If you have ever sat down at a lunch table full of application developers, you might feel like you have joined a conversation in another language. The lingo of coders is a bit like Pig Latin. A little like English, but something just seems to have gone a little bit askew. Computer programming training for kids is a lot like teaching them French or German. Their young minds are open and accepting, and having been born as Digital Natives, they take to app development like fish to water. Even if your child doesn’t grow up to be coders themselves, they will benefit from the experience as they interact with their coding peers at work and play.

Whether you introduce your son or daughter to software development or encourage them to pursue learning programming at school, encouraging code appreciation is a great gift to give your child. They will grow in the experience, not only to be able to join in the discussion about programming over PB&J, but also to grow in their understanding of technology in general.

Here are three key benefits to helping your child to learn to code:

1. Appreciation of the Role of Technology in Life and Business

Regardless of the career path your child takes in life, a healthy appreciation of the programming process can only benefit them. Do you ever talk to someone who is a technology luddite and think “Wow, that person is so out of touch with the world!” With trends like the Internet of Things and mobile devices, app development skills are becoming more in demand. For your child, having a well-rounded talent for tech will be table stakes for many careers. An understanding of code can help our young Canadians thrive in the world of accelerating technology. It will be a benefit whether they end up in roles in development, or other pursuits such as:

  • Video game designvideo-game-design
  • Product design and development
  • Scientific research
  • Engineering
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Architecture
  • Digital media, journalism and creative careers

2. Making Canada More Competitive on the Global Stage

Canada needs to elevate its ranking among G20, G8 and other nations in terms of innovation and percentage of GDP from Information Communications Technology (ICT). To achieve that status, we need to create a large, diverse workforce of technology savvy and creative thinkers. Canadian businesses and government organizations need to have leaders who understand that by contracting with offshore talent for software development and support, they are only doing Canada’s economy and population a disservice. Receiving even a basic appreciation of computer programming can help kids build their confidence around technology, and their support of their peers who want to make a career out of coding.

3. Creating an Economic Balance of Opportunities from Coast to Coast

Some of the hot spots for ICT in Canada include:ict_kenya2_main
• The Greater Vancouver Regional District
• Calgary and Edmonton
• Regina
• Winnipeg
• Greater Toronto Area
• Kitchener-Waterloo
• Ottawa
• Montreal and Quebec City
• St. John
• Halifax

Though this is not an exhaustive list, there are many regions in Canada where teaching kids to code could create economic opportunities to benefit their communities, such as Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and other northern regions. Increasing the skillsets of people in remote areas where sufficient Internet access is available can help them become more prosperous. Whether companies open innovation centers in these areas, or people take advantage of the freelance development economy, building better coders across Canada is critical to economic balance across the provinces. The telecommunications infrastructure also needs to be there to support it, however.

Helping kids appreciate the role which computer programming plays in business, media, entertainment and other parts of their lives will give them an appreciation for the work that goes into an animated movie, a console or PC game, or even a computer program they use in school. In economically disadvantaged areas of Canada, children who grow up with technical education can have competitive skills to work in a career path they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to pursue.