AUTHOR: Laura Stupple

It's not uncommon nowadays to see a sticky-pawed toddler swiping away on a tablet.

Today's kids are learning basic skills such as reading and writing as well as the intricacies of Peppa Pig's pastel coloured life, all through the soft glow of these screens. 

There's no denying that technology can't be kept away from children and in a world that is advancing more and more every day, it shouldn't be. There's a huge opportunity to use this natural interest in technology to gear children up for success in the modern world by teaching kids to code.

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Why should kids learn to code?

 "Everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think." - Steve Jobs

As our pal Steve puts it, coding teaches you how to think and trains your brain in basic problem solving; teaching you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems. As children, we find it much easier to learn new skills and, if practiced regularly, can retain and build upon these skills for years to come.

Children under ten are at a particularly good age for this as they are in the psychosocial development stage, which allows them to quickly absorb what they learn. Coding is the new language of the world and the principle of teaching a child a language as they are developing also applies to learning code - the younger, the better.

Learning computer programming at a young age builds confidence, enhances creativity and equips children with the ability to navigate the world with a much greater understanding. Experts also believe that by teaching a generation of children to code, we will see much more proactive innovation and technological advances.

 

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Getting them started in the world of coding

Apps are a great place to start. There are plenty of apps out there that are designed to teach kids about basic coding practices and nurture their interest. From complex coding programs to simple commands, coder kids can learn to command a robot, build a game, or even a website. 

As well as apps, there are a number of free websites that children can log onto to learn more about coding. On these websites they're able to discover the vast variety of projects that they can get involved with through computer programming and find out about local events where they can practice with their peers.

Talking of events, another good way to get kids into coding is by joining a coding club where they can discover the endless possibilities of computer programming. A cool example of this is Code Club UK, a nationwide network of volunteers and educators who run free coding clubs for young people aged nine to thirteen. In clubs like these, kids can work on solo and collaborative projects and learn coding languages such as HTML & CSS, Raspberry Pi, Sense HAT and Python. These types of clubs often run hackathons which are immersive, full day events where you can work on a project in teams and demonstrate what you've achieved to the whole room.

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It's not just kids who should code

It's not just kids that we should be encouraging to learn to code, it's never too late to step into this exciting world, even if you've never been into tech. Anyone can learn to code.

 We're living in a world dominated by software and it won't slow down any time soon. Some suggest that in the future not being able to code might be looked upon in a similar way as being illiterate or innumerate - coding really is the language of the future.

 Coding is becoming the most in-demand skill in the country and can be applied across a whole range of industries. Knowledge in computer programming could see you working in a number of different jobs including doing UX design for the next biggest app, or game designing for the next thing in VR or even working in developing artificial intelligence.

 Learning computer programming skills could also give you the skills you need to live out your entrepreneurial dream, you could build your own website or your own app and really get your business off the ground.

See also: Am I too old to learn to code?

Getting you started in the world of coding

Make 2018 your year and learn to code. Discover a range of different coding courses here and develop all of the skills required to become a pro coder and finally get the job you've always wanted.

What do you think about kids coding? Is it an essential skill that we should be encouraging? Is coding a skill that you're dying to develop? Chat to us on Twitter @tlp_tweets – we want to hear from you.

 

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