15 April, 2021
Digital communication and entertainment has become the center of our world – and our kids’ world too, as smartphones and apps like YouTube, WhatsApp and TikTok have alleviated their isolation during the pandemic. But some might ask whether our kids’ reliance on technology has gone too far. According to a 2019 report by Common Sense Media, by age 12 more than two thirds of American kids own a smartphone, and teens spend nearly half of their waking hours in front of a screen – not including time spent on schoolwork. What if this screen time could be put to more productive use? If kids are spending hours each day using apps, then why don’t they learn to build their own?
App development is a sphere of programming which focuses on design and creation of apps for mobile devices and computers. Apps are supposed to be customizable and interactive to grab users’ attention, so learning to develop them ticks all the boxes for kids: it teaches them new skills and provides a much-needed creative outlet. Whether your kid loves playing computer games or puzzles, making art on their tablet, or sharing photos with their friends – app development is a field which is open to all interests!
The skills acquired through app development open doors to some really exciting career paths. As has become evident during the pandemic, even the smallest of businesses now need an online presence, so app developers are welcomed into the job market with open arms – whether you end up working at a start-up, a famous multinational company, or freelancing from anywhere in the world. The salaries are great – according to Stack Overflow, the average Android Developer in the US is paid more than $90,000 per year. Even if your kid doesn’t know right now which career path they want to go down, coding is an important skill regardless. We study math and English for many years to prepare us for any eventualities, and given the growing importance and popularity of apps in today’s world, learning to code sets kids up for the future – the earlier you start, the sooner you’ll master it!
When learning anything new, you’ll encounter obstacles to overcome. But learning to code apps greatly improves problem solving skills and perseverance. When they hit a bump in the road, young coders learn to assess their errors, debug, and try again. We’ve mentioned that app development is a fantastic creative outlet, but this extends beyond creating the visual content of the app. Creativity means learning to think outside the box and experiment with different coding solutions. This is a critical skill in the adult world – and one which often isn’t honed in school, where rote learning is the path to success.
The apps our children use are designed to be addictive. They are engineered on the same psychology as slot machines: users never know when they’ll be rewarded with the dopamine rush of exciting new content. If regulating screen time is proving more of a battle than it’s worth, then what about redirecting it? Instead of settling down for a social media marathon or an evening of gaming, kids and teens can sign up for an app development course where they can put their electronic hours to good use. Any time spent learning something new is good, even if that learning experience is via a screen.
Our classes comprise three different levels:
Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions or comments on this topic or coding and STEM in general, please feel free to contact us.