How Coding is Setting Kids up for Success

In today’s hyper-connected and data-driven world, there’s no denying the need – and the demand – for high-tech skills.

Not surprisingly, businesses, governments, non-profits and schools alike are turning their attention to science, math and computer science. They’re looking for individuals with coding and programming skills. And they’re pushing for education to begin at younger and younger ages – even as early as six years old.

 

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Young-jun Lee from Korea explains the app he developed to young coders from the US and Argentina, who were invited to the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco last April.

 

As our world’s digital transformation continues, will coding become as ubiquitous in schools as reading, writing and arithmetic? We’ll have to wait and see. But one thing is certain: the momentum for introducing children to coding is growing rapidly and the field is bright with upside.

 

A Growing Demand

Today, more and more jobs not only indicate a preference for computing knowledge and coding skills, but require it. In fact, programming jobs are now growing 12% faster than the rest of the job market, with millions of openings worldwide. Interestingly, computer science is now outpacing even other subject areas within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields with nearly three-quarters of all new STEM jobs today in computing.

 

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Children in Austria learn about app programming in a mobile classroom. The Samsung school bus will visit 11 cities this summer with software tutors from Graz University of Technology.

 

What’s more, these jobs and the coding skills behind them represent a pathway to a brighter future. Would you believe that jobs requiring coding skills pay $22,000 per year more than jobs that don’t?  And the benefits are more than monetary. Such technology-based learning can inspire the combination of critical thinking and creativity needed to solve complex issues, as well as launch innovative businesses and bring new industries to life.

 

Bridging the Digital Divide

To meet the growing demand for high-tech skills, we’re seeing a multiplication of tools, programs and methods to encourage the development of these critical skills. In Hong Kong, for example, children as young as six years old are learning to code. And resourceful parents are finding new ways to teach their young children using websites, gaming apps, puzzles and visual programming languages designed specifically for youngsters.

 

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Children from Poland participate in the EU Code Week held in Brussels last October. The initiative, supported by Samsung, promotes the education of coding and computational thinking.

 

But what about children that don’t have access these resources? To help level the playing field, we’re also seeing non-profits and businesses teaming up to meet this need. Many of these programs have a deliberate emphasis on closing the digital divide – on reaching new audiences, such as children from low-income and minority families.

 

Samsung’s Efforts

Samsung Electronics is also committed to advancing STEM and instilling computing and tech skills at a young age, regardless of background or country of origin.

For years, Samsung has supported a myriad of STEM initiatives in both the developed and developing worlds. For example, the Samsung Engineering Academy, has been helping young people in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa begin careers in the electronics and engineering job fields while Samsung Smart School is helping to improve education opportunities for disadvantaged students by bridging the IT accessibility gap in classrooms.

 

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Students from around the world were invited to the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco last April to present their app ideas and meet with professional developers.

 

Samsung is also actively advancing coding and computing skills at the global level. The company organizes Mobile App Academies around the world and participates in a variety of coding initiatives, such as the EU Code Week in Europe. Samsung has partnered with the European Coding Initiative to promote computational thinking and actively supports the micro:bit initiative, a program distributing a small codeable computer free-of-charge to 1 million children across the UK to inspire a new generation of creative tech pioneers.

 

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Samsung UK employee Rohit Ail demonstrates micro:bit – a codeable computer being distributed to UK children – at the BETT educational trade show in London last January.

 

These initiatives are just a small component of the increasing focus on setting kids up for success by teaching them technology skills. And while it’s an exciting trend to watch, we also look forward to seeing how businesses, non-profits and educators alike can help level the playing field by bringing technology education to a greater number of young people globally.