I am encouraged by organizations like code.org and the work they are doing to help kids (and adults) learn how to write code using an approach that is condusive to fast learning. You can see their work here: Learn | Code.org. A somewhat differing point of view is here: Thread: Why you should learn to code. I say “somewhat” because while Winer agrees with the notion of more people coding, he disagrees with how this is being promoted by code.org.
I think there are lots of reasons to learn to code: it’s a creative activity, it helps you understand technology better, it can help you get ahead in life, and it can be fun. I don’t think everyone has to learn to code, just like everyone doesn’t have to learn to sing or draw or other creative tasks. People may be anxious about their kids being computer illerate, but that fear has been around since the early days of personal computers and it was always an overblown fear. Learn to code for the goodness it brings, not because you fear something if you don’t learn.