“Should my child learn to code?” This is a question many parents ask themselves at one point or another.
To answer that question, they need to know, “How will learning to code benefit my child?”
Your child’s world will be driven by technology, so there are many good reasons to consider coding education for your child. Whether they’re interested in technology and STEM or art and science, they will find learning to code to be a useful skill.
Coding teaches valuable skills for any future career and also builds skills for school and life. It’s an excellent way to learn soft skills, like creativity, confidence, and communication, that are hugely important for kids to thrive in the future.
If you’re on the fence, we’ve compiled the 26 most impactful benefits of your child learning to code. Decide if coding is right for your child and get started.
His belief in these benefits is why our founder Jey Iyempandi started teaching his child to code. And that eventually led him to start CodeWizardsHQ. You can read our full story here.
“Code has become the 4th literacy. Everyone needs to know how our digital world works, not just engineers.”– Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation
26 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Code
- Coding Teaches Problem-Solving Skills
- Develop Logical Reasoning Skills
- Coding Teaches Attention to Detail
- Having Coding Skills Can Lead to a High-paying Job
- Coding Experience Helps College Applicants Stand Out
- Learning to Code Makes High School Easier
- Summer Jobs & Internships Value Skills Learned While Coding
- Coding Teaches Critical Thinking
- Coding Demands Concentration
- Kids Who Code Develop Self-Confidence
- Kids Who Code Build Communication Skills
- Kids Who Code Become Lifelong Learners
- Coding Teaches Abstract Thinking
- Coding Teaches Algorithmic Thinking
- Coding Enables Entrepreneurship
- Kids Learn the Decision-making Process
- Kids Who Code Develop Perseverance
- Kids Who Code Experience Teamwork and Collaboration
- Coding Gives Kids a Way to Express Their Creativity
- Risk-Taking Is Part of Learning How to Code
- Coding Teaches Strategic Thinking
- Coding Practices Computational Thinking
- Coding Improves Cognitive Development
- Coders Go from Being Consumers to Being Tech Creator
- Learning to Code Promotes Academic Success
- Learning to Code is Fun
Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Code
1. Coding Teaches Problem-Solving Skills
Whether it’s bringing an idea into real life, improving how something works, or fixing something that’s broken, every coding project starts with solving a problem.
Let’s say your child is coding a game that has text on the screen. The game is the big problem and it’s made up of smaller problems like adding the text, images, positioning, etc. Kids learn to tackle each small problem and eventually solve the bigger problem, like a full-fledged game.
They practice decomposing problems by making them smaller, sequencing them, and then solving them. While kids are writing their code, they’re also forced to solve errors that come up with their program, called debugging.
By doing this consistently, they develop a problem-solving framework that leads them to a fix every time. This framework can be applied not just to coding, but to any problems they have.
Recommended: Best Kids Coding Languages
2. Develop Logical Reasoning Skills
Within a problem-solving framework, kids also need to develop logical reasoning skills. Not only can they solve a problem, but they’re also able to explain how and why they solved it that way.
Having logical reasoning skills encourages kids to think for themselves, to question assumptions, to develop their own theories, and to test their theories against known facts.
When you’re coding a game, the computer processes each step of the game. Tic tac toe has a unique game logic that the student has to think through first, in order to tell the computer what to do.
Every game has game logic and this is one way that kids practice logical reasoning in coding. With every project, they build on these skills and transfer them to other challenges and situations.
3. Coding Teaches Attention to Detail
Coding requires higher-order thinking, but it also requires attention to detail in the written code. Details are especially important in programming because one wrong semicolon or space is the difference between a working program and hours of debugging.
Debugging itself also requires attention to detail. It’s looking through individual lines of code to spot the errors and correct them. It takes a sharp eye to catch bugs on the first try.
Luckily, your program, browser, or IDE can give you feedback on what’s wrong. This reinforces the idea of paying attention to details when writing and reviewing your code.
4. Having Coding Skills Can Lead to a High-paying Job
Many aspects of our everyday life are now automated. As a result, the supply gap for workers with coding skills continues to grow.
It’s possible that 3.5 million STEM jobs will need to be staffed by 2025, including vital jobs in healthcare and technology. As a result, as many as 1 million jobs will go unfilled over the next decade because workers won’t have the necessary coding skills.
