Sponsored: What is Coding? (And Why Kids Should Learn It!)

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016 10:30am

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Yukōdit is an innovative learning center in Montclair, which engages kids in coding, design thinking and entrepreneurship activities. To learn more, parents and children are invited to attend an upcoming Open House Information Session (space is limited): RSVP FOR OPEN HOUSE

While speaking to people in the community about Yukōdit, many have asked: “What is Coding?”

It’s a great question!

Coding (Software development) is the art and science of telling a computer what to do.

Many of you may still be wondering:
(a) what is it that a software developer actually does?
(b) why would I want my kid to learn to code?

To start with, Computers are big fat, power-hungry idiots.

A computer has no inherent intelligence. It is incapable of making decisions for itself.

A computer is only able to execute the instructions that a programmer has written for it in a language it understands. These instructions are generally known as an algorithm. [1]

Algorithms
are sets of instructions for the computer that are written in a computer language.

A computer language is a set of words (called tokens) that a computer can interpret as commands.

For example: Imagine a computer programmer wants to write some text on a computer screen. The program might look something like this: PRINT “DO YOU WANT TO PLAY A GAME?”

The computer programmer then gives the list of instructions to the computer (the algorithm) and tells it to execute them.

The computer willingly does so, as it understands that PRINT means “take the text enclosed in quotes following this word and write it on the screen.”

The programmer sits smugly at the keyboard as they imagine that they are Matthew Broderick and/or Ally Sheedy in the 1980s.

From a tiny acorn a mighty oak will grow

Obviously computers are capable of far more than repeating cool quotations from 80’s movies.

A typical computer language has hundreds of words (tokens) that are used to give commands to the computer. A developer who knows a language will also understand how to combine the words into a syntax that is able to be interpreted by the computer.

So, a programmer will write code, give it to the computer, and the result is the computer does exactly what it is told to do.

No deviations or choices are allowed.

If the computer is wrong, the programmer is wrong.
On the job, this is a harsh reality to face for a programmer, and it is especially frustrating those nights when a deadline is staring you in the face or an angry customer is on the phone asking you why your software is broken.

The truth is, somewhere along the line, a programmer was wrong.

To be totally honest, though, that is why it is fun!

Why should kids learn how to code?

As parents, we all want the best for our children. We also love challenging them and encouraging their creative and technical sides.

Coding provides a way for your children to participate in the digital world into which they have been born.

Software development is a well-paid, growing and exciting industry in need of talented kids who love to design and create. [2]

Learning to code is one of the most practical gifts that you can give to your children, as it will provide a solid foundation for them to succeed in our digital world.

Check out Yukōdit Learning Center in Montclair to learn more: RSVP FOR YUKODIT OPEN HOUSE

Classes start in September for kids ages 4-18 at all levels.

YUKODIT – 581 Valley Road (at St. James Church), Upper Montclair. Phone: (415) YUKODIT
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Tidbit for your next fact-battle: algorithms are named after 8th-century Persian polymath Al-Khwārizmī

See: https://code.org/promote

Mike Halbert, with his giirls, is the co-founder of Yukōdit Montclair

Mike Halbert, with his girls, is the co-founder of Yukōdit Montclair

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