Cyber Corner by Keno Ogbo

CODING IS THE WAY FORWARD

We have to face facts – the world is changing. We’re becoming more technology-obsessed, and it seems impossible to avoid this trend. Even children are affected. The simplest of toys on high street shelves have a digital edge, from sensors to automated music. So perhaps that is why the UK Government took a massive step and added coding to the core school curriculum.

What is coding, then? Coding is simply a language that gets a computer to execute a number of instructions. So, rather than just being an end user and a consumer, coding enables you to be a producer. By teaching children to code, they begin to understand the sequence and logic behind technology, even if they are not interested in technology-based jobs. So why teach children to code?

They say that you should teach children a different language while they are young, because this is when they find it easiest to learn. Our brains are more easily able to absorb so much information at this young age that it becomes second nature. There are a few apps and child-friendly technology that introduce children to the basics of coding.

A future in coding

It is a good idea to introduce your children to coding, or to encourage them to learn to program, rather than just playing computer games. Young people spend a lot of time on computers and mobile devices. Unfortunately, most of this time is spent as consumers: taking selfies, using Snapchat, uploading images to Instagram and reading through Facebook statuses. Why not turn this around and help them use their mobile devices as producers or creators? Introduce apps and platforms that help them build games, build a website or a simple web application.

How can a knowledge of coding help adults?

Firstly, it sets people up for all sorts of jobs. Also, once you know a skill like this, it opens up various opportunities for different jobs and learning new skills. Employers like employees that are able to code and use computers well. The world as we know it today is going increasingly digital. Most processes, services and products have a digital element. In addition, company departments, sales, marketing and production are all delivered by technology.

Coding

How understanding coding helped me build my digital agency

I learnt how to build simple web applications when I set up my Digital Agency. My core expertise and experience was helping businesses achieve their business objectives using technology – in particular, their websites. I ensured that websites were designed and built to achieve pre-defined goals. I designed the user experience, making sure that the brand experience was consistent across all channels – from the office, to printed materials, to the customer service, etc – all this had to be consistent with the website’s objectives.

I did not need to know how to code, but learning code certainly helped me convey my ideas using prototypes, and make the right decisions for my clients. I could communicate better with my technical team, and work was done faster and more quickly, because I could easily see how a well-written program would achieve my clients’ business objectives.

CODING IS NOT THE ‘IN’ THING

We hear stories of people like Mark Zuckerberg, who started writing code as a young boy before writing the code for Facebook, which is now worth billions of dollars. However, coding should not be seen as the ‘in’ thing or as a way to get rich quickly. You can compare your coding skills to the X Factor contestants: not everyone is great, some people don’t have good ideas, and only one person at the end of the day gets the prize. As an entrepreneur, you may want to communicate your ideas with a prototype. Getting a developer to build a prototype may be expensive but, with some programming skills, you can build a simple web application to explain your idea. You can then use this visual example to get feedback from a focus group, and perhaps raise funding or build a team.

INTERESTED IN CODING?

Coding is easy, and you can do it yourself using a number of online learning platforms. Here are a few you can try.

Code academy  (www.codecademy.com/)

Sign up for free and learn how to build a website using HTML and CSS. You can also practise and learn other languages, such as jQuery, Javascript and PHP. Courses on Code Academy are interactive and take you from beginner level.

code.org/learn

Your children will love code.org, and they are currently encouraging to get kids to sign up for an hour of code. Currently, the website features an hour of code inspired by the movie Frozen, using visual blocks which children can drop and drag to create programs. Free up an hour of your time and share this website with your children today.

KENO OGBO is the CEO of Spiral Web Solutions, a digital marketing agency helping organisations achieve results online. Call Keno on 07958 004 739 or email keno@spiralwebsolutions.com to book a complimentary 45 minute strategy session. 

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