Coding: what is it and what should I know as a parent?

coding for children information for parents

Coding is not new. It has been around since the days of the first computers (and before). However it is a new subject in our schools and one that has become relevant to children only very recently. In the past only a very small number of children played around with coding (or programming as it is also, more accurately, called) and an even smaller number of adults learned it — they went on to work for software companies and similar tech jobs. Programming is however rapidly becoming a skill that goes beyond writing software for other people to use: more and more professions require some knowledge of coding as a basic skill. There is a possibility that most jobs would require coding skills by the time our children are ready for the adult world.

So, what is programming? The short answer is that is a form of communication between humans and computers in which we (humans) tell them (computers) what we want them to do. We already have programs on our computers and phones that allow us to get the computer to do things, but with this software we are limited by whatever the programmers who wrote that software wanted us to do. If we want to go further, we need to write our own programs, and as professions become more specialised, off-the-shelf programs are not likely to be suitable.

Coding is no longer a subject that is relevant only to become a software developer (as it was in the past) in the same way that we want our children to learn and do well in Maths even if they will not become professional mathematicians in the future. Programming requires good problem-solving skills, attention to detail, logical reasoning;