Imagine a world where learning the language of computers was a fundamental subject in our education alongside mathematics, languages and sciences.
If you think about it, that is actually the world we live in today: programming pervades almost every profession out there to some extent or another, and having a basic understanding of how software is built will benefit almost everyone.
Estonia agrees, and is taking steps to making sure the next generation is prepared for that. They have launched a program called “ProgeTiiger” which involves teaching Estonian students from grade 1 right through to 12 about computer programming as well as learning how to create applications for web and mobiles.
This development is intended to accelerate Estonia well past other Eastern European countries in IT development, which they smartly focus on after having produced the wonder that is Skype (that was then sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion). They have some of the fastest Internet connections in the world, which makes it a fantastic playground for IT start-ups – and those need good programmers.
I agree with the author of the Geek.com article in that I see this as a good step for Estonia, and it would make sense for education systems across the world adopt a similar tactic. As technology is integrated into everything we do, it would only make sense for everyone to, at the very least, have a basic understanding of how it works.
I know for physics, we had to learn programming in the very last physics subject of the undergrad degree. I had never done programming before in my life and it was a real challenge to get my head around the way computer languages work. Having a foundation to build on would have made the process much easier and more productive. And from what I hear (since I didn’t continue further studies in physics), when you do higher level research in physics, this is a necessary skill when analyzing data and simulating various situations.
What do you think? Is programming something that should be taught from the beginning of your education, or is it something that can wait till later only if you’re really interested in it?