According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a computer programmer was $77,550 per year in 2014. Most computer programmers have a Bachelor’s degree. Simply, coding is writing basic instructions for a task in a language that your computer will understand. Facebook? Your anti-virus software? Someone wrote the code to generate that software. So, what is the process for getting kids involved?
Children are receptive to acquiring this new language of computer programming and the strategic thinking and reasoning processes that go with it.
Among the most widely attended workshops recently are Minecraft programming classes because kids have the chance to learn how to modify or alter the popular game. Adelphi University in Garden City and the Science Museum of Long Island in Manhasset are two places offering Minecraft classes.
With programming classes, kids can become expert coders as they learn how to navigate and reason through complex problems—a proficiency that will serve them in the future. And you don’t have to be a techie or a science geek to be good at coding. Coding is for nearly all ages, with some classes and apps tailored toward kids as young as five years old.
Just as kids are naturally inclined to pick up a new spoken language, it’s even easier to learn the language of computer programming.
Give kids a jumpstart in computer programming with these apps and online courses:
Daisy the Dinosaur
This iPad app gets kids engaged in the coding process with an easy drag-and-drop interface.
GameStar Mechanic teaches kids, ages 7-14, to design their own video games. Cost is $2, web-based.
Homeschool Programming, Inc.
Hopscotch looks a lot like Scratch and Tynker and uses similar controls to drag blocks into a workspace, but it only runs on the iPad and it’s free.
Move the Turtle
Kids learn the basic concepts of programming with this iPad/iPod app ($2.99).
Designed by MIT students and staff in 2003, Scratch is one of the first programming languages created for 8- to 16-year-olds. Web-based, free.
This site teaches programming with self-paced lessons. For ages 8-14.
—Compiled by Christy Hinko