By Steve Thomson
When do you start preparing for job interviews?
As the demand for technology skills increases, many young people may find themselves wishing they’d started their preparation years in advance by learning skills such as coding.
The world is changing quickly, and our education system needs to keep up in order to help equip B.C.’s students with the tools they need to succeed in tomorrow’s global job market.
That’s why B.C.’s recent curriculum changes included an innovative commitment to have every student learn basic coding by the end of Grade 9 by the beginning of 2018/19 school year.
It will also give them the opportunity to further specialize in electronics and robotics or information and communications technologies in high school.
Recent B.C. Stats figures showed that our technology sector currently employs over 100,000 people. As this sector continues to boom, tech-savvy young people and parents with an eye to their future will certainly see the value of learning to code.
However, there is also reason to expect that coding will soon be applicable across a much broader spectrum of jobs than just those in the tech sector – if it isn’t already.
According to analysis done by the American startup Burning Glass Technologies and recently published in The Economist, 49 per cent of online job postings in the highest-paying quartile in the United States are jobs for which coding skills are frequently required.
But of course, there’s also more to life than getting a “good” job.
When I dropped in on a teacher-training coding session at UBCO at the end of January, I was also reminded that the foundational skills necessary for coding are applicable beyond the job market, making them worth learning even for those who have no interest in pursuing a career that could involve coding.
For instance, when my younger grandkids – or your kids and grandkids – learn to code at school, they won’t just be learning about computers and algorithms.
They’ll be learning the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that form the basis of coding, which also happen to be key skills they’ll need to succeed in life, regardless of their career choices.
By providing this broadly applicable skill base for our province’s next generation, we’re helping to equip them for success in adulthood, in the knowledge economy of the future – and in job interviews that are still years down the road.