Why Learn To Code? What is Coding, and Why is It Important to Learn?

Published by UCode Research on May 13, 2022

 Why Learn To Code?

 Why learn to code? More specifically, why have your child learn to code?

For the unaware and the curious, coding is what makes websites, software, apps, and virtually everything else related to computers or the Internet, go from a possibility to a reality.

Some computer scientists compare the skill of knowing how to code to knowing how to read at the time when the world began turning from an economy of farmers to one of industrialists a few centuries ago. Technology is the language that the global economy speaks, and coding is its syntax. Understanding it gives young people the power to change the world as they leave school and enter adulthood. And isn’t that what we all want for our kids?

Not convinced? Here are a few well-known people’s thoughts on why learning to code is important:

  • Bill Gates (Microsoft): “Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”[1]
  • Steve Jobs (Apple): “Everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”[2]
  • Susan Wojcicki (Google): “Learning to code makes kids feel empowered, creative, and confident. If we want our young women to retain these traits in adulthood, a great option is to expose them to computer programming in their youth.”7
  • Tony Hsieh (Zappos): “I think everyone should get a little exposure to computer science because it really forces you to think in a slightly different way, and it’s a skill that you can apply in life in general, whether you end up in computer science or not.”7
  • Hilary Mason (Bitly): “I believe technology should give us superpowers. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to think, analyze and create with technology.”7

So, in this article we are going to cover the questions and topics that frequently come up in discussions with parents on their children’s education:

  • What You Can Do With Coding?
  • Does Learning To Code Help My Child Academically?
  • The Importance Of Coding In Everyday Life?
  • The Importance Of Coding In Business?
  • How To Start Coding?

We are also going to share some great FREE resources to get you or your student started learning to code.

As a starting point into this discussion on Why Learn to Code, I wanted to share a bit about UCode.  We have been teaching kids to code since 2009 – actively teaching kids to code in schools, camps, labs, and online. We have run programs in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Hang Zhou, Taipei, Berlin, Ithaca NY, Los Angeles, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Saudi Arabia.    So, we have taught lots of kids to code and have some well-considered views about kids and coding.


What You Can Do With Coding?

We do not believe that everyone needs to be a computer scientist or programmer. That is fanciful. But we do believe that coding is the unofficial language of our modern economy and that students become fluent in this language. Why? Because it opens up very broad career horizons – even in areas like the arts. Consider this:

  • Desire: 90 percent of parents want their children to study computer science, but only 40 percent of schools actually teach the subject.
  • Disparity: 71 percent of new STEM jobs are computing-related, though only 8 percent of STEM graduates focus on computer science.
  • Passion: Students love learning about computer science and engineering: 54 percent say they like the subject “a lot,” which trails only art and design and performing arts in popularity.
  • Earnings: Students who major in computer science in college can earn more than 40 percent more than their peers who study other subjects.
  • Demand: Computing is the leading source of job growth in the United States: Students looking for employment will find more than 500,000 opportunities in a wide range of industries and locations.

Whether we realize it or not, technology is already transforming the world around us. Modern software is creating more efficient cities, manipulating big data for better decision-making, and developing a sharing economy that benefits both users and providers[3]. Smartphones have accelerated Internet access around the world, including billions of new users in developing countries[4].


Why Learn To Code? It Will Help Your Child Academically

The above is the big picture view. Yes, society needs more people with high levels of technical fluency. But how does learning to code help your child?

We believe that one of the real benefits of learning to code is that it develops computational thinking skills. Learning to code will teach your child how to think.  Students who learn how to think computationally will be the ones who participate in the modern economy — and they will be the ones who can create their own futures.

Computational thinking offers students three main benefits:

  • Problem-solving skills: Students who learn how to think computationally are the ones who will be able to overcome challenges and come up with solutions to complex problems.
  • Creative thinking abilities: Students who learn how to think computationally are the ones who will be able to research, gather and understand new information, and then to apply that new information to issues and projects or all kinds.
  • Autonomy and confidence: Students who learn how to think computationally are the ones who will feel comfortable working in groups as well as confident when forced to take on a challenge independently.

Computational thinking is also helpful in any number of subjects that your student is pursuing in school. It can help students explore new information and ideas, and it can be universally applied — no matter what they’re interested in studying and no matter what line of work they want to pursue – in computer science, business, medicine, law or the arts.

We also see that coding can significantly strengthen applications to university. Python is now a required course at all Ivy Leagues, University of California and Top 20 universities. So having it on your resume when you apply is seen as a plus. lGoogle, Meta, NASA, YouTube, and Industrial Light and Magic – the special effects company owned by Disney – are always looking for good Python programmers. And it is a great language if you are new to coding as  Python uses intuitive commands such as ‘if’, ‘for’, ‘while’, ‘try’, ‘with’ and ‘print’ that are easily recognizable and follow the syntax of basic English composition.http://www.python.org


The Importance Of Coding In Everyday Life

Computer technology first came into the home in the 1980s and 1990s. At that time, people who worked to develop software and code these home computers were seen as especially talented individuals who were naturally gifted in science, technology, engineering and math — better known as STEM subjects.

