It is simply not enough to earn a classic degree from a prestigious university anymore as digital technology ‘disrupts’ virtually every industry, from farming to hospitality.

The pace at which businesses produce new technologies that are capable of changing the way we live and operate is incredible and shows few signs of slowing down.

Scuttling through the maze of startup booths at Echelon Asia 2016 could only be proof of that, as hundreds of individuals proudly displayed their life’s work, in hopes of securing funding to take their ideas to the next phase of development.

We live in undoubtedly exciting times, but the question arises as to how long we can keep up this level of innovation. The need to incorporate digital skills into our education system is now more pressing than ever. If we are going to keep up the momentum, we need to feel confident that the next generation is prepared!

One individual taking matters into his own hands is angel investor and serial entrepreneur, Douglas Khoo, who opened his own coding and programming academy in Malaysia.

“As an angel investor, one of the key issues that I always find is that there isn’t enough developers out there… I thought maybe it’d be good for us to put up an organisation where we can actually train young adults,” he said at Echelon Asia.

Khoo started The Coding Shophouse in Penang to provide young 20-somethings with the opportunity to develop essential programming skills that would prove useful in the new digital economy. “It’s for anyone who is above 20 years, currently working in Starbucks or a McDonald’s but wants to learn a different profession.”

The Coding Shophouse provides short (2 to 3 months) coding courses ranging from basic programming to how to build an Android app. The courses are heavily subsidised and followed by internship placements in Malaysia-based startups.

It is easy to envision a world in the not so distant future where programming is as natural as a second language but Khoo predicts that “any student of the future, when asked what language they speak, will include coding language. It’s going to be the norm in 10 years time.”