A study has found that problem-solving in children is the biggest benefactor from learning computer science, despite a shortage of lessons in the field contributing to holes in the job market further down the line.
As well as learning future-proofed skills that are set to underpin the future of the jobs market, computer science has shown evidence of having additional benefits.
While mastering using devices like the Raspberry Pi, students will also benefit from developing soft skills, like communication, teamwork, and creativity.
The key findings
Computing and programming experts OKdo surveyed almost 7,000n parents and teachers of children in both primary and secondary school across the UK. The study found:
- A huge 96% of teachers surveyed reported seeing evidence of computer science lessons improving soft skills, as well as IT capabilities.
- More than four-fifths of teachers reported that problem-solving was the biggest skill to benefit from computing classes.
- Nearly a third of secondary school teachers reported that computer science classes also led to an improvement in general communications between students.
What other skills do computer science help?
- Time management: As computing and programming tend to offer immediate feedback on the choices that students make, it can help with prioritizing tasks and sticking to deadlines. In the real world, web developers and IT security experts might have a matter of minutes or even seconds to fix something that has gone wrong.
- Analytic skills: Diagnosing issues in reams of computer code is not for the faint-hearted. It can help to improve focus in children, as well as getting right to the nub of issues. Be it within a line of code that they’ve written or applying these analytical traits to human interactions.
- Ability to teach/train others: Coding and programming projects are very often collaborative, so they can help children develop their communication skills. Explaining what is required from the next steps of a project lends itself to teaching and training roles, putting complex matters into language that others can understand and act upon.
How many kids learn computer science?
According to a previous OKdo study, almost 80,000 GCSE students sat in computer science in 2021. A figure that has risen sharply from just 16,773 in 2014.
However, almost 5 million students sat GCSEs in 2021, so the proportion of students taking computer science is minuscule – just 1.6% of all students in the UK.
Given that it is believed a shortage of workers with tech skills is delaying vital projects across the country, it is clear that more needs to be done to promote computer science in schools.
Getting kids involved with these projects at an early age is vital, and more primary schools are looking to contribute, but a shortage of expertise and devices can often lead to gaps.
Are your kids interested in coding and programming? Nurturing that interest could benefit the whole country in the long term!