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Why everyone should learn to code?

Learning to program is like every other valuable skill: it takes time, energy and a lot of passion. In an ultra-competitive world, acquiring new skills in the shortest amount of time possible is crucial. It doesn’t matter the industry you’re in; learning to code will give you that extra edge you need- no matter what you do for a living. Programming is not just learning how to communicate with machines and instructing them to do things for you; it’s a way of thinking, it’s a philosophy.

Some say that not everyone is going to become a software engineer or a computer scientist. While this may be true, learning how to program is a skill that can be acquired by anyone who strives to improve. There has never been a better time to learn coding; people are changing the world thanks to innovative and cutting-edge software. If you have ever dreamed of making an impact on our world, this is your best chance. Even if you don’t up becoming a software developer or a computer scientist, you’ll will have acquired some great skills in the process, skills you can use in your everyday life.

Tech luminaries such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Drew Houston and Jack Dorsey have reiterated the idea of getting more and more people involved in programming. Some might argue that this is just an attempt to get more people working for the likes of Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, etc. While this may be true to a certain extent, the need to learn coding is pervasive. More and more job positions require a basic understanding of web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The job market is becoming more and more competitive, hence the need to acquire valuable skills as quickly as possible.

In some ways, learning how to program is a bit like learning a new language. If you want to learn a new language, you should first get yourself acquainted with the syntax and grammar rules of that language. If you want to master it, then you should should strive to improve and expand your vocabulary, immerse yourself in that language, talk to native speakers, etc. Likewise, if you want to learn a programming language, you first need to learn the syntax and then proceed to building simple programs, having a growth mindset all the while. Programming, like learning and mastering a new language, is a never-ending process. There’s no perfection in life; just improvements.

One of the simplest reasons people need to learn how to program is the ubiquity of technology in today’s world. We all use computers, smartphones and other gadgets. Yet, most people don’t bother looking under the hood. Why download an app when you can build one? Why download a game when you can design one?  Sure, we all want to relax by playing a game every now and then, but why not learn how to build a game? After all, there’s no better feeling in the world than building something from scratch, by yourself.

As strange as it might sound nowadays, learning how to communicate with machines will be a vital skill in the future. Rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are changing the world as we know it. According to some experts, millions of jobs might be lost to automation in the coming decades. There’s no need to worry, tough; other jobs will be created in the process. But in order to be a good fit for the new jobs, people need to learn new skills in the shortest amount of time possible. Learning to code will not only help you communicate with machines, but it can also help you see opportunities that you didn’t know existed.

What are just some of the benefits of learning how to code?

You become better at problem solving

One of the good things about programming is that you don’t need a degree in Computer Science to build an app, a video game, a website, etc. What you need is unflinching zeal to learn new things, to solve real-world world problems. The world is awash with problems and challenges. What if you could optimize work processes? What if you could automate boring things? What if you could build more efficient systems? By learning how to program, you learn to think in novel ways, you actually learn how to break down seemingly insurmountable obstacles into manageable tasks. By immersing yourself in programming, you will develop algorithmic thinking, something that will help you tackle all sort of problems.

You become better at your job

Even if you don’t plan on becoming a software developer, learning how to code will make you better at your job, or at any job for that matter. Learning how to program teaches you a lot of skills, from problem-solving skills to learning to think in a logical and structural way. Programming is very detail-oriented. By tinkering and tweaking with programming, you learn to spot even the smallest mistakes. Consequently, you develop a skill which is highly valued in the job market: attention to detail.  But it doesn’t stop here; you can actually use your programming skills to automate boring and repetitive tasks such as searching for text in a file across many files, sending remainder emails, manipulating images, etc. Such skills are highly transferable, turning you into an all-around person.

You can make good money doing it

What if you can make good money doing what you love? Programming is a lucrative profession. But be aware: becoming a good software developer takes years, if not a lifetime. You have to breathe code, you have to love it. Demand for developers is high, but so is the competition. Hence, if you want to become a great developer, you need to acquire rare and valuable skills. It all comes down to one question: are you willing to learn new things. If yes, then learning how to program should be a priority of yours. If you enjoy solving problems, if you don’t mind paying attention to details, then learning to code might just be second nature to you.

Learning how to program is crucial in today’s economy, no matter what you do for a living. Even if you don’t want to become a full-time developer, learning to code will help you in every area of your professional life. As Steve Jobs once said, “Everyone should know how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”