Op-Ed: The Importance of Coding

Late last year, in an open letter to school administrators, former District 223 School Board President Wendy Serrino forcefully addressed the importance of computer literacy.

It is reprinted here with her permission:

Dear School Administrators,

Learning how to program or code is a new kind of literacy for the young people of today. Coding is like learning to write or knowing algebra; it will be the entry skill many will need to get a good job in the future.

Did you know that 1 million of the best jobs in this country go unfilled? Those jobs are in the tech industry where they have an overwhelming demand for young people who know computer science and know how to code. The salaries, working environment, benefits, opportunities for advancement and to be creative are amazing in these fields.

You can see applications for coding everywhere. Knowing how to code allows anyone to come up with an idea, create it themselves on their computer and immediately have an impact on society. It allows the software developer to have a platform or a megaphone to communicate their idea. You can come up with an idea, press a button and have a million people see or use what you created.

You don’t have to be a genius to learn to code. If you like math, puzzles or problem solving in general, you will enjoy learning to program.   

Creating software is really about helping people solve problems by using computer technology.

The sad part is that computer programming or coding is only taught in 10 percent of high schools. This is a skill that would greatly improve the odds of success for lower-income students. Students at any level love to learn computer science, because the knowledge can immediately be applied.

I have watched my own children learn and embrace computer science and I have seen firsthand how much it has put them at an advantage in the job market. I wish those opportunities for all young people.

Please seriously consider adopting and promoting an full computer science curriculum in your high school. Your students will thank you!


Wendy Serrino
Former President
New Trier Township High School, District 223 Board Of Education

Watch tech gurus Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and more speak to the importance of coding.

For a heartwarming story about how coding changed one homeless man’s life, watch this recent excerpt from the TODAY show.