Ask Slashdot: Do We Need Better Computer Programming Courses For Visual Learners?

Two-thirds of technology firms are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, reports the BBC (citing a recent report from recruitment firm Harvey Nash). But what's the solution? In an article shared by Chrisq, the BBC's business technology reporter field-tested some computer programming training: I attended Teach the Nation to Code, a free one-day Python coding workshop run by UK training firm, QA... But when it works, there's not much pay-off — just some lines on a screen. I also took classes with Cypher Coders and Creator Academy to teach me Scratch — a coding language for children with a simple visual interface... [I] found the step change from learning Scratch to Python similarly jarring in the children's toys — you suddenly go from colourful blocks to an empty screen with no handholding. What could help bridge this gap from fun games for kids, to more professional level complex coding? Garry Law, founder of Australian coding training firm, Creator Academy, says IT education needs to be better. "We need to teach kids coding with visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles, and we need to adapt this learning method for adults, to attract more people to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)," he says.... Cost is also a big problem. According to Anna Brailsford, chief executive of social enterprise Code First: Girls, it typically costs £10,000 to learn coding and often there isn't a clear link between what is taught and the jobs available. Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo remembers that "the way I got started was by borrowing books from the library that contained example programs." Back then there were loads of books that were nothing but little BASIC apps for various machines. That got me started with a program that worked and often did something quite interesting or useful, like a graphical effect. Then I could tinker with it and learn that way. But is that enough of a reward to attract new programmers — or should beginning courses target more learning styles? Share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments. Do we need better computer programming courses for visual learners?

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