Students: We need coding skills

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura
August 25th, 2014

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 surveyed 1,000 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, 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.’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.

2 Responses to “Students: We need coding skills”

September 24, 2014

Can we issue an edict to the private sector and non-profits to STOP conducting online surveys to determine K-12 feelings about online and technical topics. It seems there is a severe lack of understanding about survey bias in the community.

Does StudyMode offer a statistics primer?

I saw a survey from Dell that was conducted online by Harris about student technology use and at least the offered the clear disclaimer (though often left out of headlines about the results):

This survey was conducted online… This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

I keep reading stories about the need for students to know how to write code. I DO write, and the idea that most students need to know how to do it is absurd. Most will never program. Most will never write html code. For those who want to pursue career in computer science, the need is obvious. Most don’t need it. If fact, from my point of view as a career educator, most do not have the self-discipline to pursue coding. They might believe it’s cool for what it can produce. Most would not do the hard work necessary.