Coding definitely prepares students for careers in the ever-expanding field of IT. However, the life skills that it teaches are invaluable. Learning website development skills also teaches perseverance, problem-solving, and team work. As students code, they often come across problems in their lines of coding that cause problems with the applications they create. They then have to solve the problem with debugging, which is finding and solving problems with code.
Coding students have to be able to identify problems with their code. They have to have patience and a good eye for finding problems with code. Then they have to solve the problem. When students work with others to debug a program, they develop teamwork and collaboration skills. They share ideas and rely on each other’s strengths to debug the program in the most efficient way.
Another positive aspect of debugging is that it teaches students to persist when they face a challenge. When they have created their own programs, they are intrinsically motivated to find the problem and then solve it. For instance, say a student has created a game and one of the character’s functions does not work well. Since the student created the game, he or she naturally wants to find the problem and solve it. The student has a vested interest in the program and desires to see it work flawlessly.
Thinkersmith published a lesson plan on CSEDweek.org (Computer Science Education Week) that teaches coding without using any actual technology. The lesson plan provides a simple way for students to discover debugging. In the lesson, students design “code,” or directions, for a “robot” to follow. The “robot” may be paper cups or even the teacher. When the robot executes the code, there may be problems with the code. Students have to find where the problem happened and then decide how to fix it.
Debugging teaches analytical problem solving, perseverance, teamwork, patience, and detailed observation. These soft skills are assets for anyone to have in the professional world, no matter whether or not a student works with computers.