I’m sure the question “should you learn to code” has been asked a lot in the past decade and it’s a hot topic right now with the advent of Internet startups.

Just like algebra and writing. It’s an essential skill.

As electronic devices are embedding into our lives and our convenience digitized, it’s sensible to say that knowing how to code is crucial to embrace the future. And this is where the debate begins… but give it a moment and listen to what I have to say. We will definitely depend more on computers and software automation, resulting in more jobs created in the IT industry. The US is already seeing a shortage of computer engineers that led to Hadi and Ali Partovi to create non-profit Code.org. They launched a campaign featuring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Bosh and friends to inspire more computer science education. If the leaders in the tech industry are calling for programmers, then you know it’s real. Even President Obama is promoting the need to learn to code. According to Partovi, in the next decade there will be an estimated 1.4 million programming positions needed, while the current projections will only see 400,000 graduates in related field. That’s not to say you’ll have to be a programmer to live in the digital age. However, by knowing how the world around you works, it allows you to appreciate what you might have taken as for granted 10 years later, such as being able to fire up Google Maps whenever you’re lost, or use FaceTime for an important conference call. Just like knowing algebra and knowing how to write; through understanding numbers and words, you could use them to create values in your life by describing your thoughts in numbers and words. You could negotiate with the salesman the price of your new car because you calculated that the cost he proposed wouldn’t work with your desired budget. But you couldn’t just say you wanted a lower price; you’d have to provide valid reasons through the power of carefully crafted words. Now, you don’t have to be a competent programmer to understand the effects of knowing how to code. It’s the process of learning to code and how a program works that matters. Because of this indirect benefit, it’s very common to neglect the thought of wanting to code, or even the desire and motivation to do so.

The Secret Behind Knowing How to Code

When asking programmers why they code, common answers are:

  1. Keeping up with the trend and staying knowledgeable of where the IT era is heading. Instead of asking “how did they do that?”, you want to know “could this be done?”
  2. Getting hired in a growing industry that pays well, and software engineering is without a doubt a great career.
  3. Tinkering with computer is exciting and it feels like you have full control of the world.
  4. The joy of solving problems and discovering the solutions.

The first 3 reasons are just the icing on the cake. They’re the nice-to-have choices you can make as a result of knowing how to code. It’s like learning how to drive doesn’t mean you need to become a professional race car driver, or even know how to drive a commercial truck. But if you’d like to, learning how to drive allows you the options to do so. The real reason to code and the benefits you get from programming are far greater from just being able to write a piece of software. It’s the 4th reason that makes programming exciting.

In My Experience…

I learned coding when I was 8 years old. Although I chose to become a products designer for my higher education which eventually became my career, my passion for computer programming still remains. Through my experiences as a designer, I thought the creative nature of the profession wouldn’t intersect with any of the analytical side of programming. But I was mistaken. I’ve realized that the way I think and my approaches to problems are in many ways related to my programming knowledge. The big take, however, is that I’m not afraid to face problems. Because I know any problem can be solved if I’m persistent. I’ve also noticed that I’ve begun to see the world in a different way. In a world where technology is spidering into every inch of the alley, I could feel that I’m part of a big interconnected system. I could understand why everything is falling into place – smart watch, intelligent thermostat, smartphone controlled apartment, self-driving cars and HUD powered glasses. I could also feel the choice of being able to participate in the tech revolution by thinking of all the possibilities and cool things that could make our lives easier. (A disclosure though: my ability to question things around me is also the result of being trained as a designer) But through the process of knowing how to code, I gained an extra level of confidence to really dive deep into the whys in order to come up with the best possible solution. So if this positive upgrade is what I encountered during my coding journey, I’m sure it can happen to you too.

Knowing is Power

If you’re still not convinced why you should learn to program, perhaps just knowing how coding works is enough for a good reason? As we all know and it’s also probably becoming a cliche, but just having the know-how of something can take you leap years ahead of everyone else. “But I still don’t see the value of knowing how to code if I’m not at all interested in becoming a programmer, or even interacting with anyone of that nature in my field” You’re absolutely right. But before ditching the idea altogether, why not give me a chance to share with you the 3 Intrinsic Benefits of Coding?