Is a Coding Class Important

I recently read a rhetorical tweet that asked, “Is a coding class important?”

For a throw away question, I got me thinking. And I believe the answer is,  “A Nuanced Yes.”

If you ask me if coding is more important than taking a Spanish or Chinese language course, I will answer, “For most students, No.”

If you ask me if coding is more important than taking a Physics or Calculus course, I will answer, “For most students, No.”

And I don’t believe that the coding language in use now, will be the one used 20 years from now.  Who out there is still coding in BASIC?  That was an “advanced” class that I took.  I should call my old high school and ask for those 300+ hours back. 

But there is huge value in courses that seemingly have little value.  Instead of taking typing in high school, I took Calculus (the valuable course).  Big mistake.  Surprisingly, I don’t have to calculate the area under a curve that often in my professional and personal life. Yet I do type (poorly) everyday. 

I participated in UIL Academic Contests as a member of the Calculator and Number Sense teams.  We even had a class period devoted to practice.  Again skills I don’t use a lot right now, specifically.  But in terms of training my mind to move quickly, intuitively, with confidence, I do that, daily.

Which brings me back to the question, “Is a coding class important?” 

My final answer is, “Yes, for some students, but not for the reasons we believe.”

So by all means, if you can offer a coding course, do so.  But I’m still not buying into the hype that coding is the 5th Core.

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