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There’s a new wave of programmers – and they’re starting to get younger

Last September, Professor Shirley Williams described how there was a shortage of good programmers. She identified the global need for skilled programmers and in doing so, announced the fourth run of the University of Reading’s free online course, Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game, which helps teach the basics of coding.

We’ve since seen an interesting pattern emerge in sign ups to the course. Not only has there been a steady increase in the number of women joining, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of younger people looking to learn to code – since the start of the course in October 2013, the number of 18-25 year olds signing up has tripled, from 11% to 35%.

The emergence of coding lessons, clubs and communities in schools – and recent news of young geniuses creating the next generation of digital tools – shows the interest young people have in learning these increasingly valuable skills.

Coding is an increasingly valuable skill

Developing your coding skills has significant relevance to getting on the job ladder too.

Ankit Sharma, a Program Analyst at Cognizant, is one of many 18-25 year olds who are learning to code with FutureLearn
Ankit Sharma, a Program Analyst at Cognizant, is one of many 18-25 year olds who are learning to code with FutureLearn.

Ankit Sharma, for example, believes the skills he gained via FutureLearn helped him secure his new job as a Program Analyst at multinational gaming consultancy, Cognizant.

He estimates that 80% of the questions asked during the interview were on subjects that he’d practised through the FutureLearn course.

How do you learn to code?

The success of Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game means that the University of Reading is running the course again right now.

This is a fun course aimed at teaching the basics of coding, but it can also open you up to the possibility that learning to code is easier than you may think.

So if you want to try your hand at coding, you can join the course now.  It’s open to anyone of any age, although if you’re under 13, ask a grown-up friend or relative to sign up and study with you.

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