You will agree with me that 21st-century teenagers have no trouble figuring out how to use the latest technology. While some teenagers are just passive consumers of technology, others are learning quickly how to become an active part of the global computer science community.
As older members of society, parents and guardians are to ensure that these teenagers grow up as active consumers of technology to help them meet the challenges of tomorrow. Arguably, one of the best ways to achieve this is by teaching teenagers to code because coding gives them the tools they need to master the technology that surrounds them.
When you are a teenager, it is easier to learn computer basics and the principles of programming like control flow, variables, and functions all in one programming language. As teenagers, you are also open to a lot of support no matter your skill level and you get to meet people and make new friends.
Further in this article, we will introduce why coding is important for teenagers, how to code, and the best ways to learn. Let’s go.
Why Is Coding Important For Teenagers
A thousand times we have heard the phrase “coding is the future”. However, beyond empowering teens for major career decisions which is one of the highest-ranking reasons people learn to code, there are several other reasons why coding is important for teenagers. They include the following:
#1. Coding is a Great Career Choice:
Of course, we are not going to undermine the fact that coding is very much a career choice as medicine or astrology. Okay, maybe not the first thing that comes to the mind of a teenager who chooses to learn how to code but isn’t the cycle very much familiar.
This career cycle often starts as an interest in something then it becomes a skill that is needed to get into that dream college and then a career that pays well. As the ultimate goal, this career comes along with influence and a huge paycheck.
With smart devices and sophisticated algorithms deeply embedded in most 21st century organizations, it is no doubt that coding is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative careers. Coding is one skill that we will still need and utilize in the future across the world.
Whether you can create a custom spreadsheet, maintain a website, get meaningful insights from a company’s database, or figure out how to create solutions, teenagers who have more ability to command technology are in a better position to have a great career.
#2. Coding Helps To Build College Applications
On the mind of a huge number of teenagers is how to get into their dream college after high school. What better way to get into this dream college than through a college degree.
Of course, any extracurricular activities that can boost a college application will show that such a student can take up the initiatives to develop alternative skills and build a career after college. Just as companies and organizations recruit new employees, colleges are always looking for applicants that have mastery of coding ability.
The coding experience can be one of the best ways to prove that a teenager has discipline, organization, and perseverance. But even beyond that, students who possess coding skills are reasoned to be logic-based problem solvers with persistence and resilience and cannot be pushed off course by a few bugs and challenges.
#3. Coding Improves Cognitive Skills
If coding was just about strategically joining different scripts together, perhaps we would all be programmers but it goes beyond that. Coding involves problem-solving and this is an important tool for helping teenagers develop cognitive skills which in turn helps them through life.
Coding teaches teenagers to solve problems sequentially and logically by organizing and prioritizing events and tasks so that they can be tackled effectively and efficiently. It also teaches teenagers the importance of paying attention to details because any small code error can result in bigger problems.
Coding gives teenagers the practice they need to maintain focus and work out the details of a project before moving on. This is what cognitive skills are all about.
#4. Coding Builds Confidence
In a world of technology, teenagers that learn to code are usually more confident and in control than those who do not. By teaching coding to teenagers, we give them the power to completely understand what these devices are doing, as well as the power and ability to alter and modify them to suit their needs and solve their problems better.
Because almost all aspects of our lives interact with software, teenagers who code tend to make sense of their environment and this helps them confidently make good decisions.
The Best Ways to Teach Coding To Teens
Teenagers differ from one individual to another therefore each person’s method of learning to code will be different. However, listed below are a few ways to teach coding to teenagers.
#1. Be Patient With Them
The first thing you should know when trying to teach teenagers how to code is that they are “teenagers”. One tendency teenagers have is the natural ability to rebel and push everyone away when they feel like they are pushed to do something.
Parents and guardians are best advised to create a positive and calm environment if possible when trying to teach their teenagers to code. Patience is one skill that needs to be developed because anything aside from it will only post these teens far from anything related to the word ‘coding’.
Being patient with teenagers when teaching them to code means that they have to see coding as something interesting that they want to learn on their own. To achieve this, you might want to do any of the following:
- Introduce them to books or movies that can spur their interest in coding
- Find coding courses similar to their hobbies like video game development courses for those that enjoy playing video games.
- Gift them interesting devices that require coding to operate and let them explore the devices on their own
- Ensure that their schedule is not too tight to add coding as an extracurricular activity.
- Allow them to code at their own pace without external influence, expectation, or pressure.
- Consciously introduce them to a community of computer programmers by taking them to local camps or real-life classes.
