When we tell people, “We teach practical technology skills like coding to kids”, the look on most of their faces is, “Coding for kids? Isn’t that too early?” Other people have this look of being completely lost because they don’t know what coding is.
Towards the end of August 2016, Lagos, Nigeria had a surprise visitor — the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was strolling casually on the streets of Yaba visiting technology hubs and companies. He didn’t visit to “give aid” as we are accustomed to; his visit was to learn about the Technology development in Nigeria and probably invest (as he already did for a Nigerian company — Andela).
The 5th richest person in the world visited Nigeria in a time of recession to learn about our “Tech”. This should give you an idea of how important Technology is, not just presently, but in the future. Nowadays, almost everything is being built using Software — from Uber to self-driving cars. Coding (or Programming) is how software is made.
By introducing our kids early to coding (and other STEM topics like robotics, web design), we equip them with the skills necessary to compete globally in this already flat world. Many advanced countries recognizing this need are already looking for ways to develop their children technologically. An example is the “Computer Science for All” initiative by the Obama-led U.S. White House which aims to introduce Computer Science to K-12 schools.
This is what Dhack Institute aims to do — introduce kids as young as 6 years old to these skills very early, sowing a seed of technological interest in them. Our goal is not only to create future Computer Scientists/Programmers but also to teach computational thinking, a thought process that draws on Computer Science fundamentals to solve problems across several disciplines and contexts.