When I was in school, the closest I ever got to computer coding was learning how to change the background color on my Commodore 64. Computer sciences and languages have come a long way since those dark ages, and it seems that many parents are pushing their kids into coding in the hopes of turning them into the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
Of course, not all kids are built for that kind of career. But you might be surprised to learn that just because your kid doesn't show an interest in computers, it doesn't mean they won't. A survey conducted by Code School, a learning-to-code resource, looked at the underlying traits common among current coders when they were kids.
The survey involved more than 2,200 coders and developers who were asked them to recall their habits, preferences and tendencies as kids. The results were not what you might expect.
Not surprisingly, more than half of the men who became coders were already into computers by the age of 15. But for women, the interest came along a bit later — at age 16 or later. They also found that more than 83 percent of the men who they surveyed remembered computers being their number one hobby growing up followed by sports (61 percent) and music (59 percent.) But the majority of female future coders listed music as their hobby of choice over computers.
In school, the female coders tended to be more organized and punctual than their male coder peers, who often admitted to handing in assignments late or not at all. And the women tended to stay in school with 51 percent earning a bachelor's degree and 30 percent completing graduate degrees while only 42 percent of men stayed in school long enough to earn a bachelor's and 27 percent earned a graduate degree.
Even with all of these differences in their formative years, the real differences between male and female coders lies in the salaries they receive for their work. Men play the extremes, with one in five men earning less than $25,000 per year for coding, while one in four earns more than $100,000. Women, on the other hand, hold the middle ground, with most female coders earning between $50,000 and $99,000 per year.
It seems that the kids of the future will need at least a basic level of coding to survive what is sure to be an even more computer-centric world. And the good news is, there are lots of opportunities for kids (and adults,) to learn these basics.
But for some kids, the sky may be the limit in terms of what they can and will learn to do with computers. These kids may very well be tinkering around with the family computer right now. Or they may be listening to music on their iPods and just waiting for the right computer class to come along that will stoke their lifetime love of coding.