This month’s topic is Coding! There’s no doubt about it, coding is cool. Everyone from rock stars to NBA players are learning to code. We all know Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg understood the importance of learning to code at an early age. But did you know, Jimmy Fallon, Ashton Kutcher, Chris Bosh, Karlie Kloss and many other celebrities also know how to code?

Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. It is the method of giving instructions to a computer to perform a specific task. These instructions are communicated using a “language” that computers can understand. There are several types of coding languages that each have their own set of rules. Some of the most popular coding languages used today are Python, JavaScript, Java, C++, C#, PHP, Swift and Go.

To help students learn coding, traditional text coding has recently been replaced with block-based coding. Block-based coding converts text-based software code into a visual block format and a drag-and-drop approach. The first block coding language developed in 2003 was MIT’s Scratch. Google has since developed Blockly, a library that adds a visual code editor to web and mobile apps. 

Coding allows people from all over the world to connect through the common language of coding. Currently, Scratch is used in more than 150 different countries and available in more than 40 languages to help users create programs that are understood universally.

Software engineers use their knowledge of engineering principles and coding to create many types of solutions such as desktop and web applications, mobile apps, games, robots, operating systems, and network systems. Some of the most cutting-edge technologies like AI and virtual reality are possible because of software engineers. Coding is one of the topics of focus for Members of IEEE’s Computer Society

  • Watch a software engineer share what she does every day. (Source: YouTube)
  • What do software engineers actually do? Watch this video to find out. (Source: PBS Physics Girl)

Have fun and learn more about coding by trying out some hands-on activities. 

Be Inspired by hearing how your peers are making a difference in their communities and then try it yourself! 

  • Watch how 19-year-old Christina Li is closing the gender gap in the tech world with her computer science camp for middle school girls, Hello World. (Source: CNN)
  • Get involved with building something that matters, make a difference in your community, and innovate for impact by signing up for Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition. Watch the six finalists compete in the 2020 virtual event
  • Read about 15-year-old, Jade Nair, who is making a difference by teaching dozens of kids to code during quarantine. (Source: Acorns/CNBC)

Have a different idea on how to make a positive difference in your community? Be creative! Then share with the TryEngineering family to inspire others to do the same.

  • Write down at least one thing you learned about coding. 
  • Think about how to inspire others and make a difference in your community.  
  • Have you, a family member, or teacher share your work on Facebook or Twitter using #tryengineeringtuesday. We want to hear from you!  

Note to educators and parents: These activities are for various age levels (primary through secondary school). We try to offer something for everyone.

Join us, on the third Tuesday of each month, to learn about different engineering and technology disciplines with these 4 easy steps: (1) Explore, (2) Discover, (3) Inspire and (4) Share.