The earlier the better
Computing as a skill is best learn when you are still young and have the capacity to absorb different things quickly. Have you ever wondered at the apparent facility with which young people learn new languages? Have you ever wondered why teenagers can text at speeds that would not shame a competitor in an international context?
This all indicative of the kinds of abilities that you have as a young person to acquire skills. It is not just about having innate abilities to do with age. That would be an ageist attitude to take. It is also about responsibilities and the time to do the work that is needed to develop adequate computing skills.
Having IT skills from a young age is becoming increasingly integral to the career successes of today’s youth, and allows them to do anything from compose essays with word processors to using their internet skills to gain online degrees and engage in constructive academic pursuits with colleagues across the globe. It goes without saying that reading, writing and math are basic skills that are by far the most important, but it seems viable in this day and age that we should teach our children to use a keyboard the same way we teach them to use a pen.
I know that many education systems where atrocious in the nineteen sixties and fifties because they did not emphasize the role of modern technology. However these days there is really little excuse. Even children in the most underdevelopment countries have some for m of access to computers if they really try. I think that it is always best to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise because when you grow older there might be issues that prevent you from building your skills in this area.
The challenges of learning late
A much neglected complaint is one about the shame of not knowing something. When we are young we learn new things every day and there is no reason or room to start worrying about whether we are ignorant. The reality is that most young people are ignorant about the life experiences that they will have to deal with when they grow up. For example a primary school child will have no problem in attending a beginner’s computer class whereas a pension might think twice about humiliating themselves in this way.
Whereas grown up people have more resources and can pay for computing resources, the reality is that they have many responsibilities that take away any time that they might have earmarked for learning about computing. The prime example is that of a single parent who has plenty of housework to deal with let alone the rigors of pursuing further education. This means that although they may be able to afford the computer course, they will be reluctant to join it because of other pressing commitments.
Even within a work environment, it is far easier to attend computer courses if you are a junior employee without much responsibility. However if you are a manager entrusted with the duty to ensure that there is no crisis in the department, you will be under constant pressure to deliver those objectives. I am afraid that much desired computer course will have to take a secondary role in the things that you do.
That is the nature of responsibility and the consequences of growing up. You can no longer take the time available for granted and have to plan your activities very carefully in order to fulfill your schedule. It is from that point of view that I believe that it is far better to learn about computing when you are still relatively young.