Should Kids Learn Coding Instead of Foreign Languages?

February 16, 2016
Posted in Coding


I was reading an article on the debate in Florida, whether to allow kids to learn code instead of a foreign language. I can offer some perspective here, since I am a coder who speaks English and French.

What has been more valuable in my life: knowing French, or knowing how to code?

Coding has easily been the most valuable skill for me.

But if my second language was English (rather than French,) maybe the tables would be turned. I say this because- though French is a great language, and I think the more spoken languages you know the better- French has limited use on the world’s stage. English though, is the language of business… it is a must-learn.

Coding is much more like English; it, too, is an international language of sorts. Knowing how to code has many positive impacts on your life, even if you don’t become a coder!

Note: I should point out that I live in Montreal, Quebec, so French is far from being a foreign language here. Nonetheless, coding (even in French Quebec) has been more valuable to me.

The advantages of being code literate

Everyone knows that coding skills are in high demand and that coders make big money. But what some may not recognize is that having coding skills will also have a positive impact on all aspects of a kid’s life and career:

  • Learning code teaches logical thinking, organisational skills and problem solving skills.
  • Understanding code makes you more technology savvy: much harder to scam someone who understands code.
  • Knowing code will make learning and using apps easier, since you will understand the basics of how apps are built.
  • Many apps (ex: spreadsheets, 3d software) can be automated with simple code called ‘scripts’. Basic coding skills can help boost your productivity in your normal day-to-day work.

So should kids learn coding instead of a foreign language?

My father is a retired teacher, and he suggested that it was probably best to let the student decide. Not all students are wired the same, he reminded me, and so they probably know what is best for themselves.

Stefan Mischook

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