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Preparing For The Future: Why Coding Is A 21st Century Skill That We Must Learn To Master

The demand for computing skills has growntremendously in Southeast Asia, with Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia leadingthe way.

As a testament to this, coding is now evenoffered as an enrichment programme in Singapore schools just like music andballet, as the country establishes itself as a tech hub.

In 2017, computing was actually offered as an O-level subjectat Secondary 3 across 19 schools. 6 IP schools and junior colleges also offercomputing as an A-level subject.

Malaysia has also added coding to the nationalschool curriculum, and is currently offered to Year 6 and secondary school students. From2020 onwards, coding will also be taught through the Design and Technologysubject to Year 4, 5 and 6 students.

Meanwhile, Thailand announced last year that it is aiming to train 10 million young Thais in coding and computer science over three years through CodingThailand.org. This website is designed to foster an interest in computing, especially for those without access to computer science education in the more rural areas.

With the strong push in coding education regionally, it’s clear that digital literacy is important in preparing us for the future, which will be driven by more computing technology.

But What Exactly Is The Real Value In Coding?

From building a website to developing an app,there are so many real-world coding applications that can solve everydayproblems. It also helps power our digital world, like social media, onlinebanking, self-driving cars and robotics.

While many think that coding only benefitscoders and programmers, it is actually a valuable skill that helps you ineveryday life and in any industry that deals with computers – which is justabout everything.

In the words of the indelible Steve Jobs,“Everyone should know how to program a computer because it teaches you how tothink”.

In order to communicate with the computer, youneed to order your thoughts in a logical, structured way. This way of thinkingsharpens your reasoning and problem-solving skills and you’ll be able to seeproblems from a different angle, and logical solutions will become more easilyapparent.

Having a background in coding is also anessential 21st-century skill, and is something that will come in handy in anycareer path you might pursue. Think about it — barely any discipline orprofession today remains untouched by computation.

With the rise of technological advancementslike AI and robots, over 2 million jobs are set to be created by2020. These jobs of the future will come with new demands, and coding — alongwith STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education — willbe as important as reskilling in order to stay relevant.

Coding also complements and reinforces other important fundamental skills, such as problem-solving and teamwork. It is an extension of critical and creative thinking, develops logic, and accelerates the power and potential of individuals to innovate and unlock possibilities to create new things.

Want To Master The Language?

It’s clear that coding is the language of the future, and given thatdisruption takes place at breakneck speed, there is no better time to startthan now.

Asthe saying goes, the future belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Codingmight sound like a complex thing to learn, but it’s actually easier than youthink — all it takes is just a bit of practice!

Youngchildren can start learning conceptually with drag-and-drop programming apps likeScratch and Hopscotch, while those who are seeking basic coding knowledge canlearn more about traditional programming languages like JavaScript, Python andRuby.

At the upcoming SG:Digital Wonderland 2019 organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), technology familiarisation is the underlying theme and you can attend free workshops and have fun learning about coding and digital making.

Formerly known as Tech Saturday (Upsized!), Singapore’s largest tech carnival is a two-day event that lets everyone — regardless of age — discover, experience and innovate with technology.

Youcan witness talented Singapore youths battle it out to solve real-worldproblems for good social causes using technology in the Tech for Good codingcompetitions.

On18 May, there is a computer programming competition Code Quest organised by Lockheed Martin where teams of 2 to 3 (aged 14 to18) will work together for 2.5 hours to solve problems with JAVA, Python,VB.net, C and/or C++ programming to complete the “quest”.

Thereis also a 3D Tronic Digital Making for Good Challenge, where participants canshowcase their skills in digital making and coding for good social causes. Thischallenge is open to the public, and keen participants can submit theirregistrations here until 15 May.

Onthe second day, there is also a Build On, Singapore 2019 hackathon — jointlyorganised by IMDA, GovTech, Singapore Polytechnic and Amazon Web Services (AWS)— that challenges students to create a safe and smart home environment forseniors and persons with disabilities using technology.

ATech for Good Exhibition, organised by students and the people from Engineeringfor Good and Tech Pals, will be taking place on both days. It will showcasetech prototypes that are developed specifically for digitally at-risk groupssuch as special needs kids and seniors with dementia.

In addition, the event will host Youth Innovation Showcase and Awards 2019, which celebrates and recognises innovative and cutting-edge tech prototypes of students from the Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore and around the region.

Beyondthese, you can also discover how to enhance your personal digital defence andinteract with the latest AI-powered robots, as well as challenge yourself to agame of Augmented Reality dodgeball or shoot some VR zombies at the DigitalMedia Playground.

Checkhere for a full list of activities anddon’t forget to mark your calendar for a fun-filled weekend! There’s bound tobe something for everyone, so make a date with your friends or bring yourfamily and kids down!

SG:Digital Wonderland 201918 and 19 May, 11am to 8pm Suntec City Convention Centre (Hall 404-406) Admission is free

Featured Image Credit: Sg Code Campus

This article waswritten in collaboration with Infocomm Media Development Authority.

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