Coding is good, but not everything!

December 8, 2017

 

In recent years there has been a growing emphasis on the benefits of children learning how to code, especially as we rely on computers and technology more in our day to day lives.  There has been an increase in coding clubs and initiatives such as 'an hour of code', all with the aim of encouraging kids to code and helping them understand its importance.

 

However, the problem with such emphasis on coding, means there is a misconception that coding itself is a suitable replacement for learning core sciences like computing and maths.  Parents, this is simply not the case and in this article we hope to show you why.  

 

Coding Is A Language Subject To Change

 

It is important you understand that rather than being a standard, coding is just a language used to program computers and other devices.  Not only that, it is one that is subject to change.  Therefore, when coding in its current form evolves and progresses, just as the devices and computers it is used to program evolve, the coding language your children learned will be replaced by a different language and it could even become obsolete.  

 

This is why it is much better to not only learn how to code, but to understand the principles behind the actual coding, regardless of the language used.  Then, rather than knowing how to write a specific code, they will know how to formulate their own code.

 

Coding Is Just A Small Part Of Computer Science

 

Coding in itself is actually only a small part of what is known as Computer Science.  An article published on in the TES (Times Educational Supplement) by Shaun Eason, stated that there was more to computer science than just coding.  Computer Science is the study of computers algorithmic processes and the principles involved, their software and hardware designs; along with their applications and impact on our modern world.

 

Therefore, the  subject known as Computer Science actually involves:

 

  • Algorithms

  • Data structures

  • Computer architecture

  • Human computer interaction

  • Databases

  • Networks

  • Graphics

  • Impact on society

  • Theory of computation

  • Operating systems

  • Artificial Intelligence/Robotics, and

  • Programming – coding

 

Coding Can Lead To Narrow Career Options

 

It’s great if your child is learning how to code, we can’t deny that fact.  However, as shown by the paragraph above, coding only accounts for a relatively small part of computer science.  It is an important part, there is no doubt about that; but when the focus is just on coding, it means they are only learning a limited number of skills and forsaking the value of computer science as a all-encompassing subject.  It could mean that they never develop their knowledge and understanding far enough in other areas of computer science, which in turn would make them less versatile and far less employable.

 

No-one is saying that coding is not important.  What we hope you understand is that the importance of coding should be kept in perspective and that ultimately, if you want your children to grow up with usable, versatile skills suitable for modern workplaces and employers - they still need to study and learn from the wider subject of computer science.  

 

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