Code Red — don’t get left behind

Why you should be learning how to code now

The future workplace will be divided into two different types of people — those that can code and those that can’t. I don’t want to be on the wrong side of that line and neither should you.

As society progresses, skills that weren’t important in the past become important and vice versa. Inevitably some people get left behind.

I believe understanding computing logic and having basic coding skills are soon going to become as important as reading and writing.

Why do I think this?

It makes you better at any job

Not everyone wants to be a software developer. I don’t have any plans to become one, I’m merely a curious amateur. The problem-solving skills you’ll develop by learning to code will benefit you in almost any job though.

I’m not just talking about the coding itself.

I’m talking about the way you think.

Being able to decompose complex problems into smaller, manageable tasks is a great skill to have in any job. Part of learning to code is developing this skill.

On a more pragmatic note, those repetitive admin tasks that make you want to slam your head against your desk could be reduced with some simple code. Now you can free your mind up to solve problems that matter.

AI is coming

I’m sure there was plenty of people who thought we would never get rid of switchboard operators because the idea of automating that task just wouldn’t have been fathomable to most of society.

How else are you supposed to call anybody?

Now it’s unfathomable to most of us that you would have to physically move a phone line connection to call someone.

Today there are plenty of jobs where performance is measured by productivity and efficiency. Unfortunately, when you have a job where you can actually measure your productivity with numbers, it will probably one day be automated.

You might be thinking —

“Well, that’s a pretty big statement to make, what makes you the expert?”

I don’t have some insight into this that the rest of the world doesn’t. If you think that your job where you do the same task over and over isn’t going to be largely done by a computer some day though, you’re either very naive or just plain ignorant. Don’t be that person.

Automation in inevitable so you’re better off embracing it. Who’s know’s what new types of jobs are going to be created 20 years from now?

If you aren’t quite convinced, take a look at this TED talk by Kevin Kelly on how AI may bring on a second industrial revolution.

Freelance is here

The cost of office space in Australia’s major cities is pushing $1000/m² per annum, with similar prices in other parts of the world.

If you’re a business owner and you can figure out a way to get rid of that cost, don’t you think you would do it?

Freelancing is becoming more popular, offering more freedom and fewer overheads than traditional ‘bricks & mortar’ businesses. You don’t need to be sitting right next to someone to be able to communicate anymore. There are lots of online tools to help us collaborate remotely, like Skype, Trello or Slack.

Coding is a perfect skill for freelance — all you need is a laptop and internet connection to work on a project. You can work your own hours and enjoy a more flexible lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want that?

Free resources

There’s plenty of free resources available online these days that make it easier than ever to learn.

If you are feeling compelled to take your first step in coding, here are some free online resources you can use to get started —

Codecademy.com: Easy to use courses that will teach you the basics.

freecodecamp.com: Similar interface to codecademy.com, but is specific to web development. As a result, the course goes into a lot more detail than the equivalent web design course on codecademy. Once you finish all the challenges you have to option to work on real life not-for-profit projects.

Harvard CS50: Great introduction to computer science. The head lecturer is really engaging and clearly knowledgeable. Recommend starting here if you want to understand the fundamentals before jumping into a language.