By Chrys Zampas
As parents our primary interest is to provide our children with the opportunities to develop any skill they have an interest in. If they like football we send them to football academy, if they like ballet we send them to a dance studio.
We encourage, support and congratulate them in pursuing any interest they may have. But what do we do when our kids show an interest in video games? We attempt to restrict its use and limit their enjoyment.
How about guiding this interest towards the attainment of a productive, essential and tremendously rewarding skill; Programming!
Here are ten reasons why you should consider this.
Maybe it is a little bit early to worry about your kids careers but it most certainly is not too early to think about the skills they will need to develop to help them succeed. Attaining the skills to programme will most certainly equip them for the current and future demands of the work force.
One of the many great benefits of programming is that it may provide you with the ability to remote work. A good programmer may find a job anywhere in the world without the need to relocate, and as such is provided with an abundance of job opportunities and options. Τhere has been a substantial increase in demand for remote work in the past few years, an increase that is expected to grow even more.
Patience and Persistence
A program is just a set of instructions that are run by our computer or mobile device. These devices are very dumb and will do exactly what we instruct them to do. Programmers don’t always get the right instructions, or the algorithm, correct initially. They might need to try again and again. A complex program may have many different obstacles. As a result, programming helps develop the skills of patience and persistence in attaining our goals and succeeding in the end result.
We live in the era of fake news and populism. People have trouble distinguishing what is true and what is false. Critical thinking and logic skills are considered very important and programming can help develop them. Programming will force your kids to break down processes, to understand them and apply them in a structured way.
There is a false assumption – you can blame Hollywood! – that programmers sit in dark offices and work on their own. In reality, computer programming thrives on teamwork. Your kids will learn how to work with others, how to depend on others and, most importantly, they will understand how important it is to be responsible and accountable for your work.
A programmer needs to know how to solve problems. They need to know how to tell the computer how to solve a problem. Some common techniques are finding existing solutions, breaking a problem into smaller, easier to be solved problems and using encapsulation and abstraction techniques.
Learn how to be brave
Programming may teach your kids that taking risks, trying and failing, persisting and succeeding are all important skills to attain. Programming will teach them that failing is a good thing. It will help them try again and again until they get it right.
Programming does not favour certain physical attributes or characteristics. Everybody is equal in front of a screen. Whether you are a boy or a girl, tall, short, weak or strong makes no difference. No pre-existing talents and attributes are needed to be a good programmer.
Another myth is that kids who use computers are anti-social. Kids who learn programming will not stare at a screen all day. They will work together in projects, learn how to collaborate and understand that all members of a team are equal, important, and necessary in accomplishing the goal.
Be innovate and become creative
There isn’t a single way to get something correct in programming. There is always more than one way of doing something. The kids will learn how to innovate, use their imaginations, be creative and apply new solutions.
Programming can be a very fun activity. Your kids might not become the next Linus Torvalds – creator of the Linux operating system – but they will have a great time and almost certainly improve many skills.
Chrys Zampas teaches programming and creative computing at “Geek Kids”. For more details about the course call 22351045.