To keep up with the IT demand and growing importance of digital innovation, Europe needs programmers.
Initiatives like CoderDojo started in early 2011 in Cork by then teen-programmer James Whelton and entrepreneur Bill Liao show that young people can learning how to code in a fun, sociable way. Rewired State since 2009 hosts an annual event Young Rewired State hosted by Google in their London offices that is intended to introduce open government data to the coding youth of the UK. Another intiative, Future Creators, run by the Digital Hub in Dublin & the National College of Art and Design, provides young people with an environment where they can make new applications and digital content. Those Future Creators will come to the Workshop on Digital Skills and Learning next week and present their applications to the workshop participants so you will have the opportunity to see the project results onsite or online by following our Twitter hashtag #da13skills.
Still, learning how to code is not only an exercise needed to get a job in the computing industry. Mitchel Resnick from MIT Media Lab in his article Learn to Code, Code to Learn shows also that learning to code, prepares children for other subjects so they are also coding to learn - math, computational ideas, solving strategies, designing projects and communicating ideas. So teaching code to children, gives them much wider set of skills!
How early should we start? What works best - free platforms similar to codeacademy, targeted initiatives at schools, events? And what is the role that industry should play?