Reading, writing, coding

The value of code knowledge – The literacy of the future?

coding skills
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It is no news that code runs everything – almost every aspect of our modern lives. But coding skills are still limited to certain professionals and communities. With coding applications constantly expanding, will the ability to write code be the literacy of the future?

Science fiction has pictured characters of all ages and professions being able to read and write code as they were writing their diary!

At the age of daily groundbreaking advancements in the area of machine learning and AI, at the stage of human evolution where code runs almost every aspect of daily life, is it possible that science fiction becomes reality? Will coding be the literacy of the future?

Power will soon belong to those who can master a variety of expressive human-machine interactions.

Marc Prensky

Experts seem to agree that coding is becoming the language of the future, procedural literacy as some call it. For example, Dr. Dan Crow argues that software is the language of our world. Byron Nicolaides, president Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), believes that in a couple of years we will be learning code like we are currently learning how to read and write.

It is said that in a number of years from now, any individual that would be unable to write code would be considered illiterate since coding skills will be the core of every job qualification.

CEPIS appears to embrace this notion since it has embarked on a widespread campaign to attract interest in coding skills and promote programming courses as part of the fundamental education within schools.

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But for Dr. Dan Crow, learning code is not only about becoming a software engineer; it is rather the development of computational thinking. Computational thinking combines mathematics, logic and algorithms and offers a new way of looking at the world. It teaches individuals how to deal with large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable tasks.

On the other hand, answers to a Quora entry titled “Will learning to code in the future be as important as literacy is today?” seemed to disagree with the above-mentioned opinions. The responses to this question were largely negative. However, one of the individuals responded:

I can see that everybody answers “no”, but the problem with these answers is that people subconsciously assume that information revolution is essentially done and the future will be just like today, but with better computers. It will not.

Michał Strojnowski

For whatever reason, coding skills are becoming more and more relevant. Whether it will be the future form of literacy or not, it remains to be seen.

I wouldn’t go that far as to support the notion that we will call any individual with no coding skills an illiterate, I do, however, believe that as the age of machine learning and AI is almost upon us, basic coding skills and the grasp of computational thinking would be vital to any individual not far from now.

Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou
Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou is an assistant editor for Just finished her masters in Modern East Asian Studies and plans to continue with her old hobby that is computer science.