“Do you speak code? One new European Language” is the slogan of the new Microsoft advertisement that informs us about a significant change in the skills that someone needs in order to be considered competitive in the job market. Language knowing changes meaning and content, as the sufficient knowledge of languages- of programming now- is proved to be a necessary requirement to correspond to the future completely digitalized economy.
Many European countries have already included in their educational system programming aiming at preparing the new generation of citizens. According to a report from the NGO European Schoolnet, that collected data from 31 ministries of education in Europe, coding learning is included in the curriculum of the following countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and United Kingdom. In 2016 Finland and Belgium are going to be added to this list.
But of course, all these countries don’t use a standardized method of programming teaching. Portugal and Poland, for example, are preparing to include programming as an independent lesson in the curriculum of the first school years. In other countries, familiarization with the basic concepts of code is part of another broader lesson, such as math or physics.
Regardless the teaching method, everyone faces the same challenges. Most of the educational policymaking directors are concerned with how they are going to adjust programming to the abilities of every age. Moreover, the discussion revolves around the encouragement of girls to start loving working with code, provided that the underrepresentation of women in the fields of IT and communication is really intense today. Finally, the training of the educators that will teach these lessons raises concerns, too. Australia is a remarkable example, as code teaching there has been designed in many creative ways. Programming is oriented towards all students, but is based on the needs of each age, whereas many programming courses are also being organized for social groups with deficient present on the IT field.
Focused on the fun part of programming is the new initiative of Microsoft Hellas, too. From 2nd until 18th of December, students from primary and secondary schools are able to take part in the experimential workshops Microsoft Adventure Coding Class, that are being organized in the framework of the international campaign “Hour of Code” in cooperation with Code.org.
The members of Code it Like a Girl are going to be there to guide children in practicing their digital skills. All workshops’ sessions are going to be interactive and they will learn using games, like the popular one Minecraft!
Code it Like a Girl being faithful on the vision of equipping the new generation – and especially young women- with the suitable technological skills, invites children to attend “An Hour of Code” giving them the opportunity to put their creativity and critical thinking into practice.
In addition, for two continuing weekends, from Saturday the 12th of December until Sunday the 20th of December, Microsoft Adventure Coding Class will be attended by children over the age of 8 that want to test their skills on programming with their parents.
But, why is programming so important for our life? Is there a chance that all these is “Much ado about nothing” and anyone that wants to pursuit a career in technology can just choose related studies after school? The answer is no. Knowing how to code is essential for everyone -at a basic level, at least- for the following reasons:
The workforce is not enough: According to the European Commissioner for Digital Economy, Günther Oettinger, 900.000 empty vacancies will be created in the upcoming years because there won’t exist enough people with the suitable skills to fill them.
Programming does concern all fields of expertise: And if not all, then for sure the majority of them. It is being calculated that 90% of jobs in the future will require code knowledge. This means that programming will “intrude” in fields like agriculture, archeology, architecture, linguistics and many others.
In the end, it is not just a skill, but a completed way of thinking: As Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, used to say: “programming is good, because it teaches you how to think” Indeed, it has been proved that it contributes in the problem solving ability, in human’s behavior understanding, while at the same time develops logic.
Try it then! One hour is enough to change your view on programming!
Written by Marianna Lazarou
Translated by Maria Piskiouli