Why is Coding Important for High School Students?

Posted on January 18, 2023 | Updated on May 29, 2023

High schoolers are at an often-challenging crossroads in their life. They have just passed the threshold of early teendom and are now navigating newfound freedoms and burgeoning maturity. In just a few short years, these teens will enter the new campuses of college or the career field. There is often societal pressure for these kids to find their true passion in these years, and many of them do not know where to turn for a potential future. 

Many exciting opportunities come to mind, but coding continues to be essential for high school students. Explore the benefits of computer literacy and creativity in our modern age and why coding is important for high school students. 

1. The Digital Landscape

When high schoolers learn to code, they become more adept at understanding the digital landscape. Today’s children have already grown up in a world of extreme technological change, but the rate at which technology progresses means that there is always something new to learn. 

Computer science is a quickly growing industry, with 45% of schools including these studies in their curriculum. The lure of a better, well-paying computer science or digital communications job is enticing, but even students with no technological career aspirations should consider learning to code. 

Along with a myriad of brain benefits, a future job might involve mid-level computer skills that these students could learn early on and carry with them into these situations. Because of a high reliance on computers and technology in the modern age, pursuing coding in high school is an obvious choice. 

2. Problem-Solving Skills

Coding strengthens the brain in a few key ways. One such skill is problem-solving. This means figuring out logic and working through trial and error with a patient and clear mind. Good problem solvers can also prioritize tasks to understand processes.

Professional developers are expert problem solvers as they troubleshoot to achieve their end result. Young people who are coders now have critical experience in solving their problems and getting to the root of issues, which can then strengthen their approach to other subjects like math and science. 

3. Computational Thinking

Computational thinking urges students to think like a computer. This involves chopping problems into bite-sized pieces and revealing patterns in error or behavior. While the spontaneity of the human mind is something to be valued, thinking like a computer helps people to problem solve and understand complex concepts more quickly. 

4. Cultivating Creativity

Whether creating a website, game, or widget, developing requires a healthy dose of creativity. Essentially, the coder is creating a virtual world where they can change the appearance and rules of the land. The play of trial and error when developing is a great way for students to experiment and deal with small doses of failure. Their wonky websites or glitchy games introduce difficult and imperfect projects that still promote a sense of accomplishment.

Experimenting and playing in the world of coding allows students to maintain their sense of creativity and build this passion. 

5.  Start Your Passion Young

Clearly, coding has substantial benefits, but why would anyone single out high schoolers? For one, more than half of surveyed developers found that they wrote their first line before their 16th birthday. Beginner introductions to coding exist online and can supplement that need for passion and creative outlet early on. Starting early gives the kid a headstart on key concepts and can instill a lifelong lover of learning. 

6. More Maturity

Although starting at an early age is beneficial for a jumpstart on success and passion, starting too early may extinguish that flame of “fun.” When kids reach high school, they are better equipped to find extrinsic motivations like good college applications and an enticing career like video game developer and robotics engineer. 

With a new sense of freedom as they reach adulthood, students also recognize more intrinsic motivation for interests that lure them into projects. Furthermore, older kids can interpret abstract concepts that might elude younger children. With more maturity comes a better chance of succeeding in the coding landscape. 

7. An Exciting Future 

As touched on above, high schoolers are at a prime time to cultivate skills. What they learn now can accompany them into new jobs or universities, and those concrete skills look impressive in applications. Regardless of the future of these students, they can benefit from problem-solving, computational and creative thinking skills. 

Furthermore, many positions in the office sphere require basic computing skills and could expand into managing a website or computing data in a spreadsheet. Having this base of knowledge will be incredibly invaluable to the application process and career development. 

Coding experience also shows that students are go-getters. Taking the time to learn the ins and outs of computer programming is not something that every child takes up in their spare time, so it sets them apart in various processes. Having tangible experience with learning on your feet and being intrinsically motivated goes a long way in interviews. 

To expand oneself and gain expansive credentials in the future, high schoolers should consider picking up coding tutorials. 

8.  Digital Literacy

If the ability to create in the digital landscape is important, the ability to comprehend is even more so. People with digital literacy engage with technology in a complex way, understanding the nuances of virtual communication and methodology. This can pertain to proper manners and civility when communicating with people online, but also a certain level of discretion and safety. Ethical topics, like doxxing and cyberbullying are also under this umbrella. 

Perhaps most topically is the ability to discern reliable sources of information. In a world of misleading headlines and false news, rising adults need the skills to understand what is credible. By immersing themselves in the technological sphere when coding, these students will have a direct look at how these systems work and how to better interact with online people and content. 

9. The Power of Grit

Finally, coding teaches high schoolers tenacity. Grit, as explained by Angela Duckworth in her bestselling book, is all about the internal desire to persevere even when projects turn to challenges. With long lines of code, there is often one small mistake that alters the look of the whole project, and it can be painstaking work to proofread these lines. However, engaging in this practice teaches a commitment to success even when it becomes tough. 

Learning Resources

After addressing why coding is important for high school students, how do teachers and organizations implement programs and incentives for developers in training? Implementing coding resources in schools can include:

  • Inviting professional developers to host talks and workshops with students to get them interested in computer science as a field
  • Offering more computer science classes and high-level coding courses like AP 
  • Starting a club or organization for learning to code
  • Offering learning resources like Code.org, where students can play free games and use coding skills
  • Software like Microsoft Makecode teaches kids about robots, circuits, and other tangible creations sparked by computer science. 

Coding a Better Future

For high school students, parents, teachers and other industry professionals, introducing coding at a young age is a momentous event. Students expand their skills and education, and professionals have a stronger pool of young people with passion and grit. Encouraging the growth of young developers is something to nourish in all communities. 

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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