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Students: We need coding skills

Students: We need coding skills

Learning to code and using coding skills appear to be some of students’ top goals

code-codingA new report reveals that 59 percent of students who do not know how to code would like to learn, while just 23 percent of students actually know how to code.

The survey from StudyMode.com surveyed 1,000 StudyMode.com student members, ranging from K-12 to graduate school, to learn more about students’ computer programming skills.

Sixty-one percent of students said they believe coding skills will give them a competitive advantage in the job hunt.

According to Code.org, students have created more than 2 billion lines of code, and 40.5 million students have tried the “Hour of Code,” a movement that encourages every student to explore coding and computer programming for at least an hour.

Computer science fields, including coding and computer programming, are some of the fastest-growing field. States are recognizing this, and in an effort to attract and sustain student interest in computer science, many are introducing legislation that would count Advanced Placement computer science courses toward graduation requirements.

Code.org’s efforts appear to be paying off. According to the site, computer science was the fastest-growing Advanced Placement course in 2014.

Just 23 percent of all students surveyed said they know at least one coding or computer programming language, and when only high school students’ responses are examined, that number drops to 20 percent.

Of students who do not know how to code, 59 percent said they want to learn how but have not had the chance. Thirty percent said they’re not interested in learning, and 8 percent said they tried to code but thought it was too hard.

When it comes to the 23 percent of students who do know how to code, 54 percent learned in school, and 30 percent taught themselves.

But students seem to agree that coding skills are part of future resume requirements. Sixty-seven percent think that by the time they’ve finished school, some or almost all jobs will require coding skills, 37 percent said it’s somewhat or very likely their future jobs will require coding, 32 percent said it is somewhat or very unlikely, and 30 percent were undecided.

Survey responses revealed a gaping gender disparity, however: 31 percent of male students said they know how to code, compared to only 18 percent of female students.

Indeed, coding and computer science still struggle to attract women. A September 2013 Census report revealed that men are employed in STEM positions twice as often as women.

Fifty-nine percent of students said they learned how to code between ages 11-18, and 30 percent learned at age 19 or older. Five percent said they learned how to code at age 7 or younger.

Fifty-one percent of students who know how to code said they learned to do so because they enjoy it.

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