Code.org calculated that a computer science major can earn 40% more than the college average and their lifetime earnings are $1.67M versus $1.19M of a college graduate and $0.58M of a high school graduate.
That doesn’t mean that everyone will be working as a programmer. There will be plenty of well-paid jobs that don’t directly involve coding, but benefit from coding knowledge and experience. For example, kids interested in biology can use their coding skills in bioinformatics.
So, even if you aren’t writing code, learning to code can mean a higher-paying job.
5. Coding Experience Helps College Applicants Stand Out
The college application process is highly competitive. Every student has good grades and extracurriculars. How can anyone demonstrate the “exceptional talent” needed to get into the college of their choice?
One way is to study coding and build a portfolio of coding projects. Schools like to see this long-term commitment and investment of time. A coding portfolio provides the admissions officer with tangible evidence of the applicant’s problem-solving skills, creativity, and work ethic.
Colleges also value students who have had real-world experience. At CodeWizardsHQ, high school students who complete the core track are given an internship opportunity. They can add the experience and the project to their college applications.
An internship shows colleges you are responsible and professional, qualities they want in their students.
6. Learning to Code Makes High School Easier
In high school, students may have the option to take AP Computer Science A. Taking this class can mean college credit and preparation for many different college majors.
For students who haven’t studied any computer science until high school, jumping into APCS A can have a steep learning curve. Many students struggle or don’t even take the class if they’re intimidated.
Knowing how to code will prepare students generally and an APCS preparation course can help students feel even more confident they’ll pass the class and the test.
We recommend coding in middle school if you’re considering APCS A in high school. It’s the best strategy to make high school coding easier and less stressful.
7. Summer Jobs & Internships Value Skills Learned While Coding
Kids who learn to code have in-demand skills when it comes to getting a summer job or internship. Most summer jobs, like bagging groceries or waitressing, require very little technical skill.
With coding, kids have the skills that open up more coveted internship opportunities. Of course, they can write code which gives them the option of coding and programming internships. Or they might consider a data-focused internship where they can use coding in developing macros.
They’re more valuable to employers because they have a set of skills many other students don’t. They’ll also have proof of their abilities and experience to add to their resume. Without coding, they wouldn’t have the skills to apply for these types of internships.
8. Coding Teaches Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is all about making judgments and decisions based on reason and logic.
There are often multiple paths to get to a desired solution. It requires a thoughtful process for deciding the best path. Which path is the best one? Which path is good enough? How long does each of those paths take? What are the unintended consequences of both the paths?
In code, for example, you can choose between adding style to an element inline and using a CSS file. The two options achieve the same output, but one may be a better option based on the type of program. Kids learn how to make this decision through critical thinking.
Students have to make these choices every time they code. They’ll see how small changes in their code affect their program and how to get the results they want. With lots of practice, kids can think critically in their coding projects and everywhere else.
9. Coding Demands Concentration
In our highly distracted world, concentration and focus on a single thing can be a rare commodity. However, it’s an important one for many activities. Concentration increases mental performance and is strengthened through practice. Practicing this on a regular basis improves the capacity for learning overall.
Since coding is mentally challenging, it naturally allows kids to practice and develop their ability to focus. It can sometimes take hours to accomplish a single task in a program. During this time, they will need complete mental focus to try and solve the problem.
For example, a difficult problem like writing a function, or a group of code. What should be included in the function, how will each step execute, what will the result be, and how the code can be most efficient all need to be considered.
They’ll need to think through each step within their code, write that in code, assess that code, and rewrite. In addition, they need to concentrate on the syntax to avoid bugs. It’s a cycle that builds in the need to concentrate.
Most importantly, they’re thinking through problems and building cognitive skills. Over time, this practice helps kids sustain focus and memory in all areas.
10. Kids Who Code Develop Self-Confidence
Kids with self-confidence believe in themselves and are proud of what they can do. One of the best ways to build self-confidence is to become more competent at something.
While learning to code, kids meet small milestones that add up to a large accomplishment. This happens over and over again as they build on their coding skills. They become better at coding and this positive feedback loop boosts their self-confidence.
