Learning to code

January 8, 2018, by Carla Froggatt

Why Learning To Code Will Make You Future-Proof

By Indiana West, Digital Content Producer and English and Professional Writing Graduate

Not many things have the ability to split the nation in two. Marmite, Brexit, milking your tea before or after the water… Now, it seems that there’s one more we can add to that list: computer coding. There are those who can and those who cannot. 

Now being taught as part of the national curriculum from as early as ages 5 and 6, computer programming has become a skill that schools are regarding as intrinsic to primary education as maths and English. Long story short: coding is basic literacy in the digital age. It is, however, one skill that unfortunately many of us – namely those above the ripe old age of 5 – missed the boat on.

It may be safe to assume that if curriculums across the globe think it’s important for the future generation to learn to code, it’s likely to be pretty prevalent in the future workplace. Yet Computer Weekly reported that 40% of people in the UK do not have the digital skills required by most jobs

In addition to that, research from an Australian youth foundation revealed that a whopping 60% of students could in fact be chasing roles that are likely to be obsolete within the next 15 years thanks to tech. It is now more important than ever to be professionally future-proof. And that future looks technical. 

Never fear; it is not too late to get started. We already have the advantage of being digital natives. The fact that you’re reading this in blog form, not printed in a campus supplement, is evidence enough of that.

Future-proof is a buzzword,’ says Techopedia. ‘[It] describes a product, service or technological system that will not need to be significantly updated as technology advances.’

Being ‘future-proof’ essentially means that you are prepared, and taking the necessary steps to ensure you will still be a valuable asset to your workforce in say 10, 15, maybe 20 years time. You will not need replacing or ‘updating’, as it were.

Here are three reasons why learning to code can help you hone a skill that your future-self will thank you for:

1. Supply and demand

Translation: You’ll never struggle for work

According to job market analytics firm, Burning Glass, seven million job openings in 2015 were in occupations that required coding skills. Not only that, but opportunities in the coding job market are increasing at a rate 12% faster than the market average. Programming has even become essential to fields as rudimentary as law and medicine. “Our digital department is every bit as important as our medical staff when it comes to the running of the business,” says Dr Khan of Harley Street Skin Clinic. “In fact, they may even outnumber us.”

With everything from marketing to customer service aided by coding, it’s quite common for businesses to need huge digital backup. A basic awareness of code means you possess a skill set that many companies will be in need of. Guess what that means for demand..?

2. Financial stability

Translation: You’ll earn more money

Every day, more companies look to invest in their tech infrastructures. Borne of this demand are companies such as App Academy, Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly and Makers’s Academy that offer intensive training schemes for computer programming. One participant of such a scheme managed to completely double his salary after completing a traineeship. 

Burning Glass also found that 49% of all U.S. jobs that pay more than $58,000 (£43,000) require some coding skills. If you’re “looking to increase [your] potential income” you should consider coding. They claim you could see up to $22,000 more a year, on average.

3. Brain training

Translation: You’ll respond better to change long-term

Coding is no longer a skill that should be written off for future programmers or software engineers. If you think coding isn’t really ‘your thing’, then it’s arguably even more important for you familiarise yourself with it. Coding breeds computational thinking, problem-solving and systematic ‘if logic’. A basic understanding of code will increase your potential to be a valuable asset to a team, and compartmentalise your thought streams. It also helps to sharpen your brain’s ability to reason, process quickly, timekeep and keep the mind agile enough to bridge potential skills gaps later on. If that doesn’t sound like every quality ever listed on a job spec, then what does?

Interested in learning to code? Codeacademy is a great place to begin. HackSoc is also right on your doorstep for anyone passionate about programming.

Posted in Choosing your career