I believe that our future will be built through billions of lines of code, however, the word coding is misused, and I think we need to protect its meaning or explain what it can really do to change lives.
We must vet programs claiming to teach coding to girls and boys. Creating awareness around coding and getting kids exposed and excited is great but teaching them how to really code should be the end goal for these programs. Let’s minimise buzzwords and actually teach.
As a full-stack developer, I get really alarmed when I read on social media or press releases that African governments have engaged themselves into coding programs to make themselves look relevant. This is toally misleading and as technologists, we should call it out. We are responsible for how information is put out there in public and if we see that the coding programs are not solid or will not benefit the public, we must call it out before it is too late.
So what is coding?
Coding is the act of using a set of rules and instructions, written in a specific programming language, that helps us talk to machines.
You can use code to convert information such as letter, word, sound, image or gesture into an into another form or representation, sometimes shortened or secret, for communication through a communication channel.
Just as humans speak different languages, so do machines. There are hundreds of programming languages, each suited to different tasks.
For example, coding languages can be used to decode problems or improve lives. A smart coder understands the problems worth fixing.
Some of the coding languages that I use to teach, train and help other women and girls are:
To code, you need to know for example is Coffee Script, HTML or Python.
HTML, for example, was first developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990. HTML is short for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is used to create electronic documents (called pages) that are displayed on the World Wide Web. Each page contains a series of connections to other pages called hyperlinks. Every web page you see on the Internet is written using one version of HTML code or another.
I beg people in government to call real coders or experts to advise them on how to make their Digital programs work. Learning how to code is a skill that must be developed very early on in schools. Goverment investing in disciplines such as STEAMED (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship, and Design) education is absolutely critical.