Today’s economy is becoming increasingly dependent on the internet. Skills and jobs related to IT are becoming more and more relevant, but there is still a large number of vacant IT positions. We can no longer ignore the gap between supply and demand, these IT positions needs to be filled.
Private institutions around the world are investing their money and time towards improving coding education. Over the last year, Google has put in more than £1 million to support organizations that teach coding.
There has been a strong push in the private sector to focus on coding initiatives because these initiatives will bring forth the skills gap problem. Industry leaders are expected to start these coding initiatives because the end results are most beneficial to themselves. These companies recognize the importance of coding and they understand how coding changes a student’s future by providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to fill in those positions. When educational institutions do not provide their students with the skills they need, companies will organize worldwide events that expose students to coding.
In addition to large companies, a few governments has begun to mandate programming education in their country’s school curriculum. Formal and structural coding education has been introduced by the New Zealand, the South Korean, the US, and the UK governments. In the UK, for example, the government offered up to £500,000 in matched funding that will be awarded to computing organizations. These organizations must be willing to provide the other half of the funding for projects that would train teachers in delivering the new, tech-oriented computing curriculum. UK businesses will be given the opportunity to bid for a portion of the fund later this month.
The overall idea is for all schools to be equipped to teach the new computing curriculum that will be introduced in September of 2018. The curriculum was designed with input from the Royal Society of Engineering, and from tech industry leaders such as Google and Microsoft. This new funding is part of the UK government’s backing for the UK’s Year of Code, a campaign modelled loosely on the Hour of Code program in the US.
Another example is Estonia, which introduced coding in primary schools a year before the UK in 2012. In Australia, a strong case has been made that the future prosperity of their country will depend on the delivery of advanced services and digital technology. Programming will be essential to that process because computer programs and softwares are strong drivers of productivity improvements in many fields.
Coding is more than just a tool that improves the potential job prospects of students in the future. It was proven that programming is beneficial for the brain. It enhances focus, you can learn more in our article on the benefits of coding
. Understanding how everything around us works will increase a student’s desire to learn how to code.
Of course, not everyone will enjoy the process or pursue a career in information technology after learning to code, but with that said, these reasons should not be an excuse to avoid programming education. After all, subjects like art are taught in schools with no expectation for the students to become artists. Art is taught to help students enhance their creativity and learn to express themselves.
In the US, former president Barack Obama’s bold initiative to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science is an excellent example for other countries to follow. The initiative called for $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million directly for school districts in the forthcoming budget to expand K-12 CS (computer science) by training teachers and expanding access to high-quality instructional materials. There were provisions to help engage CEOs, philanthropists, creative media, technology, and education professionals to deepen their CS commitments. More than 50 organizations committed to this cause.
Some of these initiatives had been extremely successful. Over 40 million people have participated in the Hour of Code initiative since the program began last year. The program runs for a week in December, although events can be held throughout the year. During that week, Vietnam had 26 different hosts, ranging from universities and high schools to private corporations. According to Octavio Heredia, associate director of Arizona State University’s Fulton School of Engineering, “The spirit of the Hour of Code is to attract non-Computer Science or non-technical minded students into computer programming, we see the same issues in Vietnam that we see in the U.S. and across the world, there are not enough computer science graduates to fill the demand from industry.”