When should kids learn to program computers?

Students learn how to write computer code in Rochester, Minn. (Photo for MPR News by Alex Kolyer)

In Rochester, officials are looking for ways to grow computer programmers locally. Surya Ghatty is one of a group of IBM and Mayo Clinic programmers and software developers mentoring local students, teaching young kids how to code even before their hands are big enough to stretch completely across a keyboard.

“We would like to see more jobs related to computer programming in town,” said Jim Rogers, chairman of Mayo Clinic Ventures, which manages the clinic’s intellectual properties and patents.

More from MPR News reporter Elizabeth Baier.

Today’s Question: When should kids learn to program computers?

  • JQP

    Never … they will change everything and then I won’t be able to do anything …. AAAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  • James

    Depends on the kid – there’s no reason they couldn’t be learning it as soon as they are able to understand the language required to program. Programming requires the programmer to lay out a logical decision tree – to map out a thought process. It’s good for teaching students how to think and how to solve problems, which is what they should be learning.

    I really hate this d@^^#d machine
    I wish that they would sell it.
    It never does quite what I want
    But only what I tell it.

  • Rich in Duluth

    Kids should learn programming as soon as they are able. Computer programming encourages rational, logical thinking and may lead to an interest in math, science, engineering, and other technical fields.

    We need more rational thinking in this country.

  • PaulJ

    Right after they learn that that type of work can be offshored.

    • http://www.ss-slocum.info/ Scott Slocum

      It’s best if we don’t give up.

  • http://www.ss-slocum.info/ Scott Slocum

    Look how happy and engaged they are, learning about computer programming! The ideal computer game!

    • Pearly

      really?

      • Jared Hildebrandt

        Really. Instead of playing some mindless game they are learning a skill and critical thinking. As a software developer, and as a father, I wish more schools started programming and other STEM learning sooner. Languages like Scratch have been developed to help with this learning without making it seem like learning.

  • Gary Fischbach

    After they learn all that computer stuff, they then should go outside and ride a bike, ice skate, roller blade, build forts, play a pick up baseball game, golf, play with a big cardboard box, go walking through the woods, go hunting or fishing with mom and dad, paint or draw, build crafts or wood projects, take music lessons, take apart a bike or toaster, just something.

    Get their arse out of the chair and their eyes off the screen.

    The computer skills do nothing for them if they don’t have something to apply them too.

    • Jared Hildebrandt

      A good parent should be driving all of the above that you mention as activities outside of school. The article is referring to computer programming in school.