#2. Consider Their Interests
Teenagers like every other human have their interests and hobbies like dance, art, sports, music, modeling, etc. Parents and guardians should take advantage of these hobbies to help teenagers develop an interest in coding and what it can do for them.
Teenagers who enjoy playing video games may develop an interest in trying to build their own Roblox. Whereas those teenagers that enjoy sports can build their very own practical app which they can then use to improve their performance.
Teenagers who just enjoy socializing and interacting online can find something that interests them with coding. It could be creating their own social media apps, or building their website or blog. All these interests can easily be integrated into coding projects to develop their interests.
#3. Set Goals
Here, the goals set should be of high interest and relatively simple. These goals should be able to build awareness and ambition of teenagers by flaming their creativity and motivating them to code.
More often, teenagers that have high expectations of themselves tend to also have strong ideas about the developing world and how to fix its problems. It is at this point that parents and guardians need to step in to help them create achievable goals for solving these problems.
#4. Remind Them That It Is Never Too Late
Initially, teenagers may feel frustrated, hesitant, or embarrassed because they did not learn ‘coding’ earlier. To teach them to code at this stage, you need to make them aware of the fact that coding is open to everyone of all age groups, even older than they are.
While it is okay to focus on the basic principles of coding, parents and guardians need to make their teenagers aware of what they stand to gain in the long run when they build a better understanding and stronger memory in learning to code.
Why Teaching Coding To Teenagers Is Different From Teaching Coding To Younger Kids
Today, children learn to code from a very young age and even those that start as teenagers tend to feel frustrated for not starting earlier.
Generally, coding is different and more tricky when it comes to teaching teenagers. This is because teens are seen as the middleman between being an adult and being a child.
Parents and guardians must consider the following differences if they want to help their teenagers learn to code.
#1. Teens Are More Exposed To The World Than Younger Kids
Generally, teenagers are older than younger kids and are more exposed to the world than younger kids. They tend to have better knowledge of what they stand to gain from learning to code.
Teenagers can easily make a career choice from their understanding of coding. They may understand that learning to code can be an excellent step to building a career, and a teenage student will be interested in anything that can aid their acceptance to their dream college.
For instance, teenagers are more likely to be aware that they need to learn to code before they can develop an app or a game. This exposure is one of the reasons why teaching teenagers to code is different from teaching younger kids to code.
#2. They Have Better Retention Than Younger Kids
Kids under the age of 12 that code may have a harder time fully grasping all the principles and concepts involved in coding than teenagers would. Coding involves a lot of concepts therefore, parents and guardians will have to spend more time explaining these concepts for their kids to understand.
Another reason why parents and guardians should spend time explaining coding to kids is that they are often limited by the type of materials presented to them. They often see things in a self-serving manner which means that their focus will only be on how coding works for them.
The case is different with teenagers because they have a more developed mind and can easily handle computer science concepts and courses deeply and quickly which helps them reason and explore more ideas.
As teenagers interact more with their society, their mind begins to retain issues and problems that need a solution. They begin to see how coding can be used to solve problems, and they have a realistic view that builds better retention of complex coding projects and deepens learning in the long run.
#3. Stronger Academic Background And Developed Skills
Generally, computer science and coding require more sophisticated, mathematical, and logical skills and a lot of younger kids do not have them yet. As a result, it takes extra effort to help them understand certain coding concepts, unlike teenagers.
Teenagers are more solid in math and mathematical thinking because they have been introduced to courses like geometry, graphing, statistics, algebra, and pre-calculus, which helps in understanding things like variables, Boolean logic, algorithms, and data structures. This also helps them solve more sophisticated problems and understand coding principles easily.
Coding Languages To Learn for a Teenager
There are different coding languages available for teenagers learning to code. Some of these languages include:
This is another text-based programming language that is great for beginners. Teenagers use Python to get their ideas running quickly because Python uses a few lines of code compared to other programming languages.
Python is used by Google, Disney, and other big brands like Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube. It can be utilized to develop video games, numeric computing projects, and web frameworks. It can also be used to handle data and data processing.
Python is flexible enough for use in cybersecurity and AI. This language choice is suitable for those working in cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
As a teenager who wishes to get everything you can from learning to code, you need to start today. Being a teenager will give you enough time to reap maximum benefits from all that coding has to offer.
From waking up to going to school to football practice and home, not every teenager will be exposed enough to learn to code. However, those who are exposed to coding, perhaps through an online coding course over the weekend should ensure they make the best out of the opportunity.