Let’s first start out with a definition of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) – The goal of STEM is to integrate the four topics into a real world applied approach with instead of teaching them as individual disciplines.
Why STEM Matters
When you look at how many Compute/IT/Tech exist today it would be fair to say there are more technology jobs than technical people. When you look at the technology landscape over the next ten years it is easy to say that Tech jobs will be become critical for corporations to continue to evolve. Whether it is a data scientist, DevOPs engineer, programmer, SDDC engineer, Cloud architect, etc STEM will be critical to developing the next generation of architects/engineers.
Why Am I Teaching my Daughter to Code
It is ok to fail
I noticed early on that my toddler enjoyed to be challenged but hated to fail. There was a period of time when she would fail and quit whatever activity she failed at. However, when I started getting her into coding games she would fail often, get frustrated, come back and try something different until she succeeded. After enough victories following defeats I noticed a change in her attitude and a real grit begin to form. Now my toddler loves to be given a difficult challenge knowing she may not succeed the first time but she will eventually achieve victory.
Increase in Confidence and Creativity
To pick up where the last reason left off. I have noticed that my daughters confidence level has risen. She is more willing to try new things now that she has accepted that it is ok to fail but not ok to give up. I have also witnessed with this new confidence has come new creativity. One of the key aspects of coding is experimenting and being creative to produce something new. I started noticing my daughter would take toys across different shows and building a brand new story our of characters that wouldn’t normally go together and being able to tell these great stories. I know this new ability to think outside the box and take different components to form a new solution will benefit her in the future.
Build troubleshooting IE problem solving skills
I have noticed in a short amount of time that my daughter has started to learn how to problem solve at an accelerated rate. As these applications cause her to focus on the consequences of actions and predicting future moves I have noticed a massive improvement in her logical thinking. She has gone from asking for help with every day activities to now figuring out how to do them herself. An example, my toddler isn’t tall enough to turn the light on in her bathroom and she used to ask for help to turn the light on. Now she understands her steps can be used as a tool to achieve her goal and moves her step stool over to the light switch allowing her to turn the lights on.
Protecting Her Future
Being in technology I have personally witnessed the requests for programming and coding in job descriptions grow over the last few years. Given the emerging next tier technologies and applications on the horizon causes me to believe these requests for these skills will only grow. I believe if my toddler begins early in STEM that it will be easier once the courses in school become more difficult. Between learning STEM at an early age and having a father who isn’t looking to retire any time soon, I am hoping the combination of both will help guide her learning to have a chance to become anything she wants to be in the future.
STEM is an ever growing set of skills that will be needed in the future as the world becomes even more reliant on technology. People may agree or disagree with me but I have witness many people give up on STEM skills because they find it too difficult or do not see a need. Being an IT professional I have seen the need for these skills and the lack of capable people in the industry to answer the call. If my daughter grows up and wants to be a painter, teacher, or have a profession that doesn’t have a technical requirement I will be happy as long as she is doing what she is passionate about. I do see where she is passionate about learning and being creative. She loves to troubleshoot now and solve her own puzzles she creates. Whether she becomes an engineer or doctor or a painter, I know these skills she will learn from STEM will bring value to many aspects of her life.