Should your child learn programming as a hobby?
It’s no secret that hobbies and extracurricular activities are important for your child’s growth. Whether it’s sports, music or cooking, extracurricular activities help build and develop essential skills in children.
In recent years, programming has become one of the more popular hobbies among young people. Also known as coding, programming is a way of getting computers to perform a series of activities to achieve the desired outcome. It’s also a form of education that enables students to learn how computers and mobile electronic devices perform necessary tasks.
But you might be wondering: why should your child learn programming as a hobby? Besides being educational and fun, learning and applying programming languages also teaches children about problem-solving, creative thinking and lots more. But the answer is best summarised in the words of Stephen Hawking: “Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.”
Here are a few more key reasons why your child should consider learning how to program.
Cultivating logical and mathematical skills
All students learn the principles of mathematics in school, but only in a theoretical sense. With programming however, they would be able to apply many of these mathematical concepts in practice.
This helps strengthen their knowledge of applied Mathematics. Abstract concepts gradually become concrete in their minds. With regular programming practice, their recall of mathematical principles will also become better over time.
Step-by-step logical thinking is another important part of coding. This teaches your child to break down problems into small chunks and take steps to resolve them, which is a valuable skill that can be applied to all areas of their lives.
The value of persistence
Successful programming is about solving problems and discovering ways to achieve objectives. Part of the work done by programmers involves finding out how they can get from point A to point B in an optimal manner, which often requires many attempts to get it right.
What your child can learn from this is persistence. Solving programming problems isn’t always easy, and solutions might involve regular tests for hours or even days. The act of trying again and again until they get a satisfactory outcome builds tenacity in the long run.
Instead of being discouraged, they will learn to keep going until they are rewarded, gaining the valuable lesson that making mistakes does not necessarily mean failure.
Nurturing critical thinking skills
Programming inherently teaches analytical thinking. Challenges in programming don’t always have the perfect solution, so your child must understand the task and find ways to approach it. By doing so, they will learn to analyse a problem and look for methods to overcome it in the best way possible.
Programming also imparts the ability to think critically. Children will learn to evaluate existing patterns to see how they work and then think of solutions to make them more efficient. As Steve Jobs once said that everyone should learn how to program, “because it teaches you how to think.”
At this point, you may think that learning programming is quite a serious and intense task. On the contrary however, programming can be a fun and creative activity if one embraces it fully.
Programming develops a creative mindset by encouraging flexibility. Your child will learn that there are many acceptable ways to find a solution, simply by having to think out of the box. Many programmers have become extremely successful because of their unconventional approach to problem-solving.
Often, programming classes for children also demonstrate how to write code in order to create computer games and animations. These activities make it fun and exciting for students, as it promises a tangible reward and a sense of accomplishment for their efforts.
The world around us is changing rapidly. The digital revolution has already affected every aspect of our life, from the way we work, play and travel to a host of other aspects.
When children learn to program, they can stay on top of these changes. They will understand the potential and possibilities of the internet and figure out how to take advantage of them.
Digital literacy will give them the confidence to face the future and ride the next wave. This is why Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, calls coding “the fourth literacy” after reading, writing and arithmetic.
Knowledge of coding will give your child an edge in many ways, but if they express particular interest in it, that’s good news; programming courses for university are plentiful and accessible, and graduates are spoiled for choice when they begin their careers. Even if your child decides to shift away from coding after a brief phase, their past experience in programming languages can still be mentioned in internship and job applications to help them stand out against the competition.
Many students who shine at programming eventually turn it into a satisfying career. Employers in other professions also look at coding as a valuable skill. As Bill Gates once commented, learning to write programs stretches the mind and helps you to think better. It creates a way of thinking about things that is helpful in all domains.
At Geniebook, we know all about the value of learning new skills in the digital age. That’s why our AI-powered tutorials and lessons are designed to empower children to perform at their best. Find out more here, or get in touch with us today.