English may be the most widely spoken language in the United Nations, enabling people from all around the world to communicate and integrate. But there’s one thing that connects people even more than the spoken language – technology.
While many of us are unaware of the work that goes behind the programs and apps we use every day, students and celebrities like supermodel Karlie Kloss have taken up coding as an interest, studying programming and raising money to fund programming schools for children and teenagers. Kloss even created a program “Kode with Karlie” to help women of all ages start coding.
Coding establishes everything you see on a screen, from the text you read, to computer software, websites, and iPhone games. Yes, this includes YouTube, Facebook, and our all time favorite, PowerSchool. They have all been brought to our screens using the language of Java.
And the beauty is that anyone can learn the language. Paul Minton was recently highlighted in an article in the New York Times. He graduated from college with a math major and worked as a waiter. As a waiter, Paul made $20,000 a year. Then at the age of 26, he took a three-month course in computer programming. His starting salary as a data scientist was more than $100,000.
Luckily, Singapore American School offers AP Computer Science, a course that allows students to take part in this expanding field. The course emphasizes programming methodologies, algorithm development and object orient programming. And while the class is not mandatory, classes are filled with engaged students ranging from sophomores to seniors every year.
“The world is becoming digital,” senior Salil Mitra said. Having completed the course his junior year, Salil said “everything is online these days, and I just felt like it would be useful to know how it works.”
The aspect he likes best about coding is that it presents him with problems that have multiple ways of finding a solution. “You don’t need to have any background knowledge of computer programming. It’s math and logic combined. All you do is give a computer a set of instructions, and then it follows those instructions.”
Kelly Chung is also an advocate of learning to code. She said it’s “novel and prominent in our lives. And while you don’t necessarily have to follow the path of becoming a computer engineer, it’s good to be exposed to it.”
Kelly is also enthusiastic about the “rewarding feeling” of completing a set of instructions. “There’s never one way to do it. You compile all your methods with the help of students around you and you’ll always face errors, but finding those out, that’s the fun part.”
We’ve all faced that terrifying question throughout our lives: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Though we grew up with answers like Disney Channel tween star or President of the Unites States, perhaps we should veer towards something more prominent in our lives and take some computer programming classes.
Vibhav Jagwani, a senior and current AP Computer Science student, offers this advice: “Don’t be afraid to start coding because you think you have to follow the path towards being a computer engineer. Do it because it’s fun, exciting, thrilling. Don’t be afraid to start it because you think it may be too late to start something new. There is no better time to start than now.”
With those words, don’t be afraid to stop by Ms. Goode’s room every Monday after school for computer science club from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. or to enroll in AP Computer Science next fall.