Learning to code has become a cult lately. Everybody wants to learn to code. Everybody wants everybody else to learn to code. Most people see it as the only future-proof career path, and important people in the code world have influenced that thought. Mark Zuckerberg and many other Silicon Valley biggies are pushing to bring about a change in the education system by making code part of the curriculum. President Obama is pushing for legislation to make Computer Science mandatory in all schools. There is a movement in support, “Learn to code”, and as crazy as it may sound, some people even want to declare code as one of the language of the world!
Why is code being romanticised?
According to a fact sheet from the White House, nine out of ten parents surveyed last year in the USA said they wanted Computer Science to be taught in schools.
Explosion of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence have paved way to numerous applications of code. Automation is the order of the day, and code would give man the power to reign and a secure job for life. Or that’s what we think. The analysts are right about the education system requiring a change. But is what they suggest, the right way to go about it?
No, it is not. We Indians know that from our experiences because that is just what we have been doing; first pushing students to become Engineers
, and then programmers. We took it to a whole other level when we disregarded their major in engineering, and hired qualified Civil Engineers and Mechanical Engineers to code. Why would a student who has invested 4 valuable years of his life learning about Civil Engineering, or any other for that matter, abandon it and take up a job as a programmer?
They think code would give them the financial freedom no other career could offer them. They are right; code does pay. But not all who code are capable enough of earning a fat paycheck. And there is the illusion of job security
. Students get influenced by a few people who excelled in the field, like Mark Zukerberg, Sergey Brin and Larry Page for instance. But what became of all those students who took up programming regardless of their interest and education? Were they all as successful as their role models? How employable are they?
Sadly, less than 4% of those students are readily employable in technical roles in highly demanding work environments. More shocking stats as follows:
Code isn’t for everyone. That is a good thing.
The employability statistics are proof that code certainly is not for everybody. In fact, there is no one field of study suitable for everyone. Every niche requires certain levels of motivation which the individual should be capable of. Sans that will result in mediocrity, which sadly, most people are fine by. On the other hand, according to Business Insider
, there are a lot of over-qualified engineers who are handling monotonous tasks just because they value their employment at Google more than doing what they love and were trained to do. When Google automates tasks like these, which it definitely will, even Google’s employees will be left without a job security. What’s even worse is that they would have been stripped of their will to pursue, and left too devastated to continue or switch.
The line between learning to code and getting paid to program as a profession is not an easy line to cross. – TechCrunch
Education Needs To Be More Personalised Than Standardised.
Schools and parents should understand that making code compulsory in schools will only exert a pressure to prove, even to a student who would have excelled effortlessly at something he is naturally inclined toward. That is the only way to ensure no student will be left behind, ever. It is not enough that the mission statement is so ambitious; every action should take the society closer to realisation of that dream.
1. Every student is unique, and is interested in different topics. There is no way one fixed curriculum comprising a set of subjects that we think are important, can do good to every student alike. The very curriculum intended to educate could become the reason why many students drop out of school.
2. When students are taught subjects that they are interested in, they are motivated to learn and perform well.
3. The focus should ideally be on improving problem-solving skills and cognitive thinking, so that students can apply them in whatever field they choose; not making one path mandatory to all students.