In step with a burgeoning interest in coding among children and young people across the country, HT Codeathon, a Hindustan Times initiative, offers a stepping stone for success in our technology-run world..
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Machine code, or simply code, is the language computers understand and accept instructions in. Coding or developing machine code is at the heart of computers, robotics, artificial intelligence, websites, apps, games, and more. In line with the growing interest in coding among children and adolescents across the country, HT Codeathon, an initiative by the Hindustan Times, provides a stepping stone to success in our technology-driven world.

Computers are everywhere and our daily lives are closely related to their presence. Life without computers and technology is hard to imagine. Computers affect everything from communications, science, banking, transportation, and entertainment to smartphones and smart homes. In the current scenario, it is important that all students acquire computer literacy.

A computer is a device for working with information or data. The information can be numbers, words, pictures, films, pictures. Computers can store and display data and process large amounts of data. “Networks” connect computers to one another.

How computers work

Computers work in binary, meaning they store data and perform calculations using only the two numbers 0 and 1, which are essentially “on” or “off”. Strings of 0 and 1 represent letters and all dates, but these patterns can be very large. Therefore, computer software uses special programming languages ​​to write instructions for the computer, and the computer converts the programming languages ​​into number patterns.

Arithmetic and programming

Computing is an activity in which computers are used to manage, process, and communicate information. It includes both hardware and software. Programming is a process of writing a set of instructions that a computer is supposed to carry out. These instructions consist of “algorithms,” which are a series of steps that break a problem into small pieces. The instructions tell the computer how to process data.

What is a programming language?

Programming languages ​​are code that uses procedures or algorithms to convey instructions to a computer. Coders use different programming languages, with each language specializing in a particular aspect of programming.

For example, JavaScript is great for websites, while Python is great for data analysis.

Common programming languages

C ++: It is an object-oriented programming. It allows code to be reused multiple times and is an efficient language.

C: It is a basic programming language commonly used for game programming

Java: It is an object-oriented programming. It’s a cross-platform language and it’s very helpful for networking.

Python: It is a universal programming language. It is widely used in areas such as data sciences.

JavaScript: This multi-paradigm programming language enables interactive web pages and is an essential part of web applications. Most websites use it for client-side page behavior.

When can children start?

Nowadays, kids learn to code in elementary schools. Younger programmers begin with block-based programming, where the creator gives instructions by dragging and dropping blocks of commands. Compared to text-based coding, this is easy as there is no need to remember the syntax and you can reuse blocks of pre-written instructions.

Scratch, developed by MIT Media Labs, is the most popular block-based language that encourages sharing and reuse of code, as indicated by the team’s slogan “Imagine, Program, Share”. Blockly from Google is another visual block-based language. Lua is a scripting language popular for teaching text-based coding to younger children. It is widely used for iOS and Android game and app development. The popular Angry Birds game was made with Lua.

Unity is a cross-platform gaming engine that can be used to create 3D, virtual reality, and augmented reality games and simulations.

Why is coding beneficial for young minds?

Some students love to code while others fear it because it is too technical. However, a student who learns these skills also builds skills in complex problem solving, collaboration, innovation, communication, math concepts, logic, and other skills.

Computers are the way of the future. In addition to career prospects in areas such as software development, data science and statistical analysis, there are also emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, game development, app development, Internet of Things (IOT), augmented reality (AR), cybersecurity, etc. The students are special Interested in app development, including coding related to robotics and coding for 3D design using software like Tinkercad and Fusion 360.

Why should you learn to code?

There are many benefits to a student learning to code, some of which:

It enables a person to solve complex, challenging problems

As a career option, coding can be very lucrative indeed. Coders are in great demand

It offers opportunities for innovation and creativity

Sharpen math concepts like variables

Strengthens the ability to use logic such as sequencing and cause and effect

Teaches problem solving techniques

Improves project design skills, e.g. B. the importance of dividing big ideas into specific tasks

Conveys the ability to accept criticism and identify and correct errors

Builds perseverance in the face of difficulties

(Written by Mila Mitra, Academic Director, STEM & Space, and Netra Hirani, Undergraduate, Thapar University. The views expressed here are personal.)

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