How do I know if my kid is oriented to coding?

Coders come in all shapes and sizes. They solve complex problems like guiding a rocket to the moon, calculating the decay rate of nuclear material, or determine the next prime number. But they also design and code beautiful websites and develop incredible games that keep teenagers glued for hours or days.   I am not going to talk here about the benefits of coding.  There has been much written on the subject including here from me.

Coding isn’t just about knowing a lot of math and physics.  It’s about solving problems and creating technology that improve people’s lives. For this last reason alone, it’s important that we have a diverse workforce who can see and solve all sides of the complex problems we face today.

Being good at math isn’t everything. My math teachers can attest that I wasn’t at the top of my math class. Seeing things logically is important since most of what we do as coders is mixing logic with coding languages.

With all this said, what should you as a parent look for to get an idea of whether your child is predisposed to liking programming or working with technology in general?

Here are a few things to look for. Even one of these could mean they would be a good student as a coder:

  • They are good at math. This doesn’t mean they are a prodigy. Rather, they seem to pick it up quickly or are willing to keep at it until they understand it.
  • They are a logical thinker.  Some kids show this skill with charm from an early age. They question everything you do and seem well organized for their age. Other may still have enough of this skill, but it is overshadowed by just being a kid. It is enough, even if you see even small moments of logic in your child.
  • They are very creative. There are kids that always need someone to tell them what to do next and those who seem to always have something they are doing. This latter group of kids play using make believe and make up their own games and regimes and worlds.  This might sound like most kids, but I am talking about the leaders rather than the followers.
  • They are great problem solvers. This one is a bit of each the others combined, but sometimes it shows itself in different ways. They might like to play detective or love playing games where you have to use their mind. Rather than always coming to you with problems, every now and then they figure them out on their own.
  • They play chess or Minecraft or role player games like dungeons and dragons or like to spend a lot of time at a computer doing new things. These types of things build critical thinking skills while being fun.

I am sure this isn’t an exhaustive list.  There are always going to be kids that show none of this and end up as programmers.  Some of the brightest minds we know have little interest in coding.  Therefore, above everything else, the key to your kid being good at programming is really about them having an interest in it.  Tests the waters with a book or a website.  To find out more about what you can do to encourage your kid, go to this site.