It’s never too late to learn a new skill!
One of the many goals I set out to accomplish during quarantine last spring was to learn to code. Like several other items on my list, it didn’t happen. While this topic might not appeal to you, the mission of these programs is compelling. Many organizations that offer free courses are nonprofits, that could benefit from encouragement, publicity or donations. The code training sites which teach children free of charge are especially worthy of support since young people usually cannot afford to pay tuition and coding could be key to future employment.
People age 50 and older are becoming one of the largest groups of technology users. Coding literacy helps people better understand many aspects of technology as it is considered the ‘language of technology’. It can also improve problem solving and logic skills. I consider myself computer literate but learning coding basics will apparently take that to a new level.
It has become common for adults aged 50 – 80 not only to learn how to code but to go on to develop websites, apps or other programs. For many it is to advance their careers or start a new one. It is said that workers without digital skills will be almost unemployable in five years and that by 2020-2021 there will be 1.4 million computing jobs available. Others in that age bracket learning to code are looking for a new hobby or learning opportunity.
Here are some coding courses available to the 50-80 year-old age group:
Codecademy.com is an interactive website with a free option that offers programming coding courses in various coding languages. About one million of Codecademy’s 45 million users around the world are 55 and older. There are also different online computer coding classes that charge tuition so you will have to compare the offerings and see which courses are best for you.
MIT OpenCourseware makes available almost every course taught at MIT – for free. They offer basic programming courses for adults that require no previous experience.
Coursera is what’s called a MOOC, a massive open online course provider. It was founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors. Many courses are free, to include many free coding courses.
Kahn Academy is used for students and adults as a reliable resource for excellent free courses. It produces short lessons in the form of videos.
edX is another open source (not for-profit) online learning platform. They offer 110 coding courses at various levels. The basic coding course that is highly recommended is Harvard University’s Introduction to Computer Science, and it’s free.
Other free schooling includes Dash, and Learn Enough. The coding tutorials on these websites are typically modular, breaking each course into smaller segments that you complete at your own pace. Many students study for an hour or two each night.
CodeUp is a program available for adults to learn how to code for free ( but they do accept donations to help defray the cost), but it is only available to our subscribers who reside in Great Britain.
Coding resources for students:
Apple has developed an Everyone Can Code curriculum that is already in schools, colleges and homes worldwide. It uses Swift Playgrounds, an app that teaches coding for kids through interactive puzzles and fun characters. It is perfect for students aged 8 and up.
Apple has made the Everyone Can Code available in braille and partnered with blind advocacy groups to make coding skills available to the visually impaired.
Code.org is a nonprofit whose mission is to increase access to computer science in schools in order to increase participation by young women and students from underrepresented groups.
45% of their students are female, 50% are underrepresented minorities and 45% are students who come from “high needs schools”.
In 1995, 37% of computer scientists were women. Today that percentage has dropped to 24%. The largest decline of girls in computer science is between the ages of 13 and 17. For girls today, who live in a technological world, knowing how to code will improve their employment opportunities. Programmers learn to collaborate, work in a team and compromise, all important skills in careers and life in general.
Girls Teaching Girls to Code is aimed at high school girls who might be interested in pursuing careers in computer science and engineering. In addition they have an annual Code Camp, hands-on-workshops and many special events.
Girls Who Code believes that “girls are the future of tech”. They want to close the gender gap in technology. They have taught more than 300,000 girls through their in-person programming, half of the girls they serve come from underrepresented groups and their alumni major in computer science or related fields in college at a rate 15 times the U.S. average. They offer free after-school clubs for 3rd -12th grade girls, free college programs to help their alumni succeed and build relationships with other women in tech and free 2-week virtual summer programs for 10-12th grade girls to learn coding and experience tech jobs.
In 2016 the model Karlie Kloss launched a coding camp for girls called Kode With Klossy. She has always enjoyed math and science and she began to learn how to program in 2014. In 2015 she partnered with the Flatiron School in New York City to launch #KodewithKarlie, a scholarship program for teen girls. A year later she launched Kode With Klossy for girls aged 13-18. It is a two-week camp that will provide scholarships for 80 young women from New York, Los Angeles and St. Lois, MI. Ms. Kloss’s goal is to teach coding to “the next generation of change-makers”.
Read this ASE article for more online learning opportunities.