We live in a world where tech devices and apps are integral to our daily routine, from shopping online to attending online classes due to the current situation. Beneath all these visible parts of the digital world, there is an invisible language that creates and controls them. That language is a code. In simple words, coding is the process of using a programming language to get a device or app to behave how you want it to. It is made of words and numbers in a specific order so the device can understand what to do.
Back in time, coding was considered a hobby, but over the past years, coding has upgraded from a hobby to a critical career skill. Most countries abroad form their curriculum so that students become acquainted with this great skill from the first years of their school life.
Learning to code is useful not only for starting a career as a web developer, but there are several benefits that anyone can obtain. As already mentioned above, coding is a series of words and numbers that give the computer instructions to complete a task. If the computer doesn't perform as you want, that means the order is wrong, so you have to use logical thinking and break down the problem into smaller parts to make it easier for you to manage and solve it. Through this process, you learn to analyse and come up with a way to solve any challenge. These problem-solving skills are necessary not only for coding but also for all the problems you encounter daily.
Since coding has to do with numbers, math skills are also necessary for coding. This doesn't imply that if you are not a math genius, you can't try coding. Programming doesn't require solving a worksheet full of maths equations, but you would sharpen your math skills through the problems' solution. The word "problem" has already been mentioned several times, but you don't need to worry. Coding gives satisfaction, even though you have to tackle complex problems. You will see that you will become more determined as soon as you solve them, and you will feel a sense of achievement.
Apart from problems and maths, coding can also boost your creativity. If you think about coding is all about creating something new from scratch. You have an idea in your mind, and through coding, you can shape it by creating designs and stories. This idea could be about a game, an animation movie, or interactive digital artwork. Creativity may include communication because you might need to collaborate with other people to accomplish your idea. Communication skills can also be acquired while coding because the instructions should be written simply so that the computer would understand and perform them correctly.
Most of the time, we tend to focus more on hard skills rather than soft ones, which are taken for granted. That is a huge mistake because while coding, you might need persistence and resilience that cannot be taught. However, they are essential skills to have in life in general. Coding teaches persistence and resilience at the same time because to solve the problem, you must keep going and coming up with different solutions until you have the right one.
As technology and science evolve, more opportunities come from these industries seeking young people who know to code to engage and be a part of innovative works. It would be fairer if all people can access education and training since one of the global society's objectives is equal participation and opportunities for everyone.
Based on this idea, many individuals and organisations have made great efforts to reach and educate socially excluded groups on coding.In the last few years in Europe, many people fled their home countries seeking refuge in Europe. Many countries, especially in the south, weren't prepared to host the refugees, and the living conditions were not ideal. During this challenging period, many organisations worldwide showed their support to these people by offering free coding lessons for disadvantaged groups. One of them is CodeDoor.org (https://codedoor.com/), whose good practice will be upscaled within the Code4SP project, and its history, purpose and results will be explained during this project. "HackYourFuture" is also one of these organisations, founded in Amsterdam in 2016 and replicated in many countries, including Denmark and Belgium. The organisation enables refugees and disadvantaged people to build digital skills for a career in web development, help people in underprivileged situations live up to their potential, get back control of their own lives and be an important change to their environment.
The currently established good practices on non-formal education on computer programming have not yet transferred to the Southern European countries, which are simultaneously deemed more economically vulnerable and subjected to an unprecedented high exposure to migratory waves of people with the low socio-economic condition. That is why, Code4SP aims to achieve a real policy reform, thus accomplishing a systemic change and not being solely restricted to a first-level change.
- Findeisen, 2017, Digital exclusion is an element of contemporary social exclusion in our networked society