The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Programming Languages: Path to Successful Careers for Children
In a previous confession, The Importance of Learning Programming Languages, I spoke about my own experience of having learned a programming language at a young age, and while it was never my intention to turn to making a living as a programmer, a coder, or a web designer, it surely came in handy after I graduated college, volunteered overseas, ran out of money, and was desperate for a job, and for money. Having a college degree in psychology did not lead to any callbacks, either. I turned to the only option I knew at the time that did not involve borrowing money from a bank, going back to college, or mooching off my parents or begging them to help me out. I turned to Craigslist, and after applying to over 50 jobs across the entire board, I received a response back from a company that developed and sold Automotive Collision Estimation Software.
The job barely paid me anything a respectable programmer could hope to make, but I was desperate for a job, desperate for work, and desperate for money, and I settled on what could probably be considered minimum wage for a computer software engineer. However, I have no regrets about settling for the poor salary, because what I learned would be extremely valuable to me for my future jobs and careers. It helped me because I had not been employed for over a year, having spent the year volunteering instead, and I did not have real-world programming experience at an actual company, but I remained there for over a year and a half, which put me on the map for experience, knowledge, and in demand from other jobs.
Every parent wants their child to be successful nowadays, enrolling them in any and every activity before school, during school, and after school. While it is a wonderful and fulfilling experience for both parent and child to be well-rounded and be successful in a variety of different activities, not many parents actually think about this one activity that will not only teach their children about logic and reasoning, but lead them on the path to a very successful and fulfilling career of making lots of money (and hopefully taking care of you in the process), and usually feeling good about doing it as well.
While it is never a good idea to force your child to do anything they do not want to do, especially when it comes to the advanced concept of a programming language, getting them to understand the concept of programming or even finding a way to make programming fun, such as first speaking with them about the idea of programming, making something on the computer, coding applications, and the possibilities and opportunities it presents may help entice the idea in them and make them want to learn something new.
Programming will not always be the most fun thing to do, and if given a choice, it probably would not be a child’s first choice of an activity, but the benefits of getting them to want to learn, learning with them, or even teaching them, or having them teach you, could prove to be a very stable career or job in the future.
There are very few people making the “next big thing” and actually changing the world. The truth is that many children are hardly destined for greatness because they are so accustomed to being “followers of technology” rather than “leaders of technology.” The idea of teaching them a programming language is to get them to stop being followers of technology and start creating and understanding the logic behind technology.
Followers of technology are consumers who simply use the technology without knowing anything about it, thus technology hardly ever fully reaches its potential. Followers of technology take technology for granted, rather than learning and understanding the concept of how the transistors and capacitors work together to deliver electricity, powering up a system based on binary code that allows for a visual screen with full RGB high-definition colors, and many applications that perform many useful functions.
Start seeing a future for your child and teaching them to see their own future that involves more than just being in the general service industry. Teach them the ideas behind changing the world through computers and technology. They are the generation that can change the way we use technology and expand its true potential, rather than just being mindless human beings who are simply waiting for the next piece of technology to come out so they can buy it and get it into their hands.
It does not matter what programming language they learn, though your child should probably learn a language that is being used and is popular around the world, but in learning any language, they should start to become familiar with the logic and syntax of at least one language. Learning the basics of one and you can pretty much understand them all. If possible, learn a programming language with your child and make yourself marketable as well. Consider learning any programming language insurance for your child’s future. They could do anything in the world from becoming a teacher, a dancer, a singer, a gas station attendant, a movie director, an actor, or anything else, but to have the knowledge of programming to fall back on if things do not go as planned is of great value to your child and their future.
Sign them up for free at Team Tree House or CodeAcademy, sit down with them for a few lessons, and learn a new skill. There are plenty of other websites designed to make learning programming languages more fun. Help ensure not just your child’s future, but your own. Unless of course, you don’t mind supporting, taking care of, and giving your child all your money well past their rightful adult age of 18 years old. I know plenty of adult children still living at home rent-free who have no qualms or guilt about leeching off their older parents.
If they are not up for programming and just have no desire to learn, don’t hesitate to find other interests, specifically in Digital Media, Animation, Dronography & Videography, 3-D Modeling, or even Content and Story Creation, with free programs such as Microsoft Paint, Photoshop (GIMP), Blender, or Sketchup, all of which are a great entry into the world of graphic design. Job positions for social media optimization and media marketing and branding are also in demand. There are plenty of other applications and areas for your child to learn and possessing those type of skills are just as in demand. Explore the Internet, explore the unlimited possibilities and opportunities for the future of your child’s career, and most importantly, expose them to the wondrous world of programming.