In today’s world, STEM skills are in higher demand than ever before. We look to educators to train and prepare the next generation of engineers, inventors, and makers–often introducing students to these concepts at a very young age. This is especially the case when it comes to computer science. From Hour of Code to after-school or weekend coding camps, there are countless opportunities for students to get involved in coding and build a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.
We largely think of coding and computer science as a standalone industry today. There’s a general belief that teaching students to code will set them on a journey towards a prestigious career at a big tech company, or maybe even as founders of the next Google or Facebook. But aside from a small handful of outliers, a majority of students will not find themselves on this path. Why? Because they’re simply not interested in pursuing these types of careers, and trying to convince them that they should be is a challenge in itself.
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Redefining what ‘code’ means today
To combat this mentality, we need to rethink the way we understand and approach computer science education. The value of teaching computer science for students early on is not to inspire them to get a degree in the field or work at Google (though that’s certainly not a bad outcome). Instead, it’s about teaching students that almost every career of tomorrow’s world will involve encountering or manipulating code in some way. Whether they grow up to be a lawyer, teacher, artist or marketing executive, knowing how to create and work with code will be as indispensable as being able to create a PowerPoint presentation or even write an email.