The Regional Australia Institute has predicted that one in two jobs in Australia is expected to require high-level programming and IT skills within 15 years. Yes, half of all future jobs.
Australian kids seem to be fitting this trend, now spending more time online than they are in front of the television.
So, it makes sense, then, that careers in programming and technology are already on the rise.
To give local kids a jump on their future career prospects and create opportunities for those interested in coding, iNQ has brought CoderDojo to Townsville.
“CoderDojo is a global movement of free, volunteer-led coding clubs for kids aged 7-17 years,” iNQ’s Co-Ordinator Nicole Lucas said.
“We have a fantastic group of volunteers, including programmers from Safety Culture, JESI, Fierce, some local teachers, students from JCU and some of our parents – although we are always on the hunt for new mentors.”
Nicole said iNQ initiated the Townsville program because they wanted to make coding accessible to all Townsville kids.
“Technology is the way of the future,” she said. “The most successful start-ups today have a tech-based component.
“We want to give our regions kids the skills to operate in a technology-driven world and inspire them to build and create. Hopefully this will open up opportunities for them in the future.”
The CoderDojo program works by kids selecting projects based on their own skill level and interests. They may want to create a game, an image or a web site, for example, they then work through the project at their own pace.
“We want to give our regions kids the skills to operate in a technology-driven world and inspire them to build and create.”
“Mentors only get involved if the children encounter an issue,” Nicole said.
“The idea is to get the children to solve any problems that arise themselves.”
At the end of the session the kids present their achievements to the group.
The beauty of the program is that no previous coding experience is required, and participants don’t even need their own equipment, as Matt Smith from Menninger Capital, the program’s major sponsor, has donated 20 Raspberry Pi 3 computer kits for the kids to utilise.
“Our objective is to partner with leading organisations, such as InnovateNQ, to create opportunities for young people in our local community,” Matt said of the donation.
“By donating computer equipment Townsville youth will be able to gain experience and exposure to new coding skills.”
Coding teaches kids valuable skills including patience, problem solving, creativity and experimentation and is now being taught in children from as young as primary school age and will soon be a mandatory class across all Queensland schools.
With an increasing rise in demand for roles such as app and web developers, AI interface programmers and data analysts, this industry is predicted to see fast and phenomenal growth. And with software and smart technology being built into everything from fridges to televisions and coffee machines, coders have the potential to be the future engine room for the digital economy.