Learn to Code
There are three types of people in this world, those who can understand code, those who can write code and those who choose not to code and become managers instead. Though to be fair with the way technology is progressing, if you want to be successful, you may need to be one of the first two in this category, because even management, administration, accountancy or manual labour might not be enough for you to get away from needing to code.
That first paragraph might seem like an exaggeration, as the human factor will always play a part in many professions.However, there are an increasing number of jobs and roles out there where coding is vital in helping a person to become more effective. The ability to achieve more and become more successful in any given role now becomes down to how you can do it more efficiently, innovatively or a more automated manner, which puts the power in the hands of the person who can code.
I’ve even come across people who work in manual labour professions such as plumbing and building who are needing to compete against technology that can do things quicker and more effectively than humans. For these individuals, having the ability to control such technology now becomes key to their longevity and a lot of this is again going to come down to their ability to code. Even those whose professions aren’t threatened yet by such technology, improving your coding skills prepares you for this inevitability, while helping you differentiate by enabling yourself to do certain things in a more automated fashion or improving your ability to market or innovate by becoming more web savvy.
I’m not implying that you need to be a coding expert in any way. There is definitely room for specialisation in this particular area. However, there is a certain level of programming knowledge that everyone should know and understand (let’s call it programming literacy) that will enable them to automate or simplify complex tasks and be able to lay the foundations for his or her innovation that others can build on further.
We have already seen it with things like drones and self-driving cards which are set to disrupt their industries and yet are inevitable in a world that thirsts for technological advancement. People that are unable to contribute to this world or find ways to do their job more efficiently and effectively are most likely to be the ones susceptible to becoming obsolete in their professions.
Even if you are an entrepreneur who prefers to surround themselves with people who can get the job done in areas where you might not be technically proficient, it is still incredibly valuable to at least understand the concepts of coding, even if you can’t quite make sense of the details of it.
Of course, the world has realised this many years ago which is why academic institutions are teaching basic programming in almost every course and why many companies are trying to come up with programming frameworks which are easy to learn and use and ensure that basic programming courses are widely and readily available.
Just simply understand the basics of programming are not enough though, as any true coder can tell you, it’s not what you know, but how you use it that counts. It’s that ability to not just be able to follow a programming syntax or understanding how various loops and condition statements work, but rather the ability to translate thoughts and ideas into programmatic modules and functions that determine a person success in this area. It’s also all about the ability to simplify something into a repetitive and repeatable task that translates into something that can be easily programmed for a computer or device to do.
One of the common excuses I find for people that choose not to get into coding is that it’s just simply not the way their brain was wired. There is some truth to this, but coding is also not something that needs to be a massive obstacle in understanding. It is simpler than most people might realise and much like mathematics, requires practice to excel rather than just a comprehension of the theory.
The world is constantly evolving and the more you can enable yourself to adapt to this change, the better suited you are to stand out and innovate.