Coding provides a lot of these opportunities for small successes. Once you get that experience, you can apply it to other things in your life. If you set out to accomplish a goal, like running a 5k, and you accomplish it, you’ll have the confidence to apply for the next one and maybe a 10k in the future.
In our lessons, that type of positive reinforcement is built into each class and project. Kids get to experience that aha moment when their code works and it all clicks. Even with a simple program, kids feel that they have set a goal and achieved it. They become more confident in the fact that they can reach any goal in life.
11. Kids Who Code Build Communication Skills
A surprising part of coding is also being part of a team. To work well in a team, kids need to be able to communicate well in both written and spoken language. They will have to communicate about their code and overall ideas in a way that others understand.
Let’s say they’re working on a website project. They’ll have other developers on their team. At this level, they’ll need to write clear code and documentation. This develops typing and writing skills. They’ll also have to speak at a technical level about what their code does. This often happens during group debugging and collaborative coding.
At a higher level, they may be interacting with a part of the marketing or operations team. They’ll need to communicate with these team members about their code and activities at a non-technical level. They may also have to write reports or make presentations on coding projects to this audience.
In these ways, kids who code practice a variety of communication skills.
12. Kids Who Code Become Lifelong Learners
Our world is constantly changing. This is also true for the coding world. New technologies are transforming everything—the way people interact, the demands of work, and even how we experience the world around us. Kids must become lifelong learners in order to adapt to this world.
Sometimes we’re intimidated to learn a new skill because we don’t know where to start. Learning to code gives kids a disciplined approach to learning new skills, new ways to look at the world, and new ways to solve problems. They’re more willing to learn something new.
“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” – Albert Einstein
In addition, programmers don’t learn a language and stop learning. The languages themselves evolve and so must the person writing them. Good programmers stay up to date on the latest technology and standards which means a lifetime of continuous learning.
13. Coding Teaches Abstract Thinking
Through abstract thinking, kids begin to understand more than just what is physically in front of them. With abstract thinking, kids can conceive of new things and ideas, even if they don’t exist yet.
The ability to think in the abstract and create is an important prerequisite for being able to learn to code. Much of how code is structured and works is abstract and cannot be easily represented in a concrete or physical manner. For example, the idea of the cloud is one that many people, especially those who did not grow up with the internet, may struggle to understand.
In our coding classes, we break down abstract concepts using metaphors. For example, a variable can be represented as a bucket that holds a value. That value in the bucket can change, but there are specific rules of what can be in the bucket. Students in our elementary school program, as young as 8 years old, practice this type of abstract thinking while coding.
Once kids can handle abstract thinking, their world becomes infinite. Their out-of-the-box ideas can lead to the kind of innovations and breakthroughs that can change the world.
14. Coding Teaches Algorithmic Thinking
Algorithmic thinking applies a formula or procedure to solve a problem and produce a result. You see them at work every day. Did you get a new suggestion on Netflix? That’s an algorithm that suggested those shows.
If any work can be defined into a series of steps, then a computer can complete it. This allows humans to perform higher-order tasks that a computer can’t do.
Programming is writing a series of steps for the computer to perform. Even a simple concept, like a loop, consists of an algorithm. Kids advance to more and more difficult algorithms as they build their coding skills.
Learning about algorithms also has real-life implications. It helps kids understand how technology impacts us daily. The posts we see on Instagram, the ads we see on Facebook, and the results we get when we search are all driven by algorithms. Instead of blindly following technology, kids understand the mechanisms behind it and can utilize it properly.
15. Coding Enables Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurs don’t simply start businesses. They bring ideas to life and in technology these ideas can have global implications. Being entrepreneurial is about being a problem-solver, a clear communicator, a team leader, a visionary, taking risks, pursuing a passion, and so much more.
But, having the skills to bring your idea to life will put you in the elite category. Founders of tech giants like Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), Twitter (Jack Dorsey), Airbnb (Brian Chesky), and Dropbox (Drew Houston) not only had brilliant ideas, they had the skills to build their products. Without these skills, these ideas may never have come to light.
Even if you’re not building it yourself, managing a team of programmers benefits from coding knowledge and expertise.
For kids who aspire to become entrepreneurs, learning how to code means they have those technical skills. They can bring their own ideas to life, no matter how small or big.
