Code is the language of the modern world. Whether it’s apps that bring emails to mobile devices or cars that estimate how many miles you can travel before running out of gas, coding is everywhere! Any smart device needs code instructions for it to operate and communicate with the outside world.
This modern language is so central to business life that the common mantra used by technology experts is that today’s children will need to either learn to code “or get coded”. It is not just hyperbole, AI (artificial intelligence)-powered robots and programs are on course to be so sophisticated that as many as 400 to 800 million jobs are predicted to be technology based by 2030.
With such a shift in marketable capabilities, it is not a surprise to hear that more workers are deciding to learn computer programming, rather than to be coded. Today, there are 23 million programmers in the world and that number will reach almost 28 million within five years time.
A 2016 study by the Information and Communications Technology Council predicts 182,000 skilled information and communications technology (ICT) workers will be needed in 2019, with another 36,000 required in 2020 in Canada.
Being competitive in North America
In North America alone, two million programmers and IT specialists will be needed by 2021. Many companies have become frustrated as they struggle to recruit skilled employees with knowledge of programming and computer science.
Children need the opportunity to learn coding and computer science skills. It's more important for a child to understand how to efficiently learn a coding language then it is to learn a specific coding language. Current and future programmers, need more opportunities to learn and practice coding. The key is to understand how to learn a programming language as the modern employee will need to adapt to an ever-evolving environment. The skills of computational thinking and computational logic (knowing and understanding the similarities between computational languages) are universal skills that not only apply to coding but to problem solving in and out of the workplace. These skills, when nurtured, ensure that those entering the workforce bring competitive skills and competencies.
Careers are becoming more about critical thinking and problem solving. These are skills that can open up a multitude of career paths ranging from working with self-driving cars, revolutionizing the global economy, to optimizing the latest web-applet.
Programming can be rewarding but, not to sound too mercenary, so can the pay. Programmers earn an average of $52,650 across Canada but some provinces have averages closer to $75,000.
Many future jobs are expected to rely on coding skills, and it is of little surprise that education ministries across the world are beginning to start teaching children how to code from a young age. Allowing a longer period to learn and understand coding is quickly becoming dominant in the North American and the world.
Within Canada, only certain provinces have embedded computer science into the local curriculum. Not only do 90% of jobs today require a level of IT skills, by 2020 there will be a predicted skills shortfall representing 2,000,000 skilled IT jobs across the North America. It is critical to learn this new industry language as a means to be competitive in future job markets -both within and outside of the technology industry. Currently, Ontario does not have an embedded computer science curriculum or special considerations for teachers to follow when planning other content in relation to computer science and coding. Although, Ontario does not have an embedded computer science curriculum there are companies that offer non-block-based coding and computer science instruction.
Hatch focuses on teaching and providing coding and computer science instruction at the industry standard - coding through practice, being able to problem solve and create real applications using a coding language. Other online coding platforms i.e. Scratch, focus on block coding. These platforms allow students to create algorithms, but they do not allow children to write in a coding language. Children may struggle when switching to writing code from block coding. Learning programming skills and languages will provide an advantage in the future as young employees enter the workforce.