Apple CEO Tim Cook Says This Is the Most Important Skill Young People Should Learn Right Now

Julia Glum
'It's core," he says.

Looking to pad your résumé? Apple CEO Tim Cook knows exactly which skill you should master next.

Speaking at the TIME 100 Summit on Tuesday in New York City, Cook said he thinks coding is “the most important second language you can learn” because of its global appeal.

And the younger you are, the better.

“I think every kid in the world should learn to code,” Cook told former TIME editor Nancy Gibbs on stage at the event. “Whether your passion is in science or the arts, it’s a way to express yourself.”

Cook, in a wide-ranging interview with that touched on everything from his interactions with Donald Trump to having too many iPhone notifications, added that he believes software is touching every aspect of people’s lives. That makes it even more pivotal for children to learn.

“I’m not saying everyone needs to become a programmer — I’m saying like the basics of mathematics and history, it’s a core skill that kids need to have,” he said, plugging Apple’s “Everyone Can Create” and “Everyone Can Code” curriculum guides.

The benefits of learning to code go way beyond impressing Cook when you do, eventually, sit down for that interview in Cupertino. In 2017, about a third of users on the platform Codecademy said that they earned more money because they learned coding. The median pay for software developers was nearly $106,000 last year, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

Before you run to sign up for the latest bootcamp immediately, know that not everyone agrees with Cook’s opinion. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, for example, said recently that employers should be prioritizing soft skills in areas like communication and leadership instead of technical ones. Cook himself said Tuesday that creativity skills were “equally important” for young people.

So the next time you hit the books — or the, uh, screen — you might want to focus on coding and creativity. Tim Apple‘s orders.