Traffic lights, coffee makers, washing machines—what do these all have in common?
In one way or another, they all use computer coding.
Coding is the silent language that surrounds us every day, from our smartphones to our hospital systems. And as the world grows more digital, coding has become a more high-value skill, leading schools to implement their own coding curriculum.
The best part? You don’t have to be a future website developer to learn coding! Teaching coding for kids in schools not only opens career doors, but also helps to develop key skills like critical thinking, computational thinking, teamwork and more.
Let’s log in and explore how coding can prepare young students for all possible futures.
To Open Career Doors
Technology isn’t vanishing anytime soon—and neither are coding jobs.
Sure, software design and IT are very popular fields. But industries like architecture, healthcare, and marketing also want coders on their side. With a school coding course, kids of all backgrounds can access this practical, in-demand job skill.
Jobs Related to Coding
If the job market were a playground, coders would be the popular kid at recess. Everyone wants them to join their kickball team.
Most people think coders only work for software companies. But in today’s digitized job market, that’s simply not the case. You can find coding jobs across industries like:
- Data Analysis
- Information Technology (IT)
- Food Service
- Graphic Design
And these diverse coding opportunities are both growing in number and in salary.
Need proof? Across 26 million job postings in 2015, almost half paying $57,000 or more were coding-friendly occupations.1
Need even more proof? From 2019 to 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects computer and IT industry jobs to grow by 11%.2 And on average, those jobs earn a median annual salary of almost $50,000 higher than other industries.
Bring coding to schools, and you bring young children an applicable skill for today’s—and tomorrow’s—job market.
Bridging STEM Diversity Gaps
It’s no secret that technology and other STEM fields have a diversity issue. According to the Pew Research Center, many demographics are underrepresented in computer science, while male and white workers are overrepresented3.
In particular, these demographics face low employment rates in the computing workforce:
- Women – 25% of workers
- Blacks – 7% of workers
- Hispanics – 7% workers
- Other Races/Ethnicities – 2% of workers
A solution to help counter those gaps? Early coding education.
School coding courses offer a valuable and equalizing education to students who can’t access computer science at home. By implementing a kid-friendly course like Disney Codeillusion, young children will learn that coding is for anyone—no matter their gender or race or socioeconomic status.
Start teaching early, and you can nurture future coding wizzes while closing diversity gaps.
To Improve Academics
In retrospect, some grade school lessons can seem pretty useless. Calculus and the War of 1812 don’t come up often in most day-to-day lives.
So you might ask—why teach coding in schools if most students won’t become coders?
Good question. Like most school subjects, coding isn’t just about memorizing facts or instructions. It’s also about developing learning habits.
From Spanish to algebra, coding offers tangible skills to improve academic performance in a number of classes:
Math – Sure, coding and math both have a lot of 1’s and 0’s. But it also utilizes and models abstract math skills like logic, computational thinking, sequencing, and formulas. By providing a real-life application, coding helps children see math concepts in a new light.
- Foreign languages – If coding is most similar to any school subject, it’s language. To learn coding, you must study one of the thousands of computing “languages” (HTML, Java, and Python are popular options). A study by the University of Washington found that language proficiency better predicted coding skills than math—the two go hand in hand.
- English and literature – Every line of coding is like a sentence on the page. In fact, coding sequences are quite similar to a book’s structure—linear, narrative, and trackable. By creating code, children can build on their reading comprehension and writing skills.
To Foster Abstract Skills
Let’s face it—the horn-rimmed glasses “computer nerd” stereotype is far past its prime—time to toss it out with the floppy discs.
Yes, computers may have a nerdy reputation. But learning to code actually develops technical and “soft” or interpersonal skills.
In most coding courses, students work in teams, communicate ideas, and revise past work—all crucial life skills for any endeavor. Offer coding to students, and you offer a toolbox for personal development.
So how do binary sequences magically turn into your favorite video game? Leave it to the artistry of coding.
Like playing the violin or speaking a new language, coding is about finding creativity within structure. Once you learn the grammar of coding languages, the possibilities end at your imagination’s limit.
Want to design a video game exploring the Marianas Trench? Or maybe an app that turns voice recordings into instrumental sounds? With coding, young minds can unleash their creativity on a wide variety of projects:
- Smartphone apps
- Word generators
- Desktop or console games
- Information generators
- Computer software
No matter the goal, every coding project requires a little spark of imagination—and that’s a lifelong lesson to keep.
You might have heard the rumors that coding is a lot of re-coding. In other words, correcting errors is a major part of learning to code.
Don’t let that discourage you. Even the most advanced coders have to revise their work! And for young minds, this editing cycle helps build grit and perseverance in the face of challenges.
Resilience is a tough but valuable lesson. But as a low-stakes environment, a coding class is an excellent way for students to learn it.
By now, you’ve definitely heard about the “languages” of coding. That term, however, is pretty literal.
Creating code is quite an abstract process, like writing or speaking. Your brain has to compose individual parts into a holistic meaning and narrative. Otherwise, the end product makes no sense.
If a child struggles to follow a book’s storyline, coding and developing proficiency in a programming language can become a visual aid for comprehension. Students can tangibly break down plots into smaller chunks, processing a linear narrative into a structured sequence.
Every coding language—just like every spoken language—has rules. And combined, those rules create some fascinating puzzles for coders to convey what they want to “say.”
For example, a young toddler may want a cookie but struggles to communicate that craving. So how will they land their hands on a chocolate chip wonder? They could:
- Shout “Cookie!” in front of Mom or Dad
- Ask politely for a treat
- Point excitedly at the cookie jar
- Sneak into the cookie jar themselves
With persistence and awareness, the child will find a solution that makes the cookie crumble right into their hungry mouths. Similarly, coding presents multi-solution challenges to kids, teaching them to predict errors and critically analyze situations for maximum success.
Like the “computer nerd” stereotype, coding also has an undeserved antisocial reputation.
When people think of coding, they imagine hours of staring at a screen, click-clacking away at a keyboard all alone. Not exactly an enticing image.
But the opposite couldn’t be more true. In quality coding courses, teamwork is a core principle.
By collaborating with peers, children develop crucial social skills while observing different problem-solving approaches. Multiple studies support this claim, showing that grade school coding students reach higher performance goals in group settings.5
Almost every job, coding or otherwise, will involve some level of teamwork. Group coding classes are an excellent opportunity for children to explore this dynamic in an analytical and creative setting.
To Be Conscious Technology Consumers
Like it or not, technology is a keystone of modern life—and its prevalence has only grown in recent years.
In 2020, the average American spent over twelve hours with screens per day.6 And that’s not counting all the ways non-screen technology impacts our lives, from citywide electric grids to home security systems.
As digital users, kids should understand the nature of our screen-filled world. By learning the deep impact of computer programming, they can become more conscious technology consumers—or even innovators.
Prepare Students for Tomorrow’s World
How often do you use geometry on a given day? For most, the answer is rarely to never.
But your laptop? That’s an everyday guarantee for students and adults alike.
Coding not only teaches core skills like problem-solving and creativity—it’s a subject that fits right into our current lives. Whether developing the next big app or collaborating on a group project, students can use direct programming skills from coding to drive future success.
Bring coding to schools, and students will learn to see their digital world in an exciting, opportunity-filled light. Endless possibilities are just a few keystrokes away.
Jumpstart a Love of Coding with Disney Codeillusion
Discover a whole new way to learn with Disney Codeillusion!
- Burning Glass. Beyond Point and Click: The Expanding Demand for Coding Skills. http://www.burning-glass.com/wp-content/uploads/Beyond_Point_Click_final.pdf
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computer and Information Technology Occupations. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
- Pew Research Center. 7 facts about the STEM workforce. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/09/7-facts-about-the-stem-workforce/
- Scientific Reports. Relating Natural Language Aptitude to Individual Differences in Learning Programming Languages. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-60661-8
- Computers in Human Behavior. Exploring children's learning experience in constructionism-based coding activities through design-based research. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563219300184
- Nielsen Report. The Nielsen Total Audience Report 2020. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2020/the-nielsen-total-audience-report-august-2020/