Many people in today’s world believe that only professional coders (and coding teachers) need to learn to code.
It seems like a reasonable assumption. On the surface, coding doesn’t seem very relevant to the general population. It sounds like a lot of time and effort to put in, to learn a (seemingly) specialized skill.
If you want to be a marketer, or a teacher, or a scientist, or a mechanic, why would you waste your time and energy learning to code?
The fundamental misconception that underlies this question is the idea that coding isn’t useful for most of us in our daily lives. The truth, however, is that everyone — no matter what profession they’re in — could benefit greatly from learning to code.
Hindsight is 20/20, but foresight is far more useful.
This isn’t the first time that people have underestimated the broadly-applicable value of computer skills. To see the folly of this way of thinking, one need only look back a few decades, to an era when computers were still in the realm of The Techie and The Nerd.
In the 1950s and ‘60s, computers were viewed by most Americans (or at least by those who had heard of them) as a form of corporate machinery. Like bulldozers and cranes, they were instruments for businesses, rather than individuals, to use. They cost as much as, or more than, many peoples’ homes, and were basically just giant, glorified calculators.
By the time companies like IBM and Apple began marketing “PCs” in the 1970s, computers were seen as expensive gadgets for geeks, scientists, and computer professionals.
If you asked a group of teenagers in 1980 if they had any computer skills, they might scoff at the idea. “Computers are for nerds,” they’d tell you. “Why would we need computer skills?”
If you wanted to ask the same question today, you’d first have to pull the teens’ attention away from their smartphones. And if you succeeded in getting them to look up from their YouTube videos and Instagram feeds, you’d likely get little more than a raised eyebrow or an eye roll, before they dove back into their digital worlds.
Imagine trying to convince people, back in 1980, that computers would one day dominate their lives.
Imagine trying to explain that having computer skills would soon be essential to their ability to compete in the job market, make a decent living, and be successful in life. They wouldn’t believe you. They’d think you were exaggerating, or trying to sell them something.
People used to believe that learning how to use computers was only important for nerds, scientists, and computer professionals. Today, in hindsight, it seems silly to think like that. But people in today’s world are making exactly the same mistake, in believing that only coders & computer nerds need to learn to code.
Computers are everywhere, and they’re becoming more and more essential to our lives.
At this point in 2017, nearly every person in the United States has at least some basic computer skills. Computers have become an essential part of our daily lives. We use them for everything from entertainment to communication to getting things done and earning a living.
According to a recent Pew poll, more than 92% of young adults in the US own smartphones. Among wealthier millennials, the numbers are even higher. Studies have shown that the average millennial checks his or her tiny pocket-sized computer over a hundred and fifty times per day, averaging over four hours of smartphone use each and every day.
And we aren’t just using these computers for fun & entertainment. In today’s day and age, it’s hard to get a good job or have a successful career in the United States if you don’t know how to use a computer. It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in. From marketers to mechanics, from anthropologists to zoologists, teachers, inventors, bank tellers & baristas, lawyers, accountants, airline pilots — everyone, in nearly every kind of profession you can think of, needs to use computers to make a living.
Why you need to learn to code (even if you don’t want to be a coder)
Today, people understand the importance of basic computer skills like word processing, searching the internet, connecting through email and social media, and using specialized apps & programs. Computer skills aren’t only for computer professionals anymore. They’re for everyone.
Coding skills are simply the next level of computer skills that you need to learn if you want to be successful in your career. Just like learning to search the internet can open up a whole new world of possibilities, learning to code can expand your horizons, both personally and professionally, in new and unexpected ways.
1. Coding helps you be more efficient, in life and in your career.
Being able to effectively communicate with computers (in their own language) improves all of your computer-related interactions. Tasks like finding information on the internet, accessing services, and interacting with software become easier, and more second-nature.
If you put in the the effort to learn programming languages like Python, you can actually gain the ability to automate your repetitive tasks. By writing a few lines of code and running them on your computer, you can automate those boring, repetitive things that you have to do every day. That’s right: your computer will do your work for you, automatically, while you’re eating and sleeping and doing something else. This can save you tons of time, so you can focus on more important, long-term aspects of your career.
Simply put, being able to communicate effectively with the computers around you actually makes you a more efficient human being.
2. Coding can help you connect with other people, promote your services, and be more successful in your career.
A mechanic who knows how to code can market his services much better than a mechanic who doesn’t. The same goes for every other profession.
With simple, easy-to-learn skills like WordPress, web design and web development, you can create and manage websites to market your services and reach a larger, more affluent clientele.
Or, if you’d rather get a job instead of being an independent freelancer, you’ll be able to create a personal resume website that stands out from the crowd.
The more fluently you’re able to communicate with computers, the more useful things you can create. You can create websites that interact with potential clients, draw them in, collect their contact information, and even close deals… all while you sit back and watch the money roll in.
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to do all of that right now? Instead of reading an article about why you need to learn to code, you’d just be doing it. You’d be building and improving your career right now.
3. Being able to communicate with computers unlocks the doors to dozens of computer-related careers — many of which don’t require coding on a daily basis.
A huge number of careers become much more obtainable (and doable) when you learn to code.
Graphic design & video editing
Graphic designers and video editors don’t need to code in order to create their art. But if they learn to code, they can use editing programs that aren’t accessible to the code-illiterate public. FFmpeg, for example, is an extremely powerful and light-weight video editing program. But it only runs through the command line interface. If you’re not comfortable with code, it will be very difficult to use that kind of program.
Managers and executives — whether in the tech sector or any other — can benefit greatly from learning to code. Understanding how code works gives a person an intuitive sense for which processes can be automated, and which ones can’t. This can help a manager to make her company more modern, cost-effective and efficient.
In today’s world of electronic music, even musicians can benefit greatly from learning to code. Aside from the rare musicians who create their own music production software, many artists are finding that they can use their coding skills to make money from their music. Dansonn, for example, built an online platform where people can listen to, download, and license his background-beats. Through his platform, Dansonn has been able to license his work to the likes of ESPN and The Wu-Tang Clan.
Science & Engineering
Scientists use computer programming to analyze their data and create computer simulations to predict future events. Engineers write scripts to do important structural calculations and model how their creations will work.
Basically, everyone needs to learn to code.
Many other professionals — from customer service reps to animators to internet marketers to entrepreneurs — can benefit greatly from learning to code. No matter what career you’re in (or want to get into), it is likely that you will too.
To learn more about how you can learn to code (while still keeping your day job), give us a call at 305-783-3599, or visit our website at techlaunch.io!