The Bay Area has long been known as the birthplace of technological innovation. It is only fitting that high schools situated in the heart of the Bay Area would be at the forefront of technological education. However, the school has only recently caught on to the importance of teaching students the ability to code.
This year, the school brought on a new computer science teacher. Nalini Suresh, Computer Science Department, is teaching AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A. With 13 years of experience in the high-tech industry, she is excited to bring her background and knowledge of coding to students at the school.
“Coding is an extremely important skill for students to learn in this day and age. Students today will grow up to become the next generation of computer science professionals. Coding is just like any other language, a universal language that is essential to modern-day life,” Suresh said.
Enthusiasm for coding among students at the school has been trending upwards in the past few years. Many students have taken it upon themselves to educate others about their passion for coding. Campus initiatives such as Code One Programming and Hack on Track introduce local elementary and middle school students to coding and create mentorship programs for young kids. Clubs such as the iOS App Club, Computer Science Club and Girls Who Code Club look to further expand interest in coding at the school.
“The iOS App Club was created to teach students how to code in Swift and take advantage of code libraries to build apps. From what I have seen and heard, the computer science field is becoming more and more competitive. This club functions to help students explore the concept of coding and prepare for a possible future career in coding,” Senior Jeff Kim said.
As the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related careers increase, it becomes increasingly more crucial to expose young kids to coding. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that software developer jobs are expected to rise 24 percent between 2016 and 2024. Teaching coding to students at a young age is essential in preparing them for potential future jobs and lives in a world dominated by technology. Specifically for the Bay Area, coding and STEM skills are required for almost every high-tech career. Jobs ranging from research to investment banking all utilize coding—whether that be in the form of creating spreadsheets or making statistical graphs.
Although there is no mandate for coding classes in the US, other countries such as the UK have made these classes a compulsory aspect of their academic curriculum. Learning to code is more than just meeting the qualifications of a future job—it also teaches essential skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking. The difference in educational requirements between UK and US students may be the reason why UK students score higher than US students in each of the three categories (math, reading and science) on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a comprehensive exam that evaluates 15-year-olds in 72 countries across the world. Coding teaches 21st-century skills that prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s future.
As coding becomes increasingly important in today’s society, it is crucial that students are prepared for the future. Expanding the accessibility of coding can help raise the next generation of students to be innovators and world-changers.