“So over the next three years, every kindergarten to grade twelve student will have, every one of them, kindergarten to grade twelve, will have the opportunity to learn the basics of coding…”
That’s Premier Christy Clark, announcing earlier this year that coding will soon be joining reading, writing, and arithmetic in the province’s schools.
Apparently it’s going to be important to learn to code. So I’ve got a program here, code.org is the website. They’ve got programs to teach kids to learn how to code, so I’ve got one of these programs open. Designed for kids, based around Star Wars, and i’m going to try my hand at it.
Listen to Tim learn to code
While I’m at that – I’ll let Michael Hefferon, president and chief creative officer at Rainmaker Entertainment explain why the skill is getting so important.
“People think of coding as ‘Oh you have to be somebody that programs for a particular program that’s about computers, but it really has an impact into a lot of different jobs these days, and I think it’s an added skill set into any part of the work force with somebody having the ability, even if minor to either understand the principles of coding. Or to be able to do some simplistic or more complicated coding themselves.”
And if you listen to Heffron, apparently I’m not alone.
“Anybody can learn it. I think like foreign languages, there’s certain people that obviously become a little bit more adept, but I think it’s one of those types of languages that are a little bit easier. There’s various types of languages in coding, some easier and some more complex than others, but it is something anybody can learn. Obviously it’s being taught at very young ages right now in school, which is very exciting to see that. And the cool aspect of coding is you can quickly see the direct result of what it is you’re doing. It has a real implication, you can see, you can code something up on screen, and you can see exactly what takes place from it.”
Ok, I’ve punched in some lines of code, let’s see what happens… Hey, alright! It worked. Look at this. I think I’ve found a new career here.
Well, maybe not- Heffron says it might take a little more than five minutes to get to the level where you could, say, be the hidden but beating heart of a popular animated film.
“Everybody thinks of, and visually sees the work up on screen. The visual arts style is one thing. The ability to achieve that art style in 3D is another, and that requires a pipeline that able to take all that information, and various stages of work that’s on it, and compile that all together. In doing that, there’s programming for example, we’ll call it ‘for shaders’ to accomplish the visual texture and feel that are on the characters. You know, simple things in special effects, whether it’s utilizing a program that is already there, the actual operation of how that all assembles and works within our pipeline. We have a team of coders that are there making all that happen.”
Okay, maybe not a genius, but getting the basics – That’s something Heffron says you’ll need to know if you want to make it in the industry: the why and the how underlying modern applications.
“Everything nowadays, half this stuff is cloud based. You’re trying to create links and connectors between your program and somebody else’s software, or even sometimes simplicity on our own if we want to combine two things. The ability to know how to do that and to link those things are really simplistic examples, but then delving deeper in how to make an application work, and be more functional to a specific workplace. The ability to understand the coding aspects of it, whether you can do it or not, is really important to work with coders to then better have them understand the needs and implications of what a particular application needs to be for any respective industry.”
Alright, let’s see… Uh oh. Uh oh. Uh oh, BB-8! Oh boy. I don’t think that’s the noise it’s supposed to make. Maybe I’m overestimating my future as a coder. Shame, since Heffron says it’s becoming such a valuable skill.
“It’s certainly a big push of where a lot of the job industry is going. The one thing, again check with other people other than me, but what I hear the real shortage in the future for jobs, is in the coding sector. I think it is going to be a different approach. I think it’s an exciting one for a new generation of kids.
“I remember in highschool we learned how to type, it goes back that far. Now kids on a keyboard is second nature because they grow up with it, they’re interacting with it. They learn, there’s a total different coordination skill, and I think a totally different understanding of how things work than how there used to be.”
OK. This is the coolest! Amazing! Making coding into a game like this does seem like a good way of hooking kids.
“Games such as Minecraft and there’s ways to learn to code off of it and to understand it. And applying that, it’s what we hope do to with, for example with a reboot the Guardian Code is to utilize the show as a vehicle and the opportunity to work with established coding groups in teaching kids how to code, and using a show like that is a key driver to what’s possible in the world of coding, and to get kids excited about it. That it’s not something that is just for a few people, it’s something exciting and anybody can do it.
So what did I learn, learning to code? I learned that I learn better in a Star Wars based environment. I was never a computer science guy. This really worked out for me, and you can really see how many applications and why this skill is so important. Certainly, if I was going to tell anyone to learn a skill for the job market of the future, I would say lean to code.