The majority of computer-users know coding is what programmers do to create apps, but few understand much beyond that. The lack of comprehension creates misconceptions about how programming works, who programmers are, and what tools for coding are, such as Python and Scratch. Let’s dispel common myths versus facts about coding!
Fact: Coding languages are the tools needed for one to be able to program, and many easy coding languages can be learned at no or low cost online in a short time frame.
For example, Python is a programming language for Rapid Application Development that is popular due to its syntax being easy to learn and its dynamic typing/binding making it simple for writing the script of new programs or functioning as a glue language to combine existing components of programs. Python reduces the cost of program maintenance with its fast edit-test-debug cycle and its free interpreter and library (The library can be found in source and binary form.) being available for all platforms, meaning everyone has the access – and therefore the ability – to learn it. Once people master a programming language, it can serve them for a lifetime. Python is over 25 years-old and C code is almost 50 years-old.
Fact: The skills needed for coding are originality, problem-solving, and perseverance. Math wizardry is unnecessary. Mathematical knowledge is used in some types of coding, but in others it is not used at all. All types of coding require the use of creativity to make ideas come to life, problem-solving to disentangle the puzzles of bugs in apps, and tenacity to keep moving through the bugs and errors until apps run smoothly. Anyone with those aptitudes can code; no particular math abilities or qualifications are necessary.
Fact: Programming is for anyone who is willing to put in the work. With practice in coding classes and experience writing scripts. Elderly people code as easily as younger adults, and women code as simply as men. Older people and women avoid coding because they don’t believe the doors of programming would be open to them is to everyone’s detriment because the more diversity a group of programmers has, the better the team will be. However, teams are often nonessential, as many programs and websites are designed by one person. Those who learn coding can manage successful projects, especially small ones, independently without a team.
Fact: Because coding is primarily about solving problems, it is rarely a dull task. As stated previously, programmers must be creative people, especially when they work on story-telling apps, so they are not boring individuals at all! Introverts and extroverts exist in every profession, as they should because both have strengths to bring to the table. The idea that programmers put on headphones to avoid talking to others because they prefer machines is untrue. Many times, programmers work as part of a team and need to present ideas to one another, hence communication skills are important. These teams rarely meet in labs; programming is mainly an office job which can also be done from home when necessary.
Fact: Children can learn coding as effectively as other languages. One resource to teach children coding online is Scratch, which is maintained with tools such as the CleanSpeak profanity filter by the Lifelong Kindergarten syndicate at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch allows youth ages eight to sixteen (ScratchJr is designed for ages five through seven) to do programming projects with children from around the world so they develop innovation and collaboration in addition to the coding knowledge itself. These capabilities help people succeed in any field, though they are no guarantee of a career in programming specifically. There are unemployed people with coding skills because there are few entry-level programming jobs, for most employers look for experienced developers. Employed programmers typically make an average salary, thus it’s important for youth and adults to get into coding because it interests them rather than out of a desire to become wealthy.
If you know children or teens with an interest in coding, a place for them to receive live online coding instruction is 98thPercentile. Spread the word that coding is a skill any creative person of any age can acquire if they’re willing to put in the hard work!
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