At CodeWizardsHQ, we firmly believe that the ability to code is an important skill for today’s kids to have for the future, especially when so much of our modern world depends on code to function. Even so, we know that a career in coding may not be what every kid is looking for.
Still, learning to code has major benefits that makes it a great choice for every kid, no matter what they ultimately decide to do for a career.
Skill 1 – Critical Thinking
At its heart, coding is all about solving a problem using whatever tools that are at hand. Different situations can require different tools, but critical thinking skills can be helpful for solving problems effectively whatever the situation.
Learning to code is one of the most effective ways of teaching kids great critical thinking skills that can help them throughout their lifetime.
At its core, critical thinking is the process of examining the information available and making a judgment based on what it tells you. And really, that process is a huge part of what coding is all about.
Coding is all about identifying and analyzing problems in the data, coming up with and applying a possible solution, and examining the results to see if the fixes worked.
In essence, a large part of coding is critical thinking, and these critical thinking skills gained through solving coding problems are among some of the most transferable skills that coding can teach.
They are an important set of skills that can be a big help throughout every stage of life, and which coders will find themselves practicing over and over again.
Skill 2 – Perseverance
Which brings us to our next benefit. Learning to code does a lot to teach kids perseverance.
Coding can be tough. That’s a good thing! It’s exactly that level of difficulty that allows young coders to learn how to persevere.
Perseverance is the ability to keep moving towards the end goal, even when the path forward feels difficult. It is especially useful during the debugging process when a young coder might not be sure which part of their code is misbehaving. Combing over code to find the problem piece can often feel tedious, and it can be a very real frustration when your virtual plans fall apart. But perseverance in the face of those difficulties is what gives coders the ability to succeed. And nothing compares to the triumphant feeling that comes from overcoming a difficult obstacle.
Perseverance is a skill that will remain relevant throughout life, from completing homework assignments at school to tackling complex projects at work as adults. Kids who understand the value of perseverance are more successful in so many aspects of life.
Skill 3 – Clear Communication
Because so much of coding is done alone, it can come as a surprise that learning to code can be a real boost to communication skills. But interestingly enough, the ability to code has been shown to help build communication skills in a few different ways.
First, it serves as great practice for how to communicate clearly. Computers have a hard time understanding directions that aren’t communicated in a very specific way, so coders have to learn to be very careful when giving directions. Writing something just a little bit off can have a large impact on how code is executed. Communicating with people isn’t all that different. Specificity can often be the key to being understood.
Coders also learn how to break complex ideas down into smaller, easier-to-understand chunks. When working with computers, this is a necessary step, but it is a surprisingly useful skill when interacting with other people as well, and can help coders to avoid all sorts of misunderstandings.
Skill 4 – Following Directions
Another major benefit that can be gained through learning to code is the ability to follow directions. This one might not seem all that impressive at first glance, but it is actually a huge advantage, especially for young coders.
Computers are far better at following directions than people are, and far worse at skipping steps. That means that coders learn to use a great deal of specificity in their code. It also means they get really good at following those directions!
Doing so is often the only way to find any errors in their own code to figure out why a program is misbehaving.
Away from computer screens, following directions can still be a big benefit. One of the biggest skills teachers focus on in elementary school is following directions, so coding supports this key education fundamental. Understanding the importance of following directions helps coders to quickly pick up new skills outside of coding and be able to do things right the first time.
Skill 5 – Creativity
Lastly, learning to code can give young coders a big boost to their creativity. When people think of creative activities, they most often think of the fine arts, like painting or writing music. Occasionally, they may think of artisan crafts, like woodworking. Few people realize that coding is an art, too!
The entire coding process is one of creativity since all code begins as nothing more than an idea in someone’s head. In CodeWizardsHQ classes, even beginning students are encouraged to take projects and make them their own by tying in their individual interests and hobbies. Coders at every level take ideas and turn them into something real, that has an impact on the world in real ways. It is an extremely creative process.
The process of learning to code teaches so much more than how to build apps and websites. Whether coding students plan on a long career in programming or are only learning it for fun, there are strong benefits that come from learning that will be helpful throughout their lifetime.
While learning these skills isn’t necessarily what people think of when they talk about taking coding classes, they are definitely a large part of the learning experience. And much like we teach kids sports as a way of teaching them teamwork, coding is worth teaching to kids for these peripheral benefits, too.