Coding is a creative process that a programmer uses to communicate with a computer and writing code is like developing a set of instructions.
Experts opine that coding is set to become the new education standard, a skill that everyone needs to develop to some degree. Coding improves logical thinking since it involves using the brain’s rational side, which is used for linear thinking, sequencing, and application of logic. Children are encouraged to use the right side of the brain for problem-solving through visualisation and out-of-box thinking. To communicate with a machine, one would need to develop sound logic and an ability to break a problem down to its constituent elements.
Coding helps people develop life skills — articulating and solving their problems, thinking critically, and going beyond the surface. It teaches children patience and helps create an attitude to not give up in the face of adversity. The learning curve is steep, just like any other skill such as working out or learning to play a musical instrument, but the journey is rich and full of rewards.
As per the National Education Policy 2020 coding will be taught to students from Class 6 onwards. It aims to provide an early start for children aged 10 years or older by educating them on real programming skills. Even if they don’t go specifically into any computer science-related field, it gives them an edge in virtually every modern industry.
Before you enrol your kids in coding classes, you need to understand the products available in the market to make an informed decision. Most of the players in this segment use block-based coding for young children that uses drag and drop blocks and is based on visual programming.
However, children over the age of 10 should ideally be exposed to text-based coding that involves actual coding language syntax. As a practice, text-based coding programmes use actual programming languages either within a closed platform or real text editors. It is identical to real programming that is practised by professionals. If taught right, coding skills can impart innovators and entrepreneurs of the next generation with the right skills that are needed for the future.
We need to ensure that the right coding skills are imparted to students that equip them for the competitive future ahead, which is fast-paced and ever-changing.
Coding skills will soon be counted as a life skill as it will open doors to varied opportunities for children.
The 21st century requires us to constantly learn, unlearn, and upgrade ourselves in all facets of our life. Consider giving your child this modern-day skill in the form of coding, where they learn to solve complex problems, build useful products, and change the world in their own small ways.
(The author is co-founder of an institute that offers coding courses)