You know how annoying it is when you get married, and then meet the love of your life shortly after? It happened to me.
I got admitted into university to study Electronics and Computer Engineering in a school where the focus was on hardware systems, midway I discovered web development and it completely changed my life trajectory.
Do I wish I went to study computer science or software engineering specifically? The answer is a resounding yes! but I don’t feel too bad about it considering that I went ahead to teach myself everything I know about programming and it turns out that most developers (about 69%) in the world today are self-taught.
The past few years, my experiences have convinced me that in a few years being able to code might be the equivalent of “being computer literate” is today, in other words, required.
This would be a good time to explain what I mean by coding;
Coding is basically writing instructions for a computer to execute.
Now, this definition is deliberately vague and is to make sure my point is not missed.
Software/App/Web Development is a highly specialized skill which takes years to hone and not everybody will tend towards that field, but we code every day without even knowing, for example when you set up your excel sheet to make automatic calculations based on the figures placed into the columns, that’s a form of coding, when you copy and paste short-codes in your WordPress site back-end, that’s a form of coding, when you set (or code) your microwave to a certain temperature, time, task, that’s also you coding.
There are many examples like these of normal “non-technical” people applying to code to their everyday lives or work, and with the era of technology inescapability we are in right now, these scenarios are expected to increase not reduce, and that in and of itself is a good reason to learn how “this coding thing” works.
Below are a few reasons why I think you should learn how to code;
It might soon be required
Just 20 years ago, “Computer literacy” was not something you would typically be asked about at a job interview. Today, from teachers to lawyers to engineers, employers expect you to be reasonably computer savvy in order to be considered for employment, even if computers don’t have much of a role in their core duties. This is because computers have become ubiquitous and have become an invaluable tool for productivity in the workplace.
It’s impossible to know what the next frontier will be in this context, what we can do is make hypotheses based on available data, and I feel pretty comfortable in stating that in less than 20 years, basic coding skills will be required for a large number of positions.
Every day there are new productivity tools being introduced, to the workplace, and while they are all easily manipulated via a front-end framework, some of them have more powerful, advanced tools that can only be accessed by typing some basic codes, employers will want people who would not panic at the sight of a few lines of code.
Programming at its core is the solving of problems through the use of code. Programmers have a unique way of looking at problems which they have to solve using their code. This method of problem-solving can be applied to non-computer related problems. An ability to think like this becomes invaluable to employers who start looking for candidates with these skills to fill other non-technical roles.
6 to 12 months intense study on web development is able to get you a well paying remote or on-site job as a programmer for a big or small firm.
The skills of a programmer are also in demand on the open market and you could make a really decent living as a freelancer, especially with the advent of sites like Upwork, Freelancer, e-lancer, Fiverr etc.
You could also build a software company that could make, or get sold for millions or billions of dollars, (It's rare, but it could happen).
Sense of Accomplishment
This is more intangible and difficult to explain, but if you played with Lego’s as a child, try to remember how you felt after building something really good with your toys.
There’s something satisfying about seeing an idea go from conception to completion, as a programmer you have the opportunity to translate your ideas into reality. This means you can work on projects that you really care about.
Building a piece of software, website, mobile app from scratch while extremely intensive, is very emotionally rewarding. There is no feeling like handing over what you built to the client and watching them use it, watching it evolve, change & impact actual lives.
You will catch yourself visiting the site at odd hours just to see how it's going, even fixing issues the client has not paid for and probably has not noticed.
You don’t need to sit in an office for 10 hours a day in order to do your job as a programmer, more and more companies are beginning to incorporate remote working models into their systems, large companies like Taxify, Uber, Microsoft etc have hundreds of remote programmers scattered around the world. Nowadays, most companies would not object if you decided that you wanted to work from home on certain days as long as you have a track record of meeting your deliverables as at when due. This gives you the ability to be able to have a full life both within and outside work.
The brain like any other muscle, has to be exercised in order to be kept healthy. As a programmer, you have to constantly keep yourself abreast of new tech, old tech, as well as future tech. You will find yourself constantly reading, practicing, learning etc and this will keep your brain sharp. It’s not uncommon to see coders who are advanced in age still sharp, and able to write powerful programs, this is testament to the power of their brains & thinking faculties even at that age,
and last and definitely the least…
Imagine this, there’s a problem at a big company, their website (which is key to customer conversion) is down, their in-house tech guy doesn’t know what to do, the manager is losing his mind, everyone is going crazy, there is chaos, panic and utter madness in the office, in the midst of all that, someone remembers that their friend is a very good programmer, the friend is you, they give you a call, asking you to please help, you come in to their office (after negotiating a huge sum of course), spend 3 to 6 hours working on it and eventually its solved. The day is saved, you are a hero, everyone is in awe of you… cool right?
Lol. now wake up! Admittedly, this scenario would most likely never happen, but having a skill that not too many people in the world can boast of is quite heady, it makes you feel good about yourself whether programmers would admit this or not. As humans, being a part of an exclusive club has always been a huge draw, and that’s not about to change.
One of the worst kept secrets in the world is that programming is a skill anyone can learn, people are not born with the skill, just like any other skill, dedication and good old hard work is enough to make you a master.
I have said so much about why you should learn how to code, now I’ll tell you how.
Below is a list of beginner-friendly and free sources for easing you into the world of the coder. Maximize these resources, and I assure you your life will change.
In summary, computers are taking over everything, 1000 years ago only 20% of the world population could read and write, it's not that far-fetched to imagine that in a few short years, basic coding skills will become a basic marker for who is literate and who isn’t.
Give yourself an advantage, learn how to code today.,