“One of the most important skills any entrepreneur should learn is to program a computer. This is a critical skill if you want to start a tech startup, but a basic knowledge of code is useful even in traditional fields, because software is changing everything.” ― Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman and co-founder of LinkedIn
16. Kids learn the decision-making process
From the moment we wake up we have to make decisions. There are multiple ways to do anything, but what is the best way or the right?
Making these decisions can be difficult or stressful. But with a practiced strategy for making decisions, life becomes easier and more clear.
You’ve probably been in a situation where you just can’t decide, like what’s for dinner. Feeling uncomfortable about making a decision or not having the skills to make a confident decision can result in decision paralysis, the lack of ability to decide out of fear of making the wrong choice. Kids who start coding early practice decision-making and overcome this fear.
Coders consistently practice decision-making. They decide which language to use for certain projects and also the technology tools that will best suit it. In their program, they evaluate the pros and cons of how to organize and write their code, then make decisions on the best way to proceed.
To make a final decision, they’ll have to evaluate options, consider objectives and constraints, and resolve conflicts. Once a decision is made, it is up to them to take decisive action. Being able to make good decisions will allow them to feel confident throughout life with the choices they make.
17. Kids Who Code Develop Perseverance
If, at first, you don’t succeed, try again. Many life situations call on perseverance to ultimately succeed. This is the ability to keep moving towards the end goal, even when the path is difficult. Good grades don’t always come easily. Getting on the team sometimes doesn’t always happen with the first tryout.
When it comes to coding, not every solution is simple or straightforward. Debugging why the code didn’t work or work as expected takes a lot of perseverance. Often the first fix tried won’t solve the problem. When this happens kids have to repeat the debugging process, sometimes several times, until they find the best solution.
Many developers will tell you that the ability to finally overcome these obstacles is a part of the thrill and fun of writing code. Kids with perseverance have the capacity and courage to withstand everyday challenges and hurdles.
18. Kids Who Code Experience Teamwork and Collaboration
With teamwork and collaboration, the result is more than the sum of the pieces. You’ll find that most of the websites and apps you use, even small ones, are built by a team and not by individuals working in a silo.
To bring a video game to life, like Minecraft or Roblox, it takes hundreds of programmers, designers, writers, artists, etc. You’ll need to collaborate with many people from diverse backgrounds to complete a big project. The more you’re exposed to different types of people and their working styles, the better teammate you become as well.
As part of a team, coders contribute to something bigger than themselves and share the burden of failure and the joy of success.
“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs, Apple Founder
19. Coding Gives Kids a Way to Express Their Creativity
Coding seems like a very rigid and structured activity, but it’s actually a great place to express your creativity. Everything from the design to the features to the written code utilizes creative thinking.
While there are guidelines for best practices, you will see that almost every developer you speak with will have a different solution to the same problem. There’s really no right answer, so coders must think for themselves and get creative.
Kids who learn to code learn to be creative throughout the entire process. Our core coding curriculum was specifically written in a way that allows kids to express their creativity.
For example, in the high school core track, we ask students to build an avatar generator. They get to pick the theme, the colors, and the graphics, and be as creative as they want. It’s encouraged and many students surprise us with their creative ideas and designs.
Chloe took a simple project and added her own creative touches from the hand drawings to the button features. Check out her avatar project.
Using a creative approach opens kids’ minds to new possibilities and forces them to consider alternative approaches. Developing these skills gives kids the resilience needed to respond to the challenges presented by our ever-changing world.
20. Risk-Taking Is Part of Learning How to Code
Risk-taking can seem frightening, but it can also be the challenge that teaches kids how to face uncertainty, engage in problem-solving, and be flexible and creative.
Kids who learn how to code are in a safe learning environment that intentionally encourages risk-taking. Even after analyzing a coding problem sometimes kids just have to try something and see what happens.
If the path they take works, then they experience the thrill of success. If it doesn’t work, they are challenged to try a different approach.
21. Coding Teaches Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking makes it possible to see and understand a whole idea, all its parts, and how they are connected. With strategic thinking, kids can see the bigger picture, anticipate the effect of their actions, and make a plan.
