Calling All Schools: Time To Teach Code

We all love to hear stories about entrepreneurs who start with little more than an idea and go on to create successful businesses. Such stories capture the imagination and provide encouragement for others to follow their own entrepreneurial dreams.

We hear stories of success from the media and, more recently, from a culture obsessed with the potential of the digital world to create wealth.

Recent accounts of entrepreneurial success come in the form of a young person, most likely still at school, who develops an app and sells it for many millions to a large technology company.

Stories like this are attractive and yet can fool us into thinking that the next generation of young people will automatically have the skills to develop such products.

There is no doubt that the digital world presents huge opportunities but so far the success stories have been the exception rather than the rule.

They have been the exception because the computer coding skills needed to succeed are not taught in our schools and those individuals who have mastered them have done so on their own outside the education system.

This is an extraordinary situation given the emphasis placed by governments, politicians and business leaders on the need to prepare young people for the digital economy.

It is also extraordinary because there is little attempt to teach computer coding skills in our schools, which is surprising as children are being educated for a digital world where we are told the ability to code is ‘king’.

Yet, there is hope in the form of an exceptional entrepreneur: this time, a social entrepreneur. James Whelton started CoderDojo in 2011, as a way to teach young people to code and develop apps, programmes and games.

CoderDojo is a not-for-profit volunteer based club that has grown in just a couple of years to now being delivered in 22 countries around the world. Its success is acknowledged and growing to meet the demand from young people who don’t want to be left behind.

However, back in our schools we continue to educate our children in the traditional way, without teaching them the basic language of the digital age.

SO, given that the digital economy will determine our future success it is time for our schools to teach coding as a core part of the curriculum.

What do you think? Can you code? Can your children code? Get in touch, we would love to hear your views contact Nick on 028 8224 9494 or via Twitter @nick_oec.