"Code me some Java" is the new "como se llama."
That’s because school-aged children have more of an interest in learning code than a foreign language, according to new research from Ocado, a technology group based out of the United Kingdom.
The group’s research shows Python, a popular programming language overseas, is the most taught language in schools, even more popular than French.
This comes one year after the computing language curriculum was implanted into schools, the group’s website says.
It’s a popular decision among parents, too. Six out of 10 parents want their child to learn a programming language over a foreign language, the research showed. And 75 percent of children would prefer to learn code than French or Spanish, the research found.
To find this, researchers surveyed 3,000 people (1,000 were 5 to 11 years old, 1,000 were 11 to 16 years old and 1,000 were parents), according to the research.
The survey also noted children lose their interest in learning code as they get older. In fact, more than half of the surveyed students said learning code was an easy option in school, rather than an important one.
Coding has long been known to help students learn more. The Center for Digital Education found students become better at problem-solving when they learn how to code, since coding requires students to problem-solve on the go through critical thinking and creativity.
And students are loving it.
"Technology isn't going away," Tiffany Mannausau, a school district tech partner in Missouri, told the Center for Digital Education. "Think about how much thinking is going on right now and the math, and tie it into the writing. You can see right now, not one kid is not engaged."
That engagement could help students down the road because coding makes it easier for young people to land a new job that pays well in STEM-related fields, according to Danielle Kelley, a recent college graduate, in a piece for STEM Jobs.
“Students should have opportunities and learning to code will give them opportunities beyond their reach,” Kelley told STEM Jobs. “The generation of students today, have the benefit of utilizing a skill that will not only transform their education, but their lives as well. Teaching our kids to code is crucial from a cultural and educational standpoint. The world is morphing into a new era, and we have to make sure our kids aren’t left behind.”
Coding also helps workers and students build more self-confidence, since students can work at their own pace to solve the coding problems, the website says.
Coding can also help workers move up the corporate ladder, according to Farhad Manjoo, a commentator who recently spoke to Marketplace, a financial responsibility website.
Not enough people in the workplace know how to code, he said, so understanding code will help workers stand out. It also allows workers to become more engrained in technology, which will help them stay essential to the work staff.
“By helping you get acquainted with the primary force driving the modern economy, learning to code is becoming nearly as important as knowing how to read and write,” Manjoo told Marketplace.
For more on the benefits of coding:
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret News National. Send him an email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @herbscribner.