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Apple CEO Tim Cook: Learn to code, it’s more important than English as a second language

Apple chief executive Tim Cook interacts with Year 2 pupils in a classroom, during a visit to Woodberry Down Community Primary School in Harringay, north London, to view how the school, which is part of the New Wave Federation group of schools, had incorporated Apple's iPad and related software into lesson plans.
Yui Mok | PA Images | Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook says it is more important to learn how to code than it is to learn English as a second language.

The tech executive made the remarks to French outlet Konbini while in the country for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for tech companies to pay higher taxes in Europe.

"If I were a French student and I were 10 years old, I think it would be more important for me to learn coding than English. I'm not telling people not to learn English in some form — but I think you understand what I am saying is that this is a language that you can [use to] express yourself to 7 billion people in the world," Cook tells Konbini.

"I think that coding should be required in every public school in the world."

Of course, it's in Cook's best interest to have the world learning how to code. He runs a tech company that depends on access to a constantly growing pipeline of talent.

But it could be in your interest too: studying coding could increase your chances of pulling in a big salary, as more than a third of the highest paying jobs in the U.S. right now require some familiarity with computer programming, according to a recent report from job search platform Glassdoor.

But, Cook says, the benefits go beyond that.

"It's the language that everyone needs, and not just for the computer scientists. It's for all of us," says Cook.

"Creativity is the goal. Coding is just to allow that. Creativity is in the front seat; technology is in the backseat. It is sort of the blend with both of these that you can do such powerful things now."

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