Posts Tagged ‘programming’

Not Every Child Needs to Learn How To Code

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

I’ve seen a lot of people talking lately about how important it is for every child to learn to program, to code.

I disagree.

I think that it’s very important for children to make art and music, to learn to read and write very well. I think that it’s essential that children learn that the scientific method is how we discover how the physical world works. I think that everyone single child needs a solid education in the language of math.

From my perspective, history, literature, and civics are are critical areas of study. But programming is a specialization that I feel is only necessary to the few who are interested in it.

But won’t the future belong to the programmers? Nope. The future belongs to those who create. And creating isn’t limited or bounded by the ability to program or code.

I have many programmer friends and colleagues. I value their skills. But I don’t believe that everyone should be just like them no more than I believe that everyone needs to be a skilled auto mechanic or landscaper or architect. I don’t even believe that everyone should become a professional-quality writer.

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that many, even most programmers are not vastly rich from things they make. Most of the programmers that I know are working stiffs, little different from people who work on an auto assembly line or build houses. They code, they program, because they enjoy it, they have the skills. Very few of them want to build apps or create the next Facebook.

The foundation of programming is logic. Children need to learn logic, but programming is an application of logic and not required to thrive in today’s or tomorrow’s world. Those who want to program can learn to do so easily if they understand logic. But to insist that all children learn to code and program is a misunderstanding of this world and the world to come.