Why High School Students Should Learn Computer Programming

student at computerPlaying games on my old gaming systems and the new ones on my smart-phone has entertained me for a long period of time, but I soon ask myself, “How did they make this?” You see an amazing app on the App Store and tell yourself that this app had great marketing, user-experience, and a beautiful design, but how did it all come to be? The underlying factor that is always neglected by the user is the programming behind it. The immense effort by the programmers of our society is what allows an individual to experience our fast-paced technological world. More and more students are learning how to program in order to keep up with the high demand from various companies, but there are still a plethora of open jobs. High school students, like myself, must understand the importance of programming in order to shape our world for the better.

There are so many majors and opportunities to contribute to this ever-demanding world, but technology is a new trend that impacts all fields. Technology has always been there for me and has allowed me to do so pretty cool things. When I was younger, I loved to play on my old Game boy Advance SP and play those Harry Potter games that caught my attention for hours. My family soon bought a “used-to-be powerful” Windows XP desktop that I started tinkering with. I explored the chips and software features that made this device so powerful. My fascination with the software grew and I began to explore the coding languages that made it the way it functions. By 8th grade, I started exploring TI BASIC programming in my math class. My TI 84 Plus Silver Edition calculator allowed me to practice writing game programs. Though my attempts were unsuccessful, I continued on to find out there is a whole community of calculator enthusiasts. I started exploring these sites to understand how to write BASIC programs and actual apps for the calculator. My affection for my calculator grew in the upcoming years, but when I entered high school, I was offered the opportunity to do a club called “Android App Development”.

Our school’s technology director, Ms. Aileen Owens, organized this club to give more students the opportunity to explore their affinity for programming and technology. The club allowed us to build simple apps and games that we could export onto our Android devices and eventually submit to the Google Play Store. An opportunity like this doesn’t usually happen at schools, and I took the club seriously, trying to understand the languages that are acceptable for Android. Soon after, Ms. Owens offered me the opportunity to join the Software Development Team that was building a pen-based Flashcards program, which would allow students to retain the information they learned at a faster and longer rate.

Even with all these opportunities at our high school, younger students are starting to learn about Scratch and other simple programming languages. The opportunities established by our technology director have guided us into the true idea of what a programmer goes through. I’ve taken my programming skills to the next level, and I now know Processing, HTML5/CSS, JavaScript, and just recently, C#. Computer programming has opened up the doors to several openings, but most importantly, it allowed me to understand what I want to do in my life.

Mark Babatunde is a high school student in the Pittsburgh region. He blogs about calculators and technology in general, and is the very first guest poster in the history of Tech Powered Math.

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