Coding for Kids: How Long Does It Take to Learn Coding?
Well…it is not going to be overnight, but it’s going to be a fun journey!
That being said, it also does not have to take years – your kid does not have to have graduated college to code at least something! It really depends on how old they are, how much of an interest/aptitude they have for coding, how much time they can devote to it, what coding language(s) they want to learn, the types of programs or applications they want to code…there are a lot of factors that we can potentially take into consideration here.
So today, let us just explore some of the different ways kids can learn this subject to give us a general idea of how to answer that ultimate question: how long does it take to learn coding?
What Is Coding?
Before we get into some more specifics, let us back and up and discuss what coding even is in the first place.
Coding is essentially computer programming or developing that allows us to tell a computer how to complete different actions.
We do this by using special programming languages, or codes, that can give computers a set of instructions in a way that it understands – we speak the computers’ language.
Want to learn coding in a fun and interactive way? Check out our article, Best Coding Robots to Teach Kids to Code (for all ages!)
Why Should My Kid Learn to “Speak Computer”?
There is no denying that computers are all around us, from your car to your phone, your laptop, and even your microwave. When kids learn the basic concept and skill of programming language behind these things, it can change how they think about it, perhaps mainly because it lets them develop more of an appreciation for the technology.
Since the concepts behind coding can be applied to so many things in our everyday lives, if kids are interested in doing it as a career, it can offer them a competitive advantage out in the workforce – computer programmers can certainly make a decent living!
Perhaps best of all, though, coding can encourage kids to develop their logic skills and their creative skills at the same time. For example, if they create their own game and want something to happen on screen, they need to know how to logically input the code to fulfill their vision. Coding knowledge is important to have.
You Have Convinced Me! Now Tell Me, How Long Does it Take to Learn Coding?
Hold up! There are different coding languages out there to suit your child’s age and interests, as well as different ways to learn, such as through online programs and software, extracurricular programs, and in the future, college and university options.
Since online programs and courses tend to be the most available and affordable machine learning options, let us begin by exploring those in more detail.
If you’d like to get a head start in coding while having fun, take a look at the mBot coding robot. You can find my full review of mBot here.
Kids just need to drag and drop the blocks that have already been created for them, so there is no need for them to include any kind of text-based instructions. This learning style is what makes the perfect introduction to coding for young children, as they do not need to read or type out any words.
How long does it take to learn coding using block-based programming? If you think block-based coding is the way to go for your child, you may want to try an online program like CodeMonkey Jr. for Pre-K and Kindergarten students or Beaver Achiever for those in 1st and 2nd grade.
Both are less than one semester in length and will provide an excellent overview of block-based coding for your child, with Beaver Achiever adding some more challenges for the slightly older kids.
Once kids have the basics of reading and writing down, they can move on to learning text-based code like CoffeeScript. This type of code is ideal for beginners as the way it is written is like the way we write in English. It is also a type of code that has real-world uses, as CoffeeScript is commonly used in web applications.
How long does it take to learn coding using CoffeeScript programming? Designed to be completed in a semester for children in 2nd-4th grade, Dodo Does Math allows kids to practice both math and coding concepts using CoffeeScript.
For those in 3rd to 5th grade, the Coding Adventure program provides a more detailed overview of this type of coding and is about three semesters long. Then, students from 6th to 8th grade will be able to use the Game Builder program to fully design and build their own game in only one semester.
Python is another text-based coding language. Programmers often use it because it is a general-purpose code, which means that it can be used for different purposes like web development, software development, and other kinds of programming.
Python programming is also a good choice for beginners to learn because its syntax is relatively easy to understand when compared to some of the other options out there.
How long does it take to learn to code using Python programming?
A solid introduction to Python can be found in the game-based coding course Banana Tales, recommended for kids in 6th-8th grade.
It can be completed in about 1 ½ semesters. If you are looking for more of a project-based program for your child, try the Coding Chatbots course. This is also designed for children in 6th-8th grade, and by the end of this one semester-long course and learning process, kids will be able to create their very own chatbot with their newly acquired coding skills.
In this article, my son and I focus more on Scratch: What Is Computer Science For Kids?
My Kid Already Seems to Have an Aptitude for Coding. Can They Go Through These Courses Any Faster?
The great thing about all the classes mentioned above is that they are designed to either be used by teachers in the classroom (hence, the semester-based timeframes) or by parents and their children at home. If parents decide to purchase these classes for their junior developer to use at home, they can learn independently.
Therefore, if kids are keen on learning and are picking up the concepts quickly, they may be able to learn the fundamentals of coding much faster than the recommended semester-based timeframes.
Since there has been an increasing interest in coding throughout the years due to the technological advances that are all around us, it may not surprise you to learn that there are extracurricular classes that focus solely on coding concepts.
Though it does vary by location, it is possible to find summer school programs, spring break classes, and even extra classes that you can work into your child’s schedule throughout the school year.
How long does it take to learn coding through extracurricular classes? Well, that varies. If they are enrolled in a full-time coding class for spring break, for example, they may be able to code some basic games or programs in just a week! It really depends on the program, though, so if there is something specific your kid is looking to code, make sure you do your research before signing them up for anything.
College and University
If your kid is a bit older and thinking about a future career in coding, it is not too early to start looking into college and university courses. If they are interested in more entry-level positions in the IT (Information Technology) sector, they may choose to work toward an associate degree at a community college.
If they are looking for a more comprehensive education in computer (stemeducationguide) programming, then they should look at obtaining a bachelor’s degree in computer science at a college or university.
It is important to note that while it is possible to land a computer programming job with knowledge gained during the process of obtaining an associate degree, a lot of employers may prefer those with a bachelor’s degree.
If your child currently does not have the grades, the interest, or even the financial means to go through the process of obtaining a bachelor’s degree at this time, they can always go for the associate degree and use that to transfer into a bachelor’s program when they are ready.
How long does it take to learn coding through college or university?
If kids are interested in getting an associate degree, it will likely take about two years. If they have their hearts set on a bachelor’s degree, it should take about four years.
So…how long does it take to learn coding?
As we have seen, there is no easy answer to this question. But this can be a good thing! It means that there are many options out there to suit your child’s needs, schedule, and interests.
Also, technology always seems to be evolving and changing in today’s society, so people who are into coding will need to be up for continuous learning if they keep up with technological advances and current trends.
While this may seem daunting to some, another perspective is that this helps keep things fresh, new, and interesting. If your child is up to the task now, who knows what they will be able to create in the future with programming experience.
Please take a look at our article, Best DIY Computer Build Kits for Kids!