As our lives become increasingly digitalized, it’s more and more apparent that having some knowledge of code is helpful, if not necessary.  Think about it – simple things you use every day – your cell phone apps, your email, the websites you check out on your lunch

break, even your car’s navigation system… all of this relies on a series of different languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.

There’s an ongoing debate of whether we should teach our children coding languages in addition to foreign languages…  I know that one of the most useful classes I took in middle school was my computer class where I learned to type blind and how to use computers in general.  During my stint as an administrative assistant, I had to prove my typing proficiency (haha, 75 WPM, take THAT suckers!).  Compared to calculus or history, which served in getting a well- rounded education but not something that was practically useful, I type every day, and it really helps me get things done faster and with less of a hassle to be proficient at typing blind.

In the Op Ed piece, there’s a dispute about whether or not kids should spend time learning code.  While one individual says that kids should be running outside and playing, not sitting indoors in front of a screen, I don’t think learning to code and being outside is mutually exclusive.  That would be like saying that if I learn a foreign language in school that I won’t be learning English – preposterous!   And the things that kids can do with code are pretty cool – like building robots!   Luke, I am your father.  Wait… was it Luke’s hand that was a robotic arm?

Just like Tom Haverford, we have come to rely on technology - beep boop bap beeeeep - image via
Just like Tom Haverford, we have come to rely on technology – beep boop bap beeeeep – image via

The other topic brought up is the disparity of men and women in the tech field.  This is another reason to get all kids to learn how to code, because it’s something that can become second nature to them before they realize that there even were stereotypes about things like that…  As a kid, I didn’t know that there were

stereotypes about math and science.  I was good at math as a kid, just as I was at other subjects.  So by the time I was in high school – AP Calc and Physics classes were normal to me- I took them without thinking about it too much.  That said, I had many other interests, and turned to the Humanities for comfort in college.  But it wasn’t because I didn’t think I could be a mathematician.

Putting code in front of all kids, regardless of background or gender, can only help bring access to all and nip stereotypes in the bud.  “If we make the case that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs are the future, we do a disservice to students by waiting until high school to give them an introductory course in coding.”  Couldn’t have put it  better myself.

And even if you aren’t looking for a career in the STEM fields, you could invest in yourself relatively easily to keep up to par on the skills that will be necessary to have to avoid becoming an obsolete dinosaur in years to come!

This dinosaur will never be obsolete - image via
This dinosaur will never be obsolete – image via

If you’re looking to learn how to code yourself, CodeCademy and Girl Develop It are free and cheap (respectively) resources for all.  I’ve used a combination of both to get my coding skills up to par and made a cool new group of friends through GDI’s classes, workshops and talks ranging from coding, public speaking to sexual harassment.

What do you think?  Should kids learn coding in school?  How about YOU?

Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!

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2 thoughts on “Coding: The Third Language

    1. Thanks so much, Chrissy! I will definitely check out the Khan Academy for JavaScript. Glad you’re spreading the word!

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