Translation London has moved into a new realm with digital languages. It is a good thing, too, because your kids are probably already conversant in these languages, and might just reprogram your computer right out from under you.
Computers, themselves, represent a wealth of foreign languages to most users. If you do any more than type keywords into your browser window, you learn that there is a mysterious language that uses codes and strings of symbols to make everything work. The thing is, children are learning about coding in school. It is in the curriculum, and the children are learning how their iPad actually works, rather than just using it for games.
Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded, a coding school, points out that:
“Some jobs are being replaced by (coding), while other digital jobs are being created in industries in which they never previously existed. We now have data scientists working in advertising agencies…”
Parsons goes on to talk about the fact that coding seems to be an exclusive field that intimidates most people, calling it a “dark arts” of literacy.
Alice Bentinck is another woman who set up a coding school just for women, called Code First. She did this after noting a shortage of women in the field of computer coding, as evidenced by enrollment at her facility Entrepreneur First. She refers to the digital language of coding as the “second dot-com boom”, saying that it:
“…can be used to bring greater parity to the workforce but we need to create role models for women in the industry. Acquiring those digital skills is really important.”
Alex Klein, co-founder of Kano, says:
“Over the past few decades we’ve locked up computing behind sealed screens – we made it simple to use but impossible to tinker with and create. We alienated people from computers by teaching them about Microsoft Word and Excel.”
My own children became jaded with the thought of computer coding, having been through those very classes.
Klein also said:
“What we were taught was very much focused on how to use computers but we were not given an appreciation of the magic of how they actually work. Yet we don’t want to keep sending the message to yet another generation that we need to learn to understand the machine or it will control us. Coding should be a tool for expression and give you the ability to play and be connected – making you more human, not less so.”
Klein has developed a “build-it-yourself” computer kit for children, which has already been preordered by Steve Wozniak of Apple.
The field of digital coding is woefully understaffed, and these entrepreneurs are attempting to train today’s youth in a potentially lucrative job. NewMedia 2.0, a digital consultancy firm, has recently started offering a coding course through Ravensbourne. The goal is to apprentice young people who are having a hard time finding a job. Jeanette Carlson, CEO, of MewMedia 2.0, states:
“It’s a combination of a huge skills shortage, youth unemployment and a government incentive to support the growth of London Tech City. There’s a real drive to offer and create new employment opportunities, and what better way to do that than through the digital and tech space?”
Zach Sims, CEO of Codeacademy, an online coding company, says that there will be a shortage of over 300,000 workers by the year 2020. He cites the “recent explosive growth of mobile applications and online businesses” as part of the demand that has not yet been met by the workforce.
Online resources for learning coding include:
- Code School
Products directed at putting coding curriculum and computers into student’s hands are:
Career training courses available are:
- General Assembly
- Makers Academy
- CodeZoners Ravensbourne
Quick courses for teaching coding are:
For children, coding courses recommended are:
- Young Rewired State
- Coder Dojo
- Code Club