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Why everyone should learn to code – part 2

Coders and programmers are the architects of the digital era. Whether HTML5, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby on Rails – or what have you, developers today are writing the applications that will continue to impact our lives in profound ways. Line after line of functions, classes, objects, and loops are building our digital world into a place of unrealized new possibilities. Whether building the next generation of mobile apps, games, or other automation features . . . those with the skills to create this digital world will find no lack of jobs and opportunities awaiting them!


As we saw from the opening part of this series, coding and programming are critically important skills in the new digital knowledge economy. And there are plenty of new initiatives out there designed to transform people’s perceptions about the difficulty of code, making teaching and learning opportunities readily available. Industry, education, and social channels are starting to market the concept of code to make it accessible to people of all walks of like.

Making code “real” has also become a large mandate for schools in recent years. Code is the lingua franca of the modern technology economy and those who can speak this language will gain the best jobs in the 21st century. To prepare students today to become the knowