farmer, an accountant or an event coordinator, there are ways that your productivity and the value you bring to an organization can be increased through writing code.

Conclusion

Kids who learn to program will be in a better position in the coming years.

Programming is a language. Just like Spanish when you’re young is easier than when you’re older, getting a head-start on learning to program will be easier at a young age than later on.

Is anyone else planning to teach programming to their kids?



About the Author

Tyson Cadenhead is a Senior JavaScript Developer at Aloompa. He lives in the greater Nashville area. His specialty is writing large, scalable JavaScript applications on the client and server side. His passions are for good design, usability, and clean, reusable code.

Tags: Rant Kids

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