In today’s technology-driven era, the use of information in creating solutions to problems is very important in as much as thinking outside the box is very essential. Problem-solving, analyzing the validity of solutions and spotting patterns in data – these are all essential skills in ‘computational thinking’.

What then is computational thinking?

The cognitive process involved in the breaking down of problems is referred to as “Computational thinking”.  Also, formulating solutions that are effectively carried out by an information-processing agent like the computer. [CunySnyderWing10] It is the cornerstone of all coding programs and is a skill that is used in almost every sector – be it in the industry, business, education and so much more. Workplaces need employees to take an active role in thinking about problems that may arise and be creating solutions to these problems.

Computational Thinking is important because it enhances the following sub-skills that are essential in coding.

1. Algorithmic Thinking 

The development of a set of instructions, or sequence of steps, to solve a problem. It is a means of getting to a solution through the clear definition of the steps needed.  Thus, if the instructions are followed correctly – whether by a person or a computer – the problem is solved.  It leads to the answers of both the original and similar problems. Just like in the society where we live in, we follow rules in order for us not to be in trouble or to simply achieve what we aim for.

2. Evaluation 

Evaluation ensures that the solution is fit-for-purpose. With all the possible solutions, evaluating enables you to choose which is best for them to solve the problem. Evaluating the solution makes sure that it is appropriate for the problem that will lead you to the goal of solving it.

3. Decomposition 

This is the process of breaking down the problem into smaller and more manageable units.  Smaller units are easier to conceive, understand, program, and maintain. In solving coding problems, you need to make choices about what to do and what order to do them in. The solution is easy when the problem is smaller.  Problems can be solved on an individual basis.

4. Abstraction 

Abstraction is the process of defining patterns, generalizing from specific instances or removing complexity without losing the important detail required to solve a problem. This process reduces complexity.  It also increases efficiency, aiming to reduce duplication of information in a program.

5. Generalisation 

This is the process of finding a general approach to a set of problems. It is a means by which you will find the solution as a whole, or deal with the problem holistically.

Furthermore, computational thinking is a core skill that every child should know and master. Technology is advancing at a very fast pace and today’s modern society requires people who can confidently face problems, regardless of their nature, and work out logical solutions. Technology is constantly changing and so with computational thinking, which has application across all walks of life, thus making it a very important skill.

Computational thinking isn’t just for programmers. It is a skill that is useful for everyone – especially for children – as it prepares for their future endeavors. It serves as a bridge that crosses the gap between today and tomorrow.

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