Why Learning to Code Should Be a Basic Life Skill

James Hernandez

Updated Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 7:12 AM CDT

Why Learning to Code Should Be a Basic Life Skill

The Flawed Policy Objective

The policy objective of "everyone should learn to code" in the USA and India is considered flawed and ineffective. While the intention behind this initiative is to democratize access to technology and empower individuals with valuable skills, it overlooks the fact that not everyone is naturally inclined towards coding. Coding requires a specific set of skills, including exceptional organization and efficiency, which not everyone possesses.

The prevalence of subpar software is a testament to the fact that not everyone is suited for coding. Intelligence alone does not determine coding ability; organization and understanding are crucial. Therefore, pushing everyone to learn to code can lead to frustration and suboptimal outcomes, both for individuals and the tech industry as a whole.

The Importance of Basic Computer Literacy

Despite the challenges, understanding how computers work and fundamental programming concepts is deemed essential, even if one does not pursue a career in software development. Basic computer literacy, including programming, is important for understanding and interacting with everyday technology. In the future, every aspect of life will be influenced by machine learning, making it important for the public to have a basic understanding of it.

Learning basic programming is likened to learning geometry, which builds spatial reasoning and logic skills. Just as geometry is not only about shapes but also about logical thinking and problem-solving, coding teaches valuable skills that go beyond writing code. These skills are essential for navigating the modern, digital world.

Trade Schools and Alternative Training

Trade schools or other forms of training might be more suitable for many people than learning to code or attending college. Not everyone needs to become a software developer, but everyone can benefit from understanding the basics of technology. Trade schools can offer specialized training that aligns with an individual's strengths and interests, providing a more effective path to a successful career.

Even if coding is not used daily, it should be learned for the same reason math or science is required: to understand the modern, digital world. Mastering every skill is impossible, but learning the basics of programming is beneficial. It equips individuals with a high-level understanding of technology, enabling them to make informed decisions and engage with the digital world more effectively.

Coding as a Fundamental Skill

The first lesson in programming is logic, which is useful for everyone in their daily lives. Knowledge of logic can help balance emotional decision-making in daily life. Coding is compared to learning a language, emphasizing the skills of organization, understanding, problem-solving, and reviewing. These skills are not only valuable in the workplace but also in everyday life.

Some schools allow coding to replace subjects like languages, history, or geography. While this may seem controversial, it highlights the growing recognition of coding as a fundamental skill. Coding education is believed to equip students with essential workplace skills, preparing them for a future where technology plays a central role in almost every industry.

Machine Learning in High School

Machine learning concepts should be taught in high school to help students understand the world around them. As machine learning continues to shape various aspects of life, from healthcare to finance, having a basic understanding of these concepts is crucial. It enables individuals to comprehend the technology they interact with daily and to critically evaluate its impact on society.

While the policy objective of "everyone should learn to code" may be flawed, the importance of basic computer literacy and understanding fundamental programming concepts cannot be overstated. By integrating coding education into the curriculum and offering alternative training paths, we can equip individuals with the skills they need to thrive in a digital world.

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