Can you believe that not that long ago the World Wide Web didn’t exist? 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the internet. It was also the Year of Code, and from that year the UK school curriculum across all state primary and secondary schools included computer coding. That means schoolchildren aged five to sixteen can learn code, the language (or languages) used to give instructions to computers. The British Government wants to give children the computer skills they may need for the future. Learning code might help them to find work when they leave school.
geek or enthusiast
Some young people already know how to code, of course. Amy Mathers first tried coding at a science festival when she was eleven and was named the European Digital Girl of the Year at fourteen. At school, she taught older pupils how to code during her school lunch breaks. She now gives speeches at computer industry events to encourage young people to try coding. She calls herself a ‘geek’ but doesn’t see that as a negative thing. She challenges people to look up the word ‘geek’ in the dictionary and find out that it describes someone who’s an enthusiast. Amy says that she isn’t surprised that coding is getting more and more popular, as so many people have smartphones and use computers.
School isn’t the only place where you can learn coding. There are groups of volunteers around Britain and the whole world who help young people learn these skills. Steven Flower is part of the CoderDojo organisation which runs free coding clubs for people aged five to seventeen. He started with a group of just eight boys a few years ago and these days about 150 teenagers a month attend his Manchester CoderDojo. All the children need to bring is a parent, a laptop and the desire to learn how to code.