EVEN IF YOU AREN’T TECHNICAL
Schools are getting better at this, but you think they aren’t doing enough. Chances are you are right.
Your kids need to know tech to survive the world as it is now. The best jobs are STEM jobs. They offer higher pay and more job security.
Why Listen To Me?
I’m both a father and a software developer.
I live in a world of technology daily, and I get the joy/frustration of explaining and teaching tech to my own kids.
Plus, I didn’t start out as a software developer. It’s a second career for me, and I had to teach all this stuff to myself.
That’s why I’m well situated to help you both learn yourself and guide you as you level up your kids too.
The Hidden Problem
Many kids are good at setting up or using electronic devices. They know how to install apps and text faster than adults on a phone.
They may even know how to use a proxy or VPN to get to blocked websites on the internet. Does that mean they have technical literacy?
It does not.
That’s like saying that knowing how to use Excel for spreadsheets makes you a computer whiz. Nope. You have to go deeper.
The hidden problem is that some don’t think there is a problem. Kids today seem like they know tech.
They do, but only if you are talking about consuming. We’ve trained our kids to be good consumers. They can surf the internet and play games, sure.
Yet, the skills that will keep your kids employed and needed are producing skills.
The producers are always more affluent and in control. By producer, all I mean is someone who creates things others value.
Teach your kids to produce tech. Let’s dive into what that means, and how you can do this even if you don’t know yourself.
The “Secret” To All This
Let’s take programming as an example first. Programming isn’t hard. Plenty of free online resources will guide you through your first several exercises.
Plus, kids learn fast. Their brains are like dry sponges. They soak up information.
The key to teaching your kids is your interest level.
In short, you’re on the hook. Do you want your kids to be ready to face the coming artificial intelligence age?
It won’t happen if you aren’t interested in learning and growing yourself. Full stop.
I’ll show you what you need to know and learn. Yet unless you commit to doing it with your children, you might as well not bother.
Two Main Skills
Futurists talk about how artificial intelligence and automation will kill jobs. They predict A.I. will cut half of all jobs.
It sounds scary, but these systems run on the basics of computing. Artificial intelligence is nothing more than computers networked together following some instructions.
Granted that’s simplified, but it’s important to know the basics. Everything builds on that.
It’s all about networking and programming or coding. Networking is nothing more than computers communicating with other computers. Programming is telling a computer what to do.
Most people know very little about how either work. Even IT professionals usually only specialize in one or the other.
With resources like YouTube, you have lots of learning resources at your fingertips.
My recommendation is that you go through some of the tutorials below.
Then you can explain and teach your kids at their pace.
Remember, you got this. Take it step-by-step and it’s not hard. Yes, many smart people have built these frameworks and protocols. But you don’t have to be a genius to use them.
I’ve got several free, online resources for you below. Most of them are geared towards kids, but some aren’t.
Remember, the key to this is you becoming a student too. That’s how you show your kids what you value. It’s leading by example.
And here are the networking learning resources.
- Computer network facts for kids
- Interactive Computer Networks by PBS Learning
- ExplainThatStuff.com – Computer Networks
- A Simple Introduction To Computer Networking
- Computer Networking Playlist on Youtube (targeting adults)
Coding Skills Resources
It’s strange to me, but some think that it’s a mistake to teach kids coding. https://hackaday.com/2019/03/14/expert-says-dont-teach-kids-to-code/
The premise is that in 20 years, coding will be obsolete. Computers will be programming themselves.
Without a doubt, programming will be different in twenty years. And yes, machine-generated code will continue to become more mainstream.
Saying that coding will go away is like saying handwriting is obsolete. When the typewriter was invented, that would sort of make sense, but it didn’t happen.
Even today with speech-to-text, handwriting is still fundamental.
So it is with coding.
Now for the actual resources. There is a dizzying array of choices. I recommend you look at them and pick the ones that you like the best.
There is no need to do them all.
Keep in mind that the real skill underneath coding is problem-solving. It’s not mastering this language or that framework.
And here are the resources for teaching coding to your children:
Bonus: The Most Important Skill Longterm
Technical skills and literacy are important.
But what if A.I. takes over? What if A.I. reduces jobs for humans? What if Elon Musk is right about our future?
Elon himself has an answer.
In short, he says to study art and focus on human interactions.
The things that make us human are the long play here. People don’t change. We like interconnectedness. At our root, we are tribal.
In a world that is overflowing with technology, people crave authentic humanity. You already see proof of this.
Why do handmade goods sell (think Etsy)? For that matter, why do they sell at a premium? People want things that connect us to humanity.
So for all of your focusing on technical skills, remember the long play. Remember that the things that make us human will be valued for a long as we exist.
And so closing this out, let me leave you with some examples to get you thinking.
Skills that would fall into this category would be:
- Anything handmade (think furniture or even specialty food)
- Sales and marketing skills (the psychology of persuasion at its core)
Best to you in your journey in equipping your children for the future!