Here it is again, the ol’ c-word. Coding. You’re probably sick to the back teeth of us continually harping on about how an ability to code is awesome/important/lucrative. But it IS awesome/important/lucrative, darn it.
We’re just as irked as you are by the fact that we didn’t act on our enthusiasm for The Matrix back in the day. The good news is that change is afoot: George Osborne proclaimed a couple of months ago that coding will be taught in schools from 2014. Naysayers better believe; it’s afoot for actual real.
If, however, you still feel that coding is an arcane and irrelevant art and wish that we’d hurry up and put a sock in it and return to delivering cat GIFs, we beseech you to give us one more chance to change your mind. Here’s what our crack panel of CEOs and hiring managers think about coding entering the curriculum.
CODING AS A HUMAN LANGUAGE
Tiago Mateus, COO of Sooqini:“A lot of new jobs and growth is coming from the Internet and mobile space. For Britain’s young workforce to remain competitive there should be external support that invests in them at an early age. “Coding is all about learning a language. We learn to write at a young age but few us go on to be world class authors – but we still all have a basic level of literacy. I believe the same should be true of coding. Some will go on to be coding ninjas others will need it just to understand how the world works. “Having these skills will be important to Britain’s young labour force as more products and services become digital.”
Mehdi Nayebi, Founder of KweekWeek:“Coding is in my opinion even more important than a foreign language.”
Takeaway: the myth that coding is an arcane art, preserved for those with a daylight allergy, needs to be dispelled. It’s a practical skill and a cornerstone of 21st-century communication. Who needs French anyway?
EARLY EXPOSURE AS A NECESSITY
Helene Mark, Head of HR at Football Radar“It’s great that pupils can learn it at an early stage. I am not sure though that coding is for everyone – I am a fan of letting children choose the courses they like and are good at.”
Takeaway: obviously kids need to be given the chance to decide whether or not coding is their cup of tea. The sooner the better – the likelihood of this epiphany dwindles with time; especially if the only exposure to it is a blog post on a job site when school is but a distant memory.
CODING AS PART OF A WIDER NOUVEAU SKILLSET
Ian Baron, CEO of Thumbtags:“My first big concern is that they started writing the curriculum last year for 2014. Everything is changing very quickly and the education system is too slow to adapt. “Secondly, education is failing the next generation being geared towards getting A’s in subjects that will never be used after school and uni. Areas such as entrepreneurship, app development, marketing, networking need to be pushed more. Schools should have inspiring business leaders, mentors and entrepreneurs speaking and teaching.”
Takeaway: we can’t rely on formal education to satisfy the needs of industry – at least until the dawn of the inevitable educational revolution (you heard it here first).
ACTION PLAN: Fortunately, learning to code isn’t restricted to the realm of the classroom. We’re running a competition with the splendid Makers Academy, giving you the chance to push to the front of the queue on their insanely popular and oversubscribed 12-week intensive contact course, which comes with the bells and whistles of rosy job prospects upon completion. Or you can try one of these on for size:
Code Academy – teach yourself the basics online
Code School – same principle as Code Academy, with clear “paths” to meet your needs and desires
Code First – ladies, this means you
Coursera – structured online learning with bona fide universities… for beautiful free
THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE
Jamie Waldegrave, CFO of Footfall123:“It’s good that the government are taking the issue of the lack of developers seriously as it’s very hard to recruit. It’s a longer term plan though – in the short term we also need to make it easier for skilled people to move to this country to help build the tech scene here. “The good news is it’s a virtuous circle; more success in the tech industry will make these skills more visible and sought after, which will make coding more attractive to people in schools.”
Dan Garraway, Co-Founder of wireWAX:“Great developers are only going to be more in demand and frankly, the market is too expensive to allow the level of innovation we need at grass roots.”
Takeaway: a prime example of our favourite catch 22, and somewhat out of our hands. Lets see what the Home Office and Department for Education come up regarding the immediate needs of the UK’s burgeoning realm of tech.
More useful things to help you on your way to greatness:
By Corissa Nunn, European Development at Enternships