More kids get early start in coding
Demand for computing skills growing as S'pore establishes itself as tech hub
Fresh computer science graduates were among the highest paid last year.
Those from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) received starting salaries of $3,850 while their National University of Singapore counterparts got $4,285, based on a survey by NUS, NTU and Singapore Management University last February.
It's no wonder that courses related to computing are in huge demand, with NUS reporting a 65 per cent jump in enrolment over the last two years.
Children as young as five are getting an early start in the field, thanks to a growing pool of coding schools.
Saturday Kids, a digital literacy school founded in 2012 by Mr John Tan, conducts workshops, weekly classes and holiday camps on programming, coding, electronics, digital art and design thinking.
The school has taught more than 5,000 students aged five to 16, and enrolment has doubled every year since 2016.
Mr Tan, 36, said that around 20 new coding schools have opened in the last two years.
Coding school SG Code Campus is one of them. Founded in 2016, the school offers programming and coding classes for children aged nine to 18 and has had more than 1,000 students.
Co-founder Ian Choo told The New Paper: "Enrolment has quadrupled since we started as there has been rising awareness of coding as an important skill, especially as Singapore establishes its identity as a tech hub."
Last year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority launched a $3 million Digital Maker Programme, which aims to distribute 100,000 micro:bits - pocket-sized, codeable computers - to the public over the next two years to teach basic coding.
Mr Tan believes coding is more than just a gateway to a well-paying career.
He said: "Digital skills encourage children to be curious, inventive and resourceful."
When he was 11, Xavier Pan, a Saturday Kids student, programmed a prototype of a 3D printer using a basic robotics kit, Lego WeDo.
Xavier, now 13, said: "After learning computing, I became more curious, creative and started exploring technology."
He joined the school five years ago and has programmed more than 50 games, mobile apps, websites and animations.
Mrs Eugenie Monteiro's daughter Chloe enrolled in her first programming course at nine but quit as she was impatient. Encouraged by mum, Chloe, now 13, wants to give it another go.
Said Mrs Monteiro: "I realised coding is as important as reading and writing especially as everything is digitised and automated."
Chloe is leading a team of five girls who are building an app to tackle e-waste in Singapore for Technovation, an international competition.
She said: "With coding, I want to make a positive impact on the world."