Can we close the future skills gap by teaching kids coding now?
The future is now.
That’s what schools and other educational service providers should assume as they plan their curriculum and student outcomes.
The rate of technological change and innovation has been rapidly accelerating over the past few decades and it is expected to continue as advancements in topics including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics 3D printing, genetics and more are expected to build upon and amplify one another. As a result, employers are having trouble finding qualified workers for their high-tech positions.
A Deloitte report estimated that “the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion.”
According to the Deloitte report, the top five skills needed to bridge the skills gap are:
- Technology/computer skills
- Digital skills
- Programming skills for robots/automation
- Working with tools and technology
- Critical thinking skills
Additionally, the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is already happening. Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other emerging technologies are quickly changing the job market.
Now that computers can respond to human speech, steer trucks and assist in surgical procedures, the humans that typically filled those jobs may not be as essential in the future. But the economy will need people to maintain the machines and develop new ones.
While AI is expected to replace many jobs that humans currently complete, at least 133 million new roles will be generated to manage AI, according to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report.
The skills gap is only expected to grow wider
Companies are struggling with the lack of qualified workers now — but they’re even more concerned about how much the skills gap could widen in the future.
Up to 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been invented.
The figure was published by Dell Technologies in a report authored by the Institute for the Future and a panel of 20 tech, business and academic experts from around the world.
So how do we prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet? We obviously can’t teach students how to use technology that has not yet been invented, but we can teach them how to learn technology as soon as it is introduced.
“The pace of change will be so rapid that people will learn ‘in the moment’ using new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than the knowledge itself,” Dell Technologies said in the report.
Teaching kids at a young age to code and program is one of the best ways to help them learn any new skill their future career may demand.
3 ways coding helps kids prepare for any job of the future
1. Coding helps kids develop a personal relationship with technology
“We’re entering the next era of human-machine partnership, a more integrated, personal relationship with technology that has the power to amplify exponentially the creativity, inspiration, intelligence and curiosity of the human spirit,” said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies.
Coding is ingrained in our everyday lives, even if we don’t realize it. When you’re scrolling through Instagram, playing Fortnite on your PlayStation or commuting in your new car, you’re interacting with code that a team of programmers have spent years developing.
Even if a student isn’t interested in learning to code as a career, understanding the digital processes that make up their everyday life will help them see the world through a new lens.
For example: If a student who loves Minecraft takes an introductory Java course, they will see the foundational blocks on which the game is built. That knowledge will help expand their imagination of what is possible to create in the future.
2. Coding introduces kids to logical thinking
Coding teaches students to complete tasks using a methodical and logic-heavy approach. Every language on the most basic level consists of assigning a computer to complete tasks in a sequence.
Coding can help people approach a situation from a new perspective and break down problems into separate parts to figure out how each piece is affecting the others.
Programming languages will evolve over time — some will be retired and eventually replaced by new languages that don’t yet exist. However, the logic required to master a coding language can be applied to the ones of the future. Learning coding now will help students learn new languages in the future.
3. Coding develops confidence
Imagine spending hours typing lines of what appear to be gibberish into a text composer on your computer. Then, when you save your work and hit “run” — the app or game you just built comes to life exactly as you dreamed it would.
When a student realizes they have the potential to execute something complex, they feel both excited and empowered. That confidence can be applied in both professional and personal life.
How to introduce kids to coding
While experts are encouraging schools to prepare students for the tech-driven future, the U.S. education system is not set up to keep pace with how quickly technology is changing. The emphasis in many schools is making sure students are prepared for standardized tests, which are based on curriculum standards set by states.
It can take years for lawmakers to adapt new standards, and just as long for schools to begin implementing the aligned lessons in their classrooms. (Many experts believe the rigid and slow-to-evolve education system is one of the primary causes of the skills gap).
That leaves it up to parents and enrichment providers to address the skills gap. Parents with time to spare can find excellent coding resources online for their kids.
But many parents are already at a breaking point because of the pandemic and remote learning, attempting to balance their full-time job duties with the new role of online teacher for their child. Enrichment providers like KidzToPros offer a solution with online, accessible and engaging programs.
KidzToPros Online Coding & Game Design Courses
KidzToPros, a leading provider of education and enrichment since 2016, now offers one- and two-week Online Coding & Game Design programs.
The courses use engaging projects involving games, apps and robots to prepare them for high-demand careers.
Although each course is taught online, students interact with a live instructor. Class sizes are limited to just 5 students, which allows for both personalized attention and the chance to practice collaboration and teamwork skills.
Courses of varying complexity are available for students in Grades 2-12 beginning October 19.
Enroll today to take advantage of the KidzToPros Back-to-School Special at kidztopros.com.