You’ve Got to Know the Code!

You’ve Got to Know the Code

It seems like every day you see a new headline proclaiming that coding is the skill of the future. And that’s not just lip service: In 2015, seven million job openings required coding skills, and according to a report from Burning Glass, an analytics software company that delivers job market analytics, programming jobs are growing 50 percent faster than the overall market.

The Academy recognizes the need for trained professionals in computer science and is implementing programs to help fill the pipeline, starting as early as middle school. Last February, the first Intro to Coding Camp took place during the week-long mid-winter vacation in the New York City area. The camp introduced kids to the coding language Scratch, teaching them to connect simple sensors to laptops and manipulate video games to react to their own movement and instructions. Not surprisingly, students attending the camp were very excited about learning to code their own video games. And it gave them a head start on developing the skills they’re going to need when they enter the workforce, in the not-too-distant future.

Marcelle Villeneuve, 11, attended the camp along with about 50 other 5th-8th graders. It wasn’t her first time coding—she often spends time at friends’ houses playing around with code—but the camp fueled her passion for programming even further. “My favorite part was the first day we started to do the coding because everybody could put their own ideas. It was really fun being on a team with all my friends and for us all to collaborate.” Marcelle especially liked the demonstration ceremony on the final day of camp, where she and her team had the chance to present their game to the other kids, and they got to see the games other teams had developed as well.

Some people may think coding is complicated and too hard for kids to grasp, but that’s not so. When it’s taught by the experts in the field—the professionals from Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)—kids get to learn in ways that are fun and engaging.

As Marcelle attests: “It’s very straightforward--it’s not scary at all.”

The Academy will be offering two more sessions of Intro to Coding camp this August, and will also offer another mid-winter break program in February 2018. Find out more information at www.nyas.org/sciencecamp.