Last month, Nick D’Aloisio, seventeen years old from UK, sold his Summly app to Yahoo, which reportedly made him a millionaire. In an interview to Bloomberg television on March 26 2013, the teenager touched upon the ICT classes and the need to have more programming skills included in the curriculum. He has identified the new trends in technology, the lead of the mobile technology, and consequentially created an innovative app to summarize the news for the mobile readers. It was an invention that adapted to the technology and the people’s needs to read something more than the headlines before deciding if a story needs to be uploaded and read entirely on mobile.
This is just a British story about a teenager that started to be interested in programming since the age of twelve and actually created a successful product like Summly. We have heard about a lot of these stories which are predominantly about American software developers. Neither European nor American has the proper curriculum to keep up with the battle of the tech companies over the right skilled people in programming.
Taking the objective of Summly and “cutting to the essence of things” education has to keep up with the technological advancements and how well aware are we with the requirements of the ICT jobs nowadays. This young man has been supported in his developments, among others, by the TechCity, an UK-investment organization, which, in his opinion, transformed London in a center for technology in UK and in Europe.
If we become aware of the need to have programming in schools before the University level, then legislators have to become aware to look, alongside educators, into gradually allowing programming in high-school curricula. The ICT American forerunners have developed a very compelling video talking about the new language of coding with names as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg talking about the attractiveness of learning programming. And they present it as actually learning a new language. How many Europeans speak more than one language, how many speak more than two foreign languages? The Americans cannot compare with Europeans when it comes to foreign languages. But when it comes to coding, then the wheel is reversed.
Seeing beyond the learning process of programming helps us bringing this “foreign language” closer to the final objectives of using it: the power to become creative in new way than painting a canvas or writing a poem. This a new way of expressing creativity in today’s digital world and can translate later in designing a new airplane or a new way of transportation altogether.
This story of the British seventeen years old and the emergence of European technology investment companies are giving the news outlets around the world the grounds to build the awareness about the importance of technology and the educational path that can be constructed in Europe. For a democratic, creative and free society everything is built on education.
Having more and more teenagers involved in programming can become a constant of our society, an objective that again can be reached by education. An app it is just a beginning leading to the skills of creating much more complicated programs that bring together technological skills and creativity. By the time these teenagers reach the university level they can put their creativity to the test to their fullest.
Coming back to Nick’s interview, he was asked what he wants to buy with his new money. This teenager acknowledged that he really needs a new computer, while for the future he wants to develop his tech company to work in for ten to fifteen years. Why this teenager was not driven to ask for more when asked this question? Because people like him don’t use the creativity with the money purpose in mind. They look for the opportunity to develop their creative stir even if there is something small in the beginning.
If our future generations would be driven by the same perseverance and equipped with the programming skills that gives them the technological creative freedom would make it easier to have more European tech stories in the morning news.
ICT education can bring a twofold advantage here: give the teenagers the right skills and teaching them what to value in life first. We are at a point though when without the right education, motivation and perseverance programming is not everybody’s cup of tea or how the Spanish say: no es mi plato.