In coding, we use functions to control an action. That function is used on multiple pages that make up the whole website. So, what happens if you change that function? How would it affect the website? Strategically thinking, when we make a change in one place we also need to understand its implications everywhere else.
With strategic thinking, kids can create opportunities for efficiency, long-term stability, or to meet other goals. The strategic approach can uncover leverage points for kids to exploit and it helps them understand the effects of their coding project on a larger scale. Kids also connect with the vision and purpose of the project to find the best strategy for success.
At a higher level, it’s the ability to plan for the future in all areas of life.
22. Coding Practices Computational Thinking
Computational thinking is the foundation of computer science. It’s used to express solutions in a way that computers can carry them out. This requires knowledge of how a computer works, how it understands problems, and how to use algorithms to solve these problems.
At a high level, computational thinking addresses the question: What is computable?
Students need to think at multiple levels of abstraction to find answers to that question. This computation assists humans in solving problems.
Coding has a distinct advantage in teaching computational thinking because it is a major component of every stage of coding, from beginning to end. For each step in their program, students have to think through how the computer will understand and translate that.
The biggest benefit of computational thinking is how students can use it to make real-world changes.
23. Coding Improves Cognitive Development
The same cognitive benefits of learning a second language, solving puzzles, and doing math come with learning to code. Cognitive development encompasses how children process information, their understanding of concepts, their ability to learn expressive and receptive language, and their perceptual skills.
Learning to code involves brain power that is complicated and extensive. In fact, reading computer code appears to activate both the left and right sides of the brain, fostering improved multi-tasking capabilities, boosting working memory retention, and preparing the brain for complex problem-solving. It seems that this translation of symbols and information stems from the language-processing part of the brain.
Kids start to develop cognitively at birth and doing activities that nurture these skills is important from an early age. Computer programming fuels cognitive development and can help kids reach their full cognitive potential to perform a wide range of tasks.
24. Coders Go from Being Consumers to Being Tech Creator
Kids who learn to code move from being passive consumers of technology to being active creators. Creation is not just about having ideas, it also requires the tools to bring that idea to life. By learning to code, they can put their ideas, talent, creativity, and interests into making their own technological solutions.
Creation is highly valued today because we are constantly seeking new ideas, products, and content. One of our students, May, recently won a designation through MIT App Inventor for her creation. She developed an app that helps students track their homework assignments on a personalized screen. May submitted the app to MIT App Inventor and her work was recognized as the app of the month.
Through the act of becoming a maker, kids learn that they have choices and can influence the world around them. They don’t have to simply accept things as they are and can actually make things better and more to their liking. Their creations can change their world as well as the world around them and make a difference for other people as well.
25. Learning to Code Prepares Kids for Academic Success
Kids who learn to code will develop the hard and soft skills that support academic achievement. Coding helps kids in school because the lessons that coding teaches transfer well into the classroom.
Coding touches on core subjects like math, science, and reading. When kids learn to code, they’re exposed to simple as well as more advanced mathematical principles. Reading is important in understanding documentation and combing through lines of code. Science and coding are also related. Coding uses scientific methods and theories within computational thinking. Each test is like an experiment with immediate results.
The technical skill of writing code can also contribute to academic success. Kids can learn coding to prepare them for a college education in any number of fields like statistics, biology, or even art and music.
26. Learning to Code is Fun
Coding offers the sheer joy that comes from making things, the fascination of solving puzzles and problems, and the pleasure of creating something useful.
Kids have fun when they’re learning something new. Many kids enjoy playing games and can take that interest to the next level by learning game development.
Coding is also fun and engaging because kids can get instant gratification. In a few lines, kids can see their ideas taking shape. In our coding classes, teachers are trained to create a fun environment because it supports learning. Kids have fun interacting, learning, and sharing together.
Coding offers kids a unique opportunity to have fun and learn at the same time.
The Importance of Learning to Code
As technology becomes more and more integrated into daily life, it’s undeniable that teaching kids to code gives them an advantage in college, career, and beyond. For parents, that offers peace of mind to know our children will be future-ready.
Whatever your reasoning, you can’t go wrong with exposing your child to programming. While coding may not be the right activity for every child, you never know what may spark your child’s interest until you try. Reap the benefits of a fun and valuable activity that could last a lifetime!