There’s no denying that technology dominates a huge amount of different industries, and in today’s competitive job market, the most successful people are those who can leverage it to their advantage.
Since computer programs rely on the language of code, coding, in its most basic terms, is really just assigning a computer a task to do based on a set of guidelines you have outlined. You can make all sorts of things with code, from games and websites to apps.
As roles are increasingly automated, coding has progressed from the geeky hobby it was once seen as to a critical career skill, and although you might not think it’s relevant to your job, having this knowledge can accelerate your career in a range of industries while providing you with even more job opportunities.
Learn to read, write, and understand code and you’re already ahead of the curve. Why? Because there simply aren’t enough people who possess this skill.
Every industry you can think of needs web developers, so learning to code can be an easy route into an open field of work. But coding is a fundamental skill for plenty of professions, particularly now that more hybrid positions are being introduced into the workforce. Here are just a few of the tech-related jobs where knowing code can make you an asset:
In a rapidly-shifting digital economy, learning to code can ultimately make you more flexible in your working life. Since coding jobs are computer-based, you may have the opportunity to work remotely, and, if you decide to work independently, the opportunity to freelance.
As with any job, you’ll still have meetings and deadlines, but working freelance gives you far more freedom. In addition to having the autonomy to manage your own schedule and escape the traditional 9-5, you’ll get to a place where you can be picky with your projects, and only work on those you are most passionate about. But ask most freelancers what the best perk is and they’ll likely tell you it’s getting to work while traveling.
Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs famously said: “I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” Put simply, learning to code won’t just give you the technical knowledge you need to progress in your career, but a new way to approach your work, too.
There’s a common misconception that coding languages are a bunch of indecipherable symbols used by techies to come up with complex algorithms that the majority of people won’t understand. But one of the main purposes and benefits of coding is actually to come up with solutions for problems. It’s a logical way of thinking, where you identify potential trouble areas and troubleshoot until you find a solution.
Tuning into the left side of your brain will also improve your attention to detail. Take a course in HTML coding and you’ll quickly learn that something as simple as a misplaced hyphen can mess up your entire code. The key is breaking it down into digestible chunks.
You only have to look at what is being taught in schools now to see that digital credentials are the future of the workforce. In 2015, learning to code became part of the national curriculum in the UK — the aim being to "ensure that all pupils can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science".
Not knowing code can put tech entrepreneurs at a disadvantage in particular. But even for companies outside of the tech sector, coding knowledge can save a lot of time and resources. Being able to automate an IT process using code, for example, avoids the need to do it manually.
As mentioned previously, coding is an area facing a huge skills shortage, which also makes it an extremely lucrative industry. Demonstrate a coding and programming ability and an employee will likely be willing to pay you more to work for them.
Of course, the amount you earn will depend on the job you do. The starting salary for a Junior Developer, for example, is usually around £30,000. But you’ll find that the more experience you can and the more coding languages you learn, the more doors will open for you. Senior Developers can earn anything from £65,000 upwards.
Obviously, you are paid according to your skillset, and there’s no denying that the job itself can be demanding and difficult. But get to a position where you can charge more, particularly as a freelancer, and you’ll also have the freedom to work fewer hours.
The answer to this question depends on various factors — one being the person’s strengths. If, for example, you are a logical thinker with good attention to detail, you may find it easier to spot problems within code than someone without these skills. But whatever your strengths, the basic knowledge of coding languages might not be as hard to learn as you think.
The main hurdle when it comes to coding for beginners is finding the time and the motivation to practice. If you’re someone who is highly-disciplined, willing to put in the research, and you have the time, you can teach yourself the basics of coding in no time at all. If, on the other hand, you’re unsure exactly where to start, coding courses are well worth the investment.
When learning to code, it’s best to take baby steps. Attempting to grasp a complex programming language before you know the basics will leave you wanting to bang your head against the wall, so it’s best to start with an easier coding language. The following languages are high-level but great for beginners.
HTML and CSS – the most basic programming languages, invaluable for web development and design. Learning HTML and CSS can assist you with everything from formatting a blog or email to embedding external content on your site.
PHP – designed to make web development easier and one of the easiest languages for beginner coders. There are no hard rules on how to build features, and you'll have more flexibility in solving problems using different methods.
Our team of coding experts have over 25 years of experience and can help you to learn various coding languages or take your current skills to the next level. We offer online coding courses, as well as face-to-face tuition for small groups in our London centre.
by Emma Gibbins | 12 Jan 21
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