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03 Aug 2021
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Coding For Kids: The Definitive Guide For Parents - 2021

Twisa DebBarma

To be or not to be? To be able to precisely answer such questions brings so much…. Stress! And of course, by the title, you might have already guessed it, in today’s piece we will be talking about everything about coding for kids.

But before we jump straight into all the how’s and why’s, let’s check out some stats to give you some insight.

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This is a Code.org statistic about teachers who are trying to introduce or level up computer science in their schools. Look at that rise! Don’t you want to be a part of something so revolutionary?

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The above Code.org survey shows that 54 percent of students enjoy computer science. Don’t believe me, believe the statistics. Also, another great thing about learning to code is that you can do it anywhere.

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A survey conducted by Hour of Code(a Code.org campaign) shows us the value of a computer science education and how it is 40 percent more than the college average. This should be reason enough for the parents to start their kids’ coding journey ASAP!

After consuming so much data and statistics, I think it’s time for the real deal. Let us now begin our voyage to the ultimate guide to coding for kids, starting with the first question.

What is coding for kids?

But, first what is coding? The process of communicating a set of instructions with machines and enabling them to respond according to it is called coding.

Now, think of it in a course structure where children learn to establish the above understanding of coding, therefore it is called coding for kids.

So, what’s the difference between coding and coding for kids?

The difference is in the way coding is taught. Therefore, we call it coding for kids because there are special requirements when you teach kids coding.

As of today, there are so many opportunities and so many options to choose from. And as a parent, you always want the best for your children. Have a look at our website to know more.

Coding knows no boundaries, just like kids. Try to expand their knowledge from a very young age. That takes us to our second question.

Why should your child learn to code?

Remember the phrase- the earlier the better.

Exactly!

The world is changing rapidly and so are the technology and education industry. So, to keep with these changes the future generation must be well prepared.

Children can begin learning to code as young as 5-6 years old. It means that parents don’t have to worry about the “safe age” for learning to code.

Kids are very impressionable and as a parent, you should leverage it to its fullest. That is why you have to choose wisely on what kind of activities should they be involved in. The fact the coding is a safe and secure activity should give you absolute peace of mind and let the child learn in their safe space.

Additionally, kids who learn to code from a very young age are believed to have a better grasp of the 21st century’s most important skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity to name a few.

To know more, give The Top 21st Century Skills For Kids a read.

What are the benefits of Coding for kids?

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There are endless benefits of coding for kids. But here are a few of them to make you feel that by choosing to code for kids, you have made a great decision.

  1. Increases EQ (emotional intelligence or emotional quotient) because of the practice of observation during coding.
  2. Better decision-making because of the use of accurate logic during coding.
  3. Challenges kids to solve complex problems and generate desired results.
  4. Adds to digital literacy. Coding has real-life applications which is why the government has included it as a standardized factor of development.
  5. Improves pre-existing academic knowledge.
  6. Expands critical thinking. Due to coding, a kid is exposed to think in a non-linear way.
  7. Builds persistence. Learning to code takes time and therefore the child has to keep going till the end which helps them to build their persistence.

Must-reads to know more:

  1. Coding For Kids: 5 Benefits of learning coding at a young age
  2. How can coding improve the logical ability of kids?

What are different types of programming languages?

There are different types of programming languages but those programming languages are classified into two major groups of programming.

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  1. Text-based programming As you can see, codes are written in plain text format. Hence, they are called text-based programming. They are mostly used by professional programmers and experts for high-level programming.

  2. Visual-based programming or block-based programming By the looks of it, you can already tell it is visually more appealing than the previous example. Therefore, this kind of coding is known as visual-based programming.

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Because we are dealing with coding for kids, it is preferable to start with visual-based programming because of its readability, ease of use, and the extent of technological advancement

Some of the popular programming languages are:

  1. Python programming
  2. C++
  3. Scratch programming
  4. Lua
  5. JavaScript
  6. HTML
  7. CSS
  8. Blockly

Must-reads to know more:

  1. The Ultimate List of Kids Coding Languages (2021) [Updated]

How does one choose them according to age?

Here is the real deal, even though certain programming languages are catered towards particular age groups, you don’t have to stick to that convention.

‘Sky's the limit.’

With that in mind let me help you on how to choose which programming languages to choose according to age.

Like we already know there are two kinds of programming out of which block-based programming is subjected towards the lower or younger age groups because of the use of both visuals and text.

Grade 1 - 2 ( Age range: 4 and higher)

  • Scratch programming: One of the most popular programming languages made for kids to learn to code. Simple to use and the interface is specially designed for kids to understand visually rather than just the text instructions. Very widely used among the primary school-going kids.

Grade 3 - 5 ( Age range: 8 and higher)

  • MIT App Inventor: Another popular pick accompanied with colorful visuals for easy understanding of the app development especially for mobile applications.

Grade 6 - 8 ( Age range: 12 and higher)

  • Web Development: An all-rounder programming language when it comes to building anything on the internet. It comprises of front end and back end meaning the things that you see when you visit a website. It is recommended for those who are interested in building a website.

  • Java & App Development: The old but mighty Java is one of the most popular programming languages and is still used for basic level programming to beyond. And the new addition is Application development which has been doing rounds for quite some time. It is very popular and recommended for those who want to pursue application-based programming.

