Many jobs we know today are at risk. The nature of work is changing as Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, and cognitive technologies become increasingly sophisticated, thus redefining and redesigning the future of jobs.
As the future of our children will be very different from today, how can we help prepare them for it? With increasing opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)-based jobs, it may be worthwhile to consider early exposure to STEM-related skills.
Here is a list of STEM-related skills children can learn that can potentially pave the way for a career later in life!
Robotics refers to the branch of technology that involves the act of design, creation, operation and application of robots. It combines complex subjects like science, engineering and programming to create robots in a hands-on environment. In a robotics class, students learn how to program, design and make their robots run, walk, and talk among others. Learning robotics allows students to plan, design and transform their ideas into reality.
Robotics is suitable for children ages five and above. In addition to developing problem-solving skills, robotics classes encourage creativity and improve cognitive abilities.
Engineering for children teaches them how to be innovators and build things that can help people in their daily lives. Children can learn different types of engineering courses suited to their age and interest such as chemical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, and marine engineering, among others. To many parents, an engineering course is often not their first choice of an extracurricular activity for their children. However, STEM-based skills may inspire your children to come up with solutions to real-world problems in the future.
Engineering is suited for children ages four and above with the benefits of building confidence and encouraging curiosity and innovation skills.
3. UX Design
User experience (UX) design is a process used by design teams to create products that provide a meaningful and relevant experience for their users. For instance, will placing the bell icon on the top-right of the screen be more user-friendly compared to having it in the centre of the screen? UX Design expands the creator’s mind by making them think of multiple possibilities and scenarios a user will face. In addition, UX Design teaches that there is more than one way to accomplish a goal.
If your child is interested in designing or has an eye for how things should look and work, then UX Design can be beneficial in enhancing those skills whilst promoting critical thinking, enhancing creativity, imagination and collaboration skills. This course is suitable for children ages nine and above.
Another word for programming, coding is the process of creating commands for the computer to follow and execute. There are several programming languages such as Java, C++, and JQuery among others. Learning these programming languages allows the programmer to create websites, games and apps. Introducing coding to children helps them understand the world around them and the way we interact with technology. This may also open their eyes to the infinite possibilities of coding.
Enhanced creativity, development of problem-solving skills and enhanced collaboration skills are among some of the many benefits of learning to code. Coding is suitable for children ages seven and above.
5. Digital Art
Digital art entails anything produced or made using software, computer or other electronic devices. It involves more or less the same techniques and skills that traditional art needs. Digital arts allow one to create animations, characters, anime, comics and many more.
Suitable for children ages five and above, digital art enhances one’s creativity and imagination in creating art of various forms. The skill learned or gained can be applied to a geographically diverse, broad-spectrum landscape that serves many purposes including entertainment, advertising, retail and education.
6. Game Development
Children are known for their curiosity and for coming up with new ideas. A game development course helps them channel this creativity while building on basic maths and science concepts in creating a unique product. Game development can start with building Legos and progress towards using certain software to create simple games.
The idea of encouraging your child to “game” more may not be favoured by many parents due to the drawbacks gaming has. Nevertheless, did you know that the game industry is much larger than the movie industry? Additionally, game development also involves an array of other skills such as coding, UX design and digital art among others.
Game Development is suited for children ages four and above with the benefits of enhancing creativity and imagination, analytical thinking and memory capacity.
7. Computer Hardware
Computer hardware consists of physical parts in a computer such as a graphic card, motherboard and battery. A computer hardware course teaches children the basics of computers such as the terminologies used in describing hardware, what a system unit is and the components within a system unit among others. Learning this equips children with the technology of various types of computer hardware and their functions and how to build a system unit and computer.
A computer hardware course is suited for children ages six and above with the benefits of enhancing cognitive skills, creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills.
8. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology is a shared, undisputable record that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets such as a house, car, intellectual property and branding among others in a computer network. Cryptocurrency is digital money developed using blockchain technology. There are many different types of cryptocurrencies today. As blockchain technology is increasingly applied in finance, it may be worthwhile to help children understand how this technology works at an earlier age.
The primary benefit of learning blockchain technology is to enhance financial literacy as it could be an actual currency in the future besides career opportunities that may emerge. Blockchain technology classes are suited for children ages seven and above.
In summary, these STEM-related classes are excellent in introducing children to some 21st-century skills and knowledge. Your child may discover his or her passion in a certain area that he or she may want to pursue as a carrier later in life!