Updated: Apr 14, 2020
5 Coding Languages Kids Should Learn Before They Graduate High School
There is a great variety of programming languages out there, and as the world continues to move in a more technologically advanced direction, exposure to coding is becoming increasingly important, especially for the youth. Kids are the connection between the present and the future. So, why start young? Studies show that kids are better at picking up the skills at a younger age because their brains are able to better grasp the understanding for many of these concepts. However, with such a large variety of coding languages available to them, how do kids know which languages are the most important to learn? To make it easier for them, I’ve created a list with 5 coding languages I think kids should learn before they graduate high school:
Scratch: Scratch is a great platform for kids as little as 6 years old who have had little to no experience with coding before. Since it is block-based, it can serve as a very good foundation for kids just beginning their journey in the path of programming. Scratch allows kids to explore the relationships between variables through animated characters and interactive add-ons, such as colors and sounds. Overall, Scratch is really great at introducing kids to concepts like if-then relationships as well as basic problem-solving techniques.
MIT App Inventor: Similar to Scratch, MIT App Inventor is also a block-based programming language. A good starting age would be 7 or 8 years old, since it does have a larger variety of blocks (or coding options) for kids to choose from. It is also a more mature platform, and has 2 main components: the designer and the block editor. The designer is where the programmer can add and arrange components in the user interface. The block editor is where they can add the code to program the components attached in the user interface. Another advantage to MIT App Inventor is its ability to connect to Android devices, allowing the creator to see how their application actually functions, which is great for seeing if there are any glitches present within the code.
Python: Python is a coding language that is relatively easy to learn, making it great for beginners (ages 10-12) who are just entering the world of programming. Since it is text-based, it is perfect for kids who have had a little bit of experience with block-based coding and are looking to step forward to the next step. Python uses commands that are very similar to the everyday English language we all use on a daily basis, which allows younger programmers to get comfortable with it comparatively easily when compared to some more advanced languages. Overall, Python is a great language for kids who want to either dive into text-based programming or already have experience with programming and want to go further into it.
Java: Java is one of the most used programming languages worldwide, and it is great for kids who want to learn a skill that they will most likely continue to use in the future. Java is more complicated than Python, since it is a statically typed language (programmers have to specify the type of variable used) and therefore, can take a longer time to master. Since it is typed, it can also be easier to find the errors present within your code. Overall, Java is great for older kids (typically ages 12-14) who want to continue to master their understanding of critical thinking and problem-solving concepts.
C#: C#, like Java, is a statically typed language, which means it is more appropriate for kids with a greater amount of coding knowledge and experience (ages 12-14). It is very similar to Java and is relatively easier to pick up than Java is. However, the difference between the two is that C# is more used for web applications and gaming programs. In fact, most of the Windows add-on applications are developed using C#. Overall, C# is a versatile language that can be used to create a great variety of different projects and applications, including mobile applications, web applications, and games.
- Coach Rishita