Grade 9 and beyond (Age range: 14 and higher)

  • Python: The coming of age programming language that serves the highest purposes of the coding world. It is used in most of the leading ventures of machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence.

Must-read to know more:

  1. How Codeyoung’s Long Term Curriculum Can Help Kids Learn Effectively

What are the different career paths for kids who code?

From the introduction, we have already established that coding has one of the brightest career prospects for now and in the future.

But, let us do a little deep dive into each one of them.

Let’s go!

1) Python Developer

As stated by BrainStation, Python Developer is responsible for the coding, designing, deploying, and debugging of development projects, typically on the server-side (or back-end). A Python Developer often works in close collaboration with data collection and analytics to create useful answers to questions and provide valuable insight.

Skills required and preferred:

  1. The Logical Thinking Ability
  2. A Deep Understanding of Core Python
  3. Good Grasp on Object Relational Mapper
  4. The comprehensive skill set of DS and ML
  5. Should be well acquainted with Web Framework

2) Web Developer

Web developers are responsible for designing and developing websites and website applications. Using a variety of programming languages and web technologies, web developers manage site functionality, implement application features, and integrate security measures.

Skills required and preferred:

  1. JavaScript
  2. HTML
  3. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  4. Testing and Debugging
  5. Back-end basics of Web Development
  6. Web-designing

3) App Developer

CareerKarma states that an application developer works with a user experience (UX) designer to make sure their design is aligned with the needs of the user. Together, they create mockups for the app. The developer must also coordinate with business leaders regarding launch strategies.

Skills required and preferred:

  1. Java and XML
  2. Understanding of development cycle
  3. Mobile Design Paradigm
  4. Node.js development
  5. Android Software Development Kit (SDK)

4) Game Developer

According to Wikipedia, a game developer can range from one person who undertakes all tasks to a large business with employee responsibilities split between individual disciplines, such as programming, design, art, testing, etc. Most game development companies have video game publisher’s financial and usually marketing support. Self-funded developers are known as independent or indie developers and usually make indie games.

Skills required and preferred:

  1. 3D Studio Max
  2. C++
  3. Java
  4. C

5) Data Scientists

Data scientists are big data wranglers, gathering and analyzing large sets of structured and unstructured data. Data scientists are analytical experts who utilize their skills in both technology and social science to find trends and manage data. They use industry knowledge, contextual understanding, skepticism of existing assumptions – to uncover solutions to business challenges.

Skills required and preferred:

  1. Data warehousing and structures
  2. Data Mining, Cleaning, and Munging
  3. Data Visualization and Reporting
  4. Cloud Tools

6) Machine Learning Engineer

Definition by Search Enterprise AI, a machine learning engineer focuses on researching, building, and designing self-running artificial intelligence (AI) systems to automate predictive models. Machine learning engineers design and create AI algorithms capable of learning and making predictions that define machine learning.

Skills required and preferred:

  1. Understanding of ML frameworks
  2. Understanding of Deep Learning
  3. Python
  4. SQL - Database
  5. R programming

What are the best ways to teach coding to kids?

Some of the coherent ways to teach the kids how to go about coding are:

  1. Use time management strategies to help kids to be organized with their tasks.
  2. Incorporate games to make the learning more fun and enjoyable rather than making it sound like a chore.
  3. Show real results, don’t just ask kids to imagine things.
  4. Every kid learns differently at a different pace, so don’t rush.
  5. Take expert help if needed. Let the professionals handle the important things.
  6. Ease them into coding. Start with something relevant and easily consumable.
  7. Talk coding terminologies to kids. That way it makes it exciting for them and gives a sense of accomplishment even in the initial stages.

Must-read to know more:

  1. 4 ways that can help kids learn effectively in online classes
  2. Time Management Strategies For Kids

How to enhance coding skills in kids?

Enhancing the skill of coding is subjective. But, we believe that there are a few general practices that can help the execution better. Some of the ways by which kids can improve their coding skills:

As a student ask yourself these questions- What are they doing differently? Why are they doing it that way? What outcomes are they providing?

Best resources to learn coding for kids

There are innumerable sources and so much information can get overwhelming.

Don’t worry, we all have been there.

That’s we have curated a list that serves the right purpose for all your resources queries.

Websites:

  1. Code.org
  2. Codecademy
  3. Coursera
  4. Udacity
  5. Khan Academy
  6. Codeyoung

Some Amazing Books:

  1. Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners by Warren Sande and Carter Sande
  2. Build Your Own Website: A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS, and WordPress by Nate Cooper and Illustrated by Kim Gee
  3. Computer Coding with Javascript by Carol Vorderman
  4. Python for Kids by Jason R. Briggs
  5. Hello App Inventor by Carl Simmons and Paula Beer
  6. Game Programming for Teens by Maneesh Sethi
  7. Building Robots with Lego Mindstorms by Guilio Ferrari and Mario Ferrari

We are not saying these are the only ones but the combination of the websites and books mentioned above will help your kids to learn to code.

Conclusion

The idea of providing a guide is to lay down a set of instructions on the approach and necessarily doesn’t mean imposing. Therefore, our guide is here to answer all your questions regarding coding for kids and in no shape or form a requirement.

With that in mind, if our ultimate guide has been of help to any of your queries. Feel free to share with us.

MEET THE AUTHOR
Twisa DebBarma

An admirer of all things minimalist. Passionate about writing and dogs.

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