We should be teaching our kids how to code. Or should we?
The debate over whether children should be taught to code in school has been going on for quite a while now. One side says that coding is the new literacy, and everyone should know how to. The other side rejects this claim.
First of all, though the idea that coding will be beneficial to children is still under debate, I do not envisage it ever being at the same level as indispensable skills like reading or writing. Coding is not a skill needed by everyone. An actuary may benefit from knowing how to code, but a nurse wouldn't. Coding is beneficial only if it solves a problem. People should not learn how to code just because. Jeff Atwood said about this argument in an article of his:
It assumes that coding is the goal. Software developers tend to be software addicts who think their job is to write code. But it's not. Their job is to solve problems.
Some people say coding could make our kids get better at problem-solving. But so could chess. And maths. And sports. My point is that there are many other skills that would be beneficial to kids. Coding is a practical subject, and if schools started teaching it, they might probably take away all the practicalness from it and teach it just like every other subject.
We could instead introduce kids to code and get them to know how it looks like. Then it would be their choice to continue, either in a club or in their own time on platforms such as Codecademy and SoloLearn. Coding should not be forced on children in any way, as by doing so, we risk sucking the creativity out of it, the very skill we are trying to grow.
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