5 reasons students should learn to code (that aren’t about jobs)

Christie McMonigal
Mar 7, 2018 · 5 min read

Learn about the world we live in

The majority of high school students have their own smart phone, and more and more are rating the internet as a very important part of their lives. Students live in a world of computers, and so it makes sense that they should learn at least the basics of how these devices work. Learning to code helps them to understand the digital world.

Learning to fail

Debugging is a vital skill all programmers learn. It is an accepted part of the software development process.

Sanity Checks

Learning to stop and assess the outcomes of their calculations is something many students struggle with. They seem to have an almost blind faith in technology: ‘if the calculator says 10, then the answer is 10’ — never mind that there could have been a multitude of errors in the lead up to typing the actual numbers in the calculator.

Efficiency powers

When debugging and reviewing old code students will quickly learn that a simple and elegant program is much easier to decipher than a complicated one. Introducing concepts like for loops, for example, further helps students recognise the value in keeping things simple and optimising their solutions to be more efficient and generalisable across situations, rather than taking a complicated brute-force approach every time.

Variety is the spice of life

By opening their eyes to the world of programming, we can show students the incredible variety of opportunities available. We can show them that they don’t have to be completely focused on tech, and only tech, to enjoy using it. Our annual web design competition, Web.Comp, is great for demonstrating to students that an interest in art and design can be explored via technology and coding. Similarly, programming a chatbot offers fascinating insights into human languages and linguistics.

Grok Learning

Articles about coding by the team at Grok Learning & teacher friends.

Thanks to Jane Abrams and Ben Taylor.

Christie McMonigal

Written by

Science communicator with a keen interest in all things STEM.

Grok Learning

Articles about coding by the team at Grok Learning & teacher friends.