Firstly, what is coding? In layman term, it is using a computer language to tell the computer to perform certain actions. It is just like using foreign language to ask the husband to get milk or bread from the grocery store. At the core of these 2 scenarios, they have something in common - to provide convenience for oneself. In fact, such convenience can be seen on one particular device way before the invention of the smartphone, that is calculator. Yes, don't be surprised that it is a computer. Internally, calculator uses a microprocessor to do mathematical calculations and then display the results on the small little screen to the end user.
Over the years, engineers have successfully created more powerful microprocessors. These kinds of microprocessors are already in our everyday lives. In fact, you are probably reading this article using a computer or a smartphone, and both of these devices are probably using microprocessors from Intel (Core Processors) or Qualcomm (Snapdragon). Sounds familiar?
Of course, the capability of such microprocessors are much higher than that of a basic calculator and this allows computers to do so much more other than basic mathematical calculations. This is where coding comes into play to fully utilize the extra capability given. Someone would need to provide necessary instructions in the form of a programming language through coding, in order for the computer to do what you want it to do.
With the invention of the smartphone, particularly iPhone with iOS or Android phone, the technology scene has changed forever. With smartphones and tablets are getting more affordable, accessibility to a capable computer is now within the grasp of your hands, literally. Some older generation consumers that are computer illiterate initially have also became more proactive in using these portable computers and thus, increasing their experience and computer literacy. In fact, sometimes you can see this "uncle" or that "aunty" discussing about which application is good to use. Have you seen uncles and aunties using Waze to get directions or using Grab to catch a ride? I know I have.
So, as the digital age continues on and blossom further, it is important for the consumers to know more about technology instead of blindly consuming it, especially the younger generation consumers. Since it is very possible that one day in the future, they will have to make use of their coding skills as common as how the people these days make use of their driving skills. Barack Obama, the former President of the United States has said this before:
"As I've always said, this country is at its best when we lift each other up and make sure that we're extending opportunity to everybody. I strongly believe every child has to have the opportunity to learn this critical skill. We are inundated with technology and I don't want our young people to just be consumers, I want them to be producers of this technology and to understand it, to feel they're controlling it, as opposed to it controlling them." - Barack Obama (Mejia 2017).
So, let your children learn this vital skill and experience it today. Let them enjoy it and eventually have it contribute back to their own lives and possibly even to the society by creating something useful.
+ Mejia, Zameena. 2017. "Here's how Barack Obama just surprised hundreds of kids who are learning to code." CNBC LLC. September 19. Accessed April 02, 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/19/barack-obama-just-surprised-hundreds-of-kids-who-are-learning-to-code.html
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