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Management

Have you done your hour of coding this week?

At least one out of every 10 students worldwide is expected to have took part in the “Hour of Code” programme this week. Business executives should embrace initiatives such as this too, to support the learning of coding skills

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 10:56am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 10:25pm

Have you done your hour of computer programming this week? If not, it’s not too late.

This is Computer Science Education Week which is dedicated to trying to encourage more people to embrace the digital technology skills required in our increasingly tech-oriented world.

But, of course, the aim is to remind people that coding is a lifelong endeavour.

“Hour of Code” events were launched in 2013 by Code.org, a non-profit organisation dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and under-represented minorities.

It is essentially an introduction to computer science designed to demystify computer coding.

The programme reaches millions of students through a one-hour introduction to coding and computer science. It’s available in more than 45 languages in more than 180 countries.

In Hong Kong, many schools and venues such as Apple’s shops hosted events during the week; promoting the value of coding education to the public in a systematic approach. There are also sessions on December 9 and 17 via CityU apps Lab.

The Hour of Code campaign has already led to more than 450 million hours of code being completed.

To date, at least one out of every 10 students worldwide has taken part in the Hour of Code programme.

Business executives should also embrace programmes such as this to support learning coding skills.

You can help by leading coding tutorial sessions in your own business, and encouraging staff to take the time out to commit the hour themselves and with their children.

Accenture employees across the world have pledged to complete more than 10,000 hours of code and lead coding tutorial sessions during the week. Furthermore, Accenture Technology has created a coding tutorial that gives students a better understanding of artificial intelligence (AI).

The more we as business leaders commit to helping young people around the world build computers and take on scientific, technology, engineering and math skills – STEM skills – the better we arm our future workforce who will be immersed in a digital world.

During these events students discover how various AI techniques can teach a robot to explore a new planet, for instance, including recognising animals and plants, understanding a new language, and conversing with inhabitants.

The more we as business leaders commit to helping young people around the world build computers and take on scientific, technology, engineering and math skills – STEM skills – the better we arm our future workforce who will be immersed in a digital world.

Computer science opens more doors for students than any other discipline in today’s world. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.

And it’s never too late to be a student – encouraging your staff to be open to learning, and recognising those qualities in employees is good management.

For many students of all ages, though, the thought of coding is daunting. It’s viewed as the remit of the “smart kids”.

For many parents, too much screen time is viewed as a no-no. But the reality is that coding isn’t just for the top percentile of school students, and not all screen time is equal.

Gamification of learning is on a different plane than games with no educational purpose. Indeed, increasingly businesses use games to teach updated skills because frankly, it’s more fun and makes it easier to remember.

But the bottom line is that by encouraging coding for both students and employees, technology is creating jobs that didn’t even exist five years ago and learning to code can transform the trajectory of a student’s life and career.

Moses Tse is a Hong Kong-based Accenture managing director, health & public service

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