When you think of computer science (CS), what comes to mind? Better yet, who comes to mind?
If the image you conjured involved people with pocket protectors and thick glasses who code all night—it’s time to update your view of computer science! Computer science is not only an engaging, collaborative field; it’s also the fastest growing. It’s time to move that dated image to the Recycle Bin, reboot your thought processor, and refresh the way you think about the most in-demand skill for the future.
Computer Science is For Everyone
Pop culture and the media have filled our minds with stereotypes of males dominating computer science, but in reality, you don’t need a Y chromosome to be a coder. In fact, many early achievements in programming were pioneered by women, and today, there is a focus on increasing diversity in CS to infuse the field with new energy, perspective and ideas.
Computers don’t care who is in control of the keyboard. Rather, coding is for anyone who enjoys problem solving and experimenting. These coders also have active imaginations and love creating with computers and simple codes.
Programming is Collaborative
Coding isn’t always a solitary experience—many of today’s coolest apps, videogames, and online networks are the result of team efforts. Forget the image of the lone programmer working late into the night and replace it with teamwork, community and friends. A visit to Facebook Headquarters reveals the largest open-office workspace in the world. This is because the best projects are the result of collaboration. No one can be an expert at every part of coding, so partnering with others enables bigger and better outcomes. Plus, having another set of eyes to look at a problem with a fresh perspective opens minds to new solutions and bug fixes.
Programming is Fun
Don’t be fooled; just because coding puts brains to work doesn’t mean that it’s all serious business. The world’s favorite videogames, software and social-networking sites were made possible by the awesome and creative minds of the coders who dreamed them up. Computer science opens the door to moving from consumer to creator. Whether your kid wants to make an animated cat dance the Nae Nae, create a website to share favorite jokes, or program a robot to do their chores, they get to bring their personality and interests to what they create…and there’s nothing nerdy about that!
The Future of Coding is in Your Hands
The only way to break stereotypes is to consciously change them.
There is a world of endless possibilities open to students interested in computer science. Kids need to know that they are capable, and be empowered by the adults and peers in their lives to fully give CS a try. When enrolled in a coding-focused afterschool program, club or summer camp, kids have the power to use CS to shape the future.
Generation Code is an in-school, after-school, and camp based kids coding initiative that seeks to empower students to become creative problem-solvers and digital leaders through project-and design-based learning. Currently operating in NYC, Generation Code will launch this spring in Washington, D.C. and Vienna, Virginia. Learn about the Generation Code approach to CS education at generationcode.com