The Importance of Teaching the Fundamentals of Programming

Rebecca Lawton

PR Assistant

I never met a problem that cheese couldn't solve.

Today is Programming for Primaries Awareness Day and the beginning of British Science Week. We’re marking these events by reflecting on why we deliver coding sessions to primary schools and why it’s so important to learn IT skills in this ever-changing digital age.

We’re passionate about closing the digital skills gap and one way we can do this is by educating young people on what a career in the tech industry can offer. Not only is our mission to have a positive impact on the community – if you know about us, you know our ethos – but the next generation is extremely important to us. They’re our future!

Looking back at how technology has advanced over the years, the potential for further innovation is exciting. Young people today will be the developers of the future, so gaining an interest in programming will help them to acquire relevant skills and offer the option of a great career.

We spend a vast amount of time volunteering at schools, whether this be for code club, coding sessions, or career events. Giving young people the option of a career in tech is crucial for the future and will help to close the digital skills gap in the long term.

Years ago, we weren’t so dependent on technology. Social media didn’t exist and we didn’t really text each other or use apps. Yet tech has increasingly taken over our lives. Teaching people the importance of programming from a young age will help to expand their skill set for the future.

It’s hard to imagine a life without software. Without picking up your phone or logging on to a website, regrettably Googling symptoms and asking your Amazon Echo to play you a song. The tech market is growing fast – and we need to educate people who are passionate enough to manage it.

So how do we teach the fundamentals of programming? We run a code club every Thursday at a local school during term time, using platforms to introduce students to coding at beginner level. Also on Thursdays, we run a Coderdojo at Hack Oldham, a co-working and makerspace in the heart of Oldham. The session sees attendees learning how to code basic computers such as Raspberry Pis and Micro:Bits. They use various platforms based on their level, and keep growing and improving.

We also attend careers events to excite young people about the possibilities of what a career in programming can teach them, showing them how to light up an LED and how to spin a motor by using code. We also regularly help our community by teaching sessions on coding to teachers when the topic arises.

It’s exciting to think how many young people we’ve introduced to the tech industry – and we’re determined to keep it up, educating and coding for the future.