I spend a lot of time thinking about education and opportunity. I love the idea that education can unlock an excitement for reading a new adventure story, a love of the tuba, or the idea of a whole new career.
Coding, with its problem-solving capability and the allure of becoming the next great video game designer, is a career path that many of our children don’t know exists. As I think about learning to code, I realize that it’s something that I want for my daughter — maybe not that she be the next-gen Halo creator, but that she ‘gets’ how things work in today’s electronic world.
Knowing that, I started looking at what a good coder needs to know, what skills coding requires. In other words, what does my daughter need to know to code?
To figure this out, I checked out what coders themselves have to say about coding. Here are some of the highlights:
- The brain behind DIYGenius.com “thinks of coding as applied math and sciences.”
- The lead engineer and co-founder of the location-based app GonnaBe thinks the value of coding is learning how to use data to drive decisions.
- And, Forbes picked up a piece that originated on Quora by a self-proclaimed geek that says that one of the five prongs of becoming an expert in computer programming is understanding people.
And, one thought from someone who hires coders: Of the five skills that all programmers must master, two are problem solving and critical thinking.
Applied math, applied science, engaging with people, and solving problems. These are some of the building blocks to becoming a great coder. And, here’s where I am a lucky parent. My daughter is currently building the foundation of that block tower. I know that she will be prepared to solve complex problems (and to help me finally win Ms. PacMan) because she is in a quality pre-K program.
Without such a strong start both academically and socially and emotionally, coding becomes out of reach. And, with it, that new career path. I’m thankful that my daughter has had access to quality early childhood education; every child in Arkansas deserves that same chance.
Pre-K does something else, too. By boosting early literacy and Kindergarten readiness for those who need it the most, we have the potential to change the face of coding – to make it more diverse and more representative of our population. By providing the opportunity to learn to every child regardless of family income or location, we give them the foundation to solve problems, to think critically, to look at problems and think up solutions that only their unique point of view could conjure.
Let’s show all Arkansans that we are serious about unlocking this career path. Let’s get serious about making pre-K a priority.