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Why You Should Learn Coding

When you think about coding, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it the iconic movie scene with someone in a dark room, whose face is only lit up from the code displayed on their computer screen? Coding seems crazy and difficult - thinking of the idea of inputting lines of code into a computer you are able to make a computer do something.


To break it down, the simple definition of coding is “the process of using a programming language to get a computer to behave how you want it to” (Make Use Of). There are numerous programming languages for different uses, like Python, Java, C++ and more! Code or machine code is a computer language that tells the computer what to do and it's the job of the programmer to write these instructions for the computer. Coding seems gruelling, almost like learning another language, but it’s easy to learn the basics and fundamentals so we can start practicing coding and get better at it over time. There are various benefits of learning how to code that can be applicable to now and the future workplace.


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Languages


As stated above, the coding process uses different languages in which the programmer can code. Some of the most known ones include Python, JavaScript, Java, C#, C, C++, GO, R, Swift, PHP, Dart, Kotlin, MATLAB, Perl, Ruby, Rust and Scala. All of these languages are used for building specific projects.


One of the first programming languages I learned is Python because it’s easier to learn due to its simple syntax and integration with other programming languages like C and C++, making it easier to pick up other coding languages after learning python. Python is a popular programming language that is a skill in high demand in some workplaces because it is used in a variety of applications like artificial intelligence, financial services and social media platforms.


The other most popular language is JavaScript, which is mostly used to create interactive websites, as it can be used to produce web content like games and applications for communications that run on a browser (some examples of browsers are Google, Safari, Firefox - what you are on right now to read this article).


Java, despite sounding like JavaScript, is more commonly used by larger businesses for client communication applications (fun fact: Java is described as the “write once, run anywhere” programming language).


Swift is Apple’s language for developing applications for Mac computers and Apple’s devices that can be coded through an application called Xcode on Mac laptops.


To decide which language to learn, try to do some research on what language could be applicable to your potential career path or what you want to make.


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Why should you put in the time to learn how to code?


Coding like any other skill needs practice and needs you to put in time to learn it. Although it might be frustrating or boring first, coding is a general skill that can be used in many scenarios and job positions. It can develop other skills like problem-solving, logical thinking and innovation. Coding is universal and versatile in that it can help bring ideas to (digital) life.

"Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, should learn a computer language, because it teaches you how to think. It's like going to law school. I don't think anybody should be a lawyer, but going to law school can actually be useful because it teaches you how to think in a certain way...I view computer science as a liberal art."

- Steve Jobs


Benefits of learning to code for now

  • Anyone can do it: If you have access to the internet there are a number of reliable resources that you can learn code from. You can learn code from the comfort of your own home for no cost.

  • Pursue passion projects: Coding can be used for building so many things you can apply coding to personal projects and bring your ideas to life.

  • Opens up job opportunities and internships: Even if you are just a student, knowing the basics of coding can be part of your resume and help you in your application of summer programs.

  • Building your interests: Who knows? Coding could be your passion which you might pursue as a career.

  • Improves interpersonal skills: Coding as said before can be used for passion projects or team projects like hackathons where you are given a problem and you are required to use your skills to provide a solution. This can help improve collaboration and communication skills.

  • Help you understand the other aspects of technology: Understanding code can make it easier for you to understand other aspects of technology, or, in other words, be more digitally fluent.

  • It will teach you how to think: Coding can help make you approach problems and projects in a different way as well as help you be more observant to detail. “After all, when a single misplaced hyphen or missing period can mess up your entire code, you become quite skilled at checking your work.” (The Muse)


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Benefits of learning to code for the future


If you don’t know, we are currently transitioning to the fourth industrial revolution which is the new chapter in human development caused mainly by technological advances including robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence like AI trading or self-driving cars. This revolution is characterized by new innovations rapidly applied and developed in society and in our everyday lives. In an article by the Financial Post, there are multiple perspectives arguing the cause and relations between the development of AI and economic growth such as inflation (a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money). However, the fourth industrial revolution tells us how integrated technology will be in the future society and the workplace.


Learning code could help us with job applications (as they become increasingly competitive) and demonstrate our problem-solving skills (which is listed as one of the top 10 skills for the future of work by Forbes). As Forbes has also stressed, “since we’re in the midst of the transformative impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the time is now to start preparing for the future of work.” And a way to prepare for this revolution is learning how to code.


Career Pathways


Here are just a few of the career pathways that are heavily based on programming - most of them need a bachelor's degree:

  • Software application developer

  • Web developer

  • Computer systems engineer

  • Database administrator

  • Computer systems analyst

  • Software quality assurance (QA) engineer

  • Business intelligence analyst

  • Computer programmer


If this article has convinced you to try and learn how to code, then I have done my job. If you don’t know where to start here are some resources:

  • Code Academy: “At Codecademy, you can learn seven different languages: HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, and PHP. Once you learn the basic languages, you can move on to more advanced tasks like building a website, making a Rails app, using APIs to make applications, and other fun goals.”

  • Khan Academy: There are a number of computing courses on Khan Academy where you can learn about JavaScript, HTML, CSS and computer science basics.

  • Code Avengers: Has over 100 hours of courses that can teach you how to build websites in HTML & CSS and games or apps in JavaScript.

  • Learn Python the Hard Way: “Takes you from absolute zero to able to read and write basic Python to then understand other books on Python. No experience necessary to begin, and you can even try the book out for free to see if the method works for you.”

  • What is coding?: This is a great 1-minute video that defines what coding is in a simple way.

  • Introduction to Coding: A 16-minute video that introduces important concepts that will help you with any computer language you choose

  • How to Select Your First Programming Language: A 9-minute video can help you decide what language to learn first.

  • Learn Python - Full Course for Beginners [Tutorial]: This is a 4-hour video that teaches you everything you need to know to start for python. It provides a nice overview of the fundamentals of python.


References


Buckley, I. (2019, December 05). What Is Coding and How Does It Work? Retrieved from

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-is-coding/

P. E. (2018, August 17). Why Everyone Should Learn to Code. Retrieved from

https://www.topuniversities.com/courses/computer-science-information-systems/why-

everyone-should-learn-code#:~:text=Coding%20can%20boost%20problem%20solving,

left%E2%80%9D%20side%20of%20the%20brain



Article Author: Kelley Liang

Article Editors: Valerie Shirobokov, Olivia Ye