Top 5 Reasons To Learn Coding

What is coding

Put simply, coding is the process of creating instructions for a computing device to solve a problem.  Using a coding language like C++, Java, Python or many others, the program directs a device to perform specific functions. Coding allows us to create things such as computer software, websites, apps and video games.

Coding in Schools

Coding classes in schools have seen waves of increased interest over the last 40 years. Initially, these classes were very technical and only a select few students going into engineering took them. Programs could often be stacks of punch cards fed into a mainframe, taking minutes to calculate if not hours.  With the proliferation of the personal computer, K12 schools began expanding coding classes to include many students.

Over time programming again retreated to be offered primarily to students interested in math and science or computing. But with the advent of websites, social media apps and video games, coding is now more popular than ever and is seen not only as an introduction to computer science but as a great thinking and problem solving course as well.

ThinkFives talked with a number of coding teachers and distilled this list of the Top 5 reasons students should take a coding class — at least once in their life

Increase Tech Literacy

Increase Tech Literacy

There is no debating that we now live in a tech-centric world and our students will experience that even more so than we have as teachers.  Even if a student never takes another coding class in their life, having a basic understanding of how computer software works is great lifelong knowledge.

Students learn to appreciate how complex computer algorithms can be created and how coders will eventually be able to tackle some of the world’s greatest problems.  Their future career may be one of English literature but getting exposure to the world of technology can only be helpful.


  • Appreciate how software at its simplest is a series of algorithms that accept input and produce outcomes.
  • Understand how software interacts with hardware to produce powerful devices.
  • Observe how people from diverse cultures with no common spoken or written language, can collaborate and communicate with one another through a coding language.
Explore a Career

Explore a Career

Your students probably have little understanding of what coding is, or much less know whether this could be a career option for them. Taking a basic coding course can answer that question.  Experienced coders are in demand and with the advancement of technology, there are increasing career opportunities arising every day. Employees who can code have a bright future and are highly sought after in any industry.

This can be particularly true for girls. Often, they are intimidated by math or don’t receive the same attention and support from their teachers in developing an interest in math.  Exposure to coding can spark an interest in a career they may have never considered before.  Most leaders of technology companies, even those in finance or sales have some coding background – allowing them to better communicate with the product development employees in their company.

Even if coding is not a career option, it can create an appreciation of other computer-related skills that students may develop later in college or career.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer-related careers are some of the highest paying in the country.

  • Computer Research Scientists (design innovative uses for computing technology) $126,830
  • Computer Network Architects (design and build data communication networks) $116,780
  • Database Administrators (organize systems to store and secure data) $98,860
  • Information Security Analysts (protect an organization’s computer networks) $103,590
  • Computer Support Specialists (provide help and advice to computer users) $55,510
Develop Math Skills

Develop Math Skills

Coding is the language of math. At its core it’s a series of ones and zeros that are combined in an almost infinite way to produce complex algorithms and solutions.  Using logic and calculation skills while creating something of their own, can increase student math skills without them even realizing it.

Coding helps students visualize abstract concepts, lets them apply math to real-world situations, and makes math fun and creative.  It is one of the basic STEM standards in most schools reinforcing math standards.


  • Order of operations
    Students will learn quickly that 3+7*2 is really 17, not 20.  If you want 20 then it must be written as (3+7)*2 by a coder.
  • Algebraic skills
    Students learn to express problems algebraically. If I want to withdraw $400 from the ATM  with 3 $100 bills then  3[100] + x[20]  = 400.  I’ll also get 5 $20’s.
Learn to Problem Solve

Learn to Problem Solve

What ability is more important as a life skill than problem solving?

Learning to code provides students the chance to learn this type of skill while they are young, and it can help students along the way in life. This is one of the big reasons coding is great to learn.

Most coding projects begin with a problem to be solved. How can I…?


  • How can I identify every prime number?
  • How can I compound the interest for any loan amount and any interest rate?
  • How can I determine the odds of winning a lottery for any number of numbers to be guessed?

Each iteration of their program provides data which is either an answer or a step toward a solution. Manipulating variables, changing the input, or tweaking the algorithms are ways students can problem solve and validate an answer.

Problem solving is also a great learning example of how to fail. If the first solution doesn’t work, they try another one. If that one doesn’t work, they try again until the problem is solved.  Students can learn that failing is nothing more than a part of learning. While some students fear failing in front of a teacher or other students, the fear of failing doesn’t exist in coding as it’s only between you and the computer. And the computer can’t belittle.  Students gain confidence as they get closer to solving the problem, taking delight as their deductive ability is sharpened.

Learn How to Think

Learn How to Think

“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.”

-Stephen Hawking

Even more expansive than just learning how to problem solve, coding teaches students how to think. Being able to code effectively, a programmer needs to use logical thinking. Students need to be able to see a large problem and break it down into smaller pieces in order to solve it in an effective manner.

Computers are the ultimate executing machine. They do exactly what you ask them to do. Students must learn to think logically and anticipate what will happen when they create a certain command. This mental discipline sharpens the mind and prepares students to tackle most problems in the future.


  • If [x] then [y] else [y]
    Students quickly understand conditional logic. if a student has a 3.0 GPA then she is on the honor roll, else she is not.
  • Repeat until [x]
    Students define exit conditions.  Repeatedly add one cup of water to the gallon jar until it is full.  This will repeat 16 times.
  • If [x] is true and ([y] is false or [z} is false) then
    Students learn how to analyze Boolean (T/F) statements. If the Yankees win and either the Red Sox lose or the Orioles lose then the Yankees are in the playoffs. (Although this may not be a good example as we know the Yankees will win).

What do you think about coding classes?



  1. I think coding classes are interesting, but they should not interfere with students’ engagement in reading and writing.

  2. I think coding is a perfect way to teach growth mindset. As they work, if the program doesn’t run as expected, time to debug and keep trying. Such valuable lessons to be had in coding!

  3. So many of my students talk about and are interested in coding! Boundless jobs await them in the future!

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