I covered a class Wednesday at Greenbush where students were practicing very basic coding as part of a four-day STEM — Science Technology Engineering and Math — camp. Watching the students work reminded me of my limited knowledge of computer science, and the value it can provide to future people entering the workforce.

I had never even thought about coding until I went to college. While there, I took a class which taught me the basics of the main coding languages — HTML, CSS, JAVA.

It was completely foreign to me. I got the hang of it, and eventually understood the basics of how code commands flow together and what they do, but it was still like looking at nonsense on the screen.

Coding _is_ another language — multiple languages at that — and I was too old to pick up on it and become fluent.

But at Greenbush — and at many schools and education centers nationwide — students have access to free applications, programs and physical tools that assist with coding comprehension. Even children in kindergarten can code using tablet apps.

Many of these apps for young children simply involve dragging and dropping arrows into a sequence, which causes a character to move in that pattern — step forward, step left, step forward, step right, etc.

While this seems simple and not anything like programming a computer with complex code, it is a huge benefit to these young students. It plants the seed in their mind of how coding works on the most basic level. It shows them that commands translate into actions in the actual program. This understanding helps them stairstep their way up to the coding language and will hopefully make them more computer savvy than any generation before.

The workforce is continually moving more and more toward a dependence on technology. Computers, apps and programs are utilized in almost every industry.

As a reporter, I use a computer everyday. I don’t necessarily need to understand the back end and its programming, but I could be even better at my job if I did.

Folks who enter the workforce understanding coding and programming can change the look, function and more of websites. They can create apps to spread content farther or make a task simpler.

And those benefits don’t end at traditional jobs, folks looking to start their own business or with new, inventive ideas can benefit greatly from having the skills to bring their ideas into reality using apps and computer programs.

My limited knowledge will serve me just fine, but an increasing importance will be placed on computer science as businesses move forward. And just like with any language, the younger you begin learning, the easier it is.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.