What “coding” actually means
Simply put, programming, or “coding”, is one’s ability to issue specific commands to a computer, from the most basic functions that the machine’s hardware can perform to implementing complex problem solving algorithms.
No industry can prosper without evolving, therefore integrating complex computing solutions is just as necessary as high quality, productive equipment. Having even basic knowledge of programming expands one’s ability to accomplish what he needs in order to get the job done.
Is programming for everyone?
Obviously, not all people have a talent for programming, nor do they have a need for it. For example, a farmer will never consider programming as a requirement when hiring someone to help him with the crops, but he might need some computer familiarity to post the job offering on a website and even a little more knowledge to implement, let’s say, an automated watering system for his fields.
Thanks to the advancements in technology, chores that were better suited for humans could soon be handled via AI or remote control. Systems for unmanned tractors and other farm vehicles are already in advanced development stages, reducing the personnel needed to operate large agricultural complexes, and proving that no matter the situation, computing solutions are helping people work efficiently and allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
How to encourage those who want to learn
The best places to start are obvious: at home and in schools. Programming is not just learning how to issue orders to a circuit board, it’s learning how to solve problems. Children should be taught simple and user-friendly languages (such as Python, Perl or Visual Basic) in schools, at an early age, and then advance to more complex languages like C, C++, C#. With basic and even advanced programming courses being introduced at an early age, children gain the advantage of having complex problem solving skills become second nature in their adult life.
While generation X witnessed technology evolve around them, today’s children have an even greater advantage of living in a world where mature and complete IT solutions are available in mere seconds.
As we grow, so do our needs, so what do you do when your needs have no satisfying solution? You build on the foundation that others have laid before you, you use the skills that you’ve cultivated to solve the problems you encounter, to determine what you need, and to get it. I believe that this is something that should be taught to future generations.
If your children shows promise and willingness to learn, why allow them to limit their imagination to what can be seen in a video game – when you could encourage them to build their own game. Instead of getting a child the latest craze on X-box, get him a Raspberry Pi and give him the tools to build his own future. Make a game of it, and pick up an extra skill along with your child if you want to. Who knows when and where you’ll find it useful. While professions are replaced day by day by computers and industrial robots, a good coder will always have a future.