Should everyone learn to program?

Should everyone learn to program?  This question has been posed in many news and blog posts recently.  Given the reach of technology in today's world and the tech sector boom, it isn't a far leap to come to this question.  There have been arguments for and against the idea.  Some people argue that everyone should understand a little about the technology that we use every day.  Others argue that there is no need for everyone to learn it and the idea is silly.  Should my Mom learn to program?  I doubt it.

But here are the important questions that should be asked instead.  Should our kids learn programming?  Yes!  Should all middle and high-school level students learn about computer programming at some point?  Yes!  But do they all need to become programmers and enroll in Computer Science in college?  No!  (But we hope many of them do.)

We are giving them the tools to see possibilities.

Students who learn computer programming today are learning structured thinking and problem solving while using new tools that they probably wouldn't see anywhere else.  We are not simply asking them to memorize programming rules.  We are giving them the tools to see possibilities.  They don't have to become professional software developers to understand what can be done.  They just need some experience with putting the pieces together and understanding what the tools can do.  And then the light bulb might go on and inspiration can happen.  Plus it's fun!  And when we play we often come up with new ideas.

Computer programming touches so many professional fields today that no matter which direction a student wishes to explore, the skills developed and tried at Start Code will help.  Whether a student is interested in biology, music, aerospace, business, art, engineering, multimedia, or technology, it doesn't matter.  All of these fields and so many others are being changed and revolutionized by computer programming in a myriad of ways.  And if they understand the tools and the thought process then opportunity is only a step away.  When you think about it that way, maybe a lot of adults should also learn and try computer programming after all.

In closing, should everyone learn to program?  No.  Should kids learn to program?  Yes.  We think so.  It's a tool that will benefit them well into adulthood.