Cracking The Code: Sparking Interest In Science For Young Programmers

Technology is an ever changing field, one that has grown exceedingly fast during the last few decades. The growing influence that technology has on society and the job market has called for an increasing education in computers and their functions.

The printing press was invented in the 1400s to replace books and articles that had been for ages painstakingly copied by hand. Then the invention of the typewriter in the late 1800s brought the art of type setting into the home.

Many adults today could certainly reminisce on their own school days where the clicking of a typewriter could be heard from office buildings to college dorms. It is understandable that in this quickly evolving technological world the complexity of computers of today leave many scratching their head.

The induction into the computing age has been vast and quickly advancing and it is no wonder that even young children, while fixing a computer, roll their eyes at their parents seeming ignorance.

To put these computing advances into perspective it is important to take stock of the technology which many people now possess and use each day in comparison to what was being used just decades ago. For example the smart phones that just about everyone carries around in their pocket today has just as much computing power as the navigating computer used upon the Apollo spacecraft, guiding astronauts to the moon.

With this ever changing and advancing technological society there arises a need for an education of the mechanical workings of the machines themselves as well as comprehending the formatting of webpages.

Will Paul, president of USMETS, explains that computers “play an increasingly larger role in all fields of science; and according to the bureau of labor statistics computer occupations are expected to contribute over 68 percent of the total growth in science and engineering occupations between 2012 and 2022.”

While it is still a debate about how young is too young to start learning the skills of computer programming, it is generally agreed that students of middle school or high school age will benefit greatly from an understanding of computer coding.

In answer to this rising need, the Livingston Public Library has recently formed the USMETS Code Club, a coding club which is offered to high school students interested in computer programming.

The name USMETS, explains Joseph Emery, the Technology Librarian at Livingston, is a “rehashing of STEM.” Which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Having had their first meeting in Jan., the USMETS aimed to instruct high school students about the many skills in coding they may need for future professional careers. “We do both hard and soft skills,” Emery explains. This means that students get a chance to learn how to build computer hardware as well as software.

The meetings are separated into two periods aimed at presenting and the information “in a way that is exciting and interactive while helping improve [students] leadership, collaborative and entrepreneurial skills,” Emery states.

The first period of the session includes activities which are intended to unleash students “creative thinking, such as looking at ways to improve existing products,” Emery explains while stating that the second period is then dedicated to a presentation from a guest speaker.

The club currently has 15 members and was offered for free after registration. Although registration for the club is currently closed, a summer session is being planned.

The club currently meets on Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the library and is taught by Paul, who is also a volunteer instructor.

The instruction of computer coding is of a rising need for the job market all across the globe and students who take part in a coding club such as the one being held at the library will be instilled with vital skills for the future while connecting students with a “supportive community of professionals and fellow students,” Emery states.

Advancements in technology is surely only going to increase and arming young adults with the knowledge they will need to succeed in such a world is invaluable.

“As we prepare our youth for careers in our technology driven world it’s imperative that we provide them with the skills that will enable them to create and drive the kind of economic success and strength our nation needs,” states Paul.

The club is made possible through a partnership between the METS Exchange and the library. More information about the METS Exchange can be found at For more information about the Livingston Library Coding Club call the library at 973-992-4600.




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