|By David O’Brien,
Vice-President, Government Services at Eagle
In a recent conversation with a couple of young millennials, it struck me — as I blabbered on bemoaning the fact that schools no longer teach cursive, these two well-educated , tech savvy new entrants in to the workforce bowled me over with the idea that they themselves were worried about their own potential pending dinosaur moment. Explain?
Completely cognizant of the pace of change, I was informed that just as I as a boomer sometimes feel a step or two (okay maybe a full lap or two) behind on tech pace, they too are fearful that they will be the proverbial deer in headlights as the generation just behind them rolls in. Why? Coding.
Coding, it now would seem, is the new cursive in schools. The coming generation of kids is the first to have started with tablets and other technology pieces from kindergarten on. While these millennials are the most tech savvy generation in the workforce, if the new advocates of coding as an essential subject in school like math or science have their way, the next generation will be much better suited for the workforce and likely to be the most innovative generation ever.
A new national curriculum in England has every primary school and secondary school, that’s nearly 20,000 schools, with computer science as a mandatory subject starting at age 5, just like Math and English. In Canada, Nova Scotia has also implemented coding in primary grades while PEI and other provinces are evaluating it. Let’s be clear, though, this movement is all about coding. As opposed to the traditional Computer Science programs, these classes teach the computer code that drives the traditional programming. Kids who are already familiar with navigating already built programs go deeper to build new and innovative programs. It’s potentially an education revolution that Canadian schools need to get on board with like the UK, US, Australia and Holland.
The longer run game is that these kids will increase interest in choosing Computer Science in University and of course create both the workforce of the future and the new innovators for startups that competitive economies will so desperately need in the years ahead.
As the aforementioned millennials so rightly recognized, they too need to continue to learn and grow for fear some 8 year old coming along will make them feel the shivers Boomers have been dealing with for years… the circle of life.