That’s no longer the case in the 21st century. As technology becomes a larger and larger part of our everyday lives, there’s a growing need for educated professionals who understand computers and software. The world needs a thriving pipeline of students who are learning to code and use the most advanced technologies because that’s what the future will require.

And it’s not just future computer programmers and coders who will need to understand technology. The ability to use advanced technologies will touch every field. Doctors will need to use robotics to deliver the most innovative surgeries and procedures. Attorneys will need to defend and prosecute cases that concern intellectual property. Work in financial sectors, sales, marketing, agriculture, public service, and other industries will increasingly require an in-depth understanding of how technology works and how it helps deliver the products and services that move the global economy forward.

Unfortunately, few students are getting an education in coding and other technology-focused subjects. England became the first country to add coding to its required curriculum, mandating instruction for students ages 5 to 16[5]. But in the USA coding curriculum is desperately needed in classrooms in all countries, engaging students of all ages.

This type of curriculum is important both because the future workforce will need tech-savvy professionals, but it’s also important because an understanding of technology will be your student’s ticket to stability and success in the economy to come.


Where Can Your Student Begin With Coding?

Kids Coding  –

Our experience suggests that to begin to learn to code requires a 2nd grade reading level. If your child is younger than 2nd grade, you can still help your child learn to code and enjoy the many benefits of this advanced skill through the following:

  • Books: Looking for a place to start with coding? Get your student a book. Coding Games in Scratch, Help Your Kids With Computer Coding and other titles are designed to engage your child on this important subject.
  • Toys: As coding becomes a more prominent part of today’s education, toys that support coding lessons are becoming more prominent, too. The BeeBot, for example, is a toy that challenges students to sequence commands in order to move a robot from one side of a room to another. The Dash & Dot, a robot that children can program, is another example of a coding-friendly toy.
  • Games: Is it possible to learn about the digital world through an analog product? The answer is: Yes. Give your student a boost by exploring games like Bitsbox, ThinkFun’s Code Master Programming Logic Game, and the SAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit.
  • Apps: Apps like Kodable Pro, Cargo-Bot, Swift Playgrounds and many others bring coding education to devices like Androids, iPads, iPhones and others. Find an app that’s appropriate for your child’s age. We like Codespark as it is specifically focused on developing computational thinking skills. You can find it at www.codespark.com
  • Courses: Get your child into a lab-based course that features coding opportunities — we have listed some at the end of this article.


Teens & High School Students Coding

There is no right or wrong coding language to start with. We think Python is important, but HTML/CSS, Unity and Java have distinct benefits. The important thing is to pick a good course. But how to do that?

With covid and the explosion in online learning, there are a lot of people and companies that have begun to teach Python Coding to Kids. Many of these are people who know how to program, but not how to teach. Others know how to teach, but not how to program. There are a lot very ordinary providers and some you should avoid.

So how to choose? What do you look for? Here are some critical features:

  • Curriculum Based – I cannot stress how important curriculum is to the learning process. A great curriculum can make up for an average teacher, but not the other way around. No formal curriculum? How can you assess learning? Project-based? Great for older students with well-developed abstraction skills, but not for younger learners.
  • Integrated – The curriculum must be integrated – built concept by concept. Moving from one course to another must provide consistency. This is the issue with Udemy, Coursera, Khan – the curriculum is developed piecemeal by different “experts”. It doesn’t tie together.
  • Age Appropriate – Reading ability must be matched to the coding curriculum. Children learn differently than adults as they do not have an adult’s abstraction skills. Age, abstraction ability and reading level must all be appropriate. It’s never fun if you do not understand.
  • Student Led – Students must work at their own pace with the support of an instructor. Good programs are not instructor-led and they do not teach to the slowest student in the classroom.
  • Assessed – Courses and learning must be formally assessed.


If you want to see examples of good coding curricula and courses that teach coding to kids, I recommend you go and pull down the UCode curriculum. It is free. There are short instructional videos, integrated quizzes, project steps and coding exercises in a state-of-the-art learning management system. The videos are fun and introduce the programming concepts using non-technical language.  Instruction is available, but not required. We have done all the heavy lifting. You just bring the student. And yes, access to the LMS is free. Instruction is on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Here are some links to overviews of popular courses:





[1] “Leaders and Trend-Setters All Agree on One Thing.” http://www.Code.org.

[2] Hinsliff, Gaby. “Should Your Kids Learn to Code?” The Guardian. 03 Dec. 2015.

[3] “Deep Shift: 21 Ways Software Will Transform Global Society.” World Economic Forum.

[4] “How Smartphones and Mobile Internet Have Changed Our Lives.” TestObject.com.

[5] “National Curriculum in England: Computing Programmes of Study.” GOV.UK.


  1. https://careerkarma.com/blog/what-is-coding-used-for/
  2. https://www.goodcore.co.uk/blog/what-is-coding/
  3. https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology/blog/why-learn-to-code/
  4. https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-major-reasons-you-need-coding-skills-even-if-you-dont-want-to-be-an-engineer