When to teach kids to code

There are other things a kid could be learning...

Short answer: when they want to (and "never" is a valid option). From this article1 by Wired (watch out for the video commercial overlay):

"By the early 2000s, Gibson was using game-design puzzles to teach rudimentary Java to 8- and 9-year-olds. His success with that age group made him wonder: How young is too young to begin coding?"

Teaching kids to program Java sounds like a specific kind of punishment, but I know these boot camps have moved onto greater things now (Ruby, NodeJS, whatever the latest thing is...). There are much greater life skills that a kid at this age could be learning, for example:

  • Exploring the great outdoors
  • Team sports
  • Reading
  • Art or other creative pursuits (although I will readily add programming to that list)
  • Learning a new language (y'know, a real one)
  • Having fun!

If my kids never want to program, it would not bother me. Gaining good social skills, confidence, and humility are much more important than being able to build a website.


John Collins

I have been writing about web technology and software development since 2001. I am the developer of the Alpha Framework for PHP, and the five.today personal productivity app. I love open source, technology, and economics.

Book Reviews

Working with ticketing systems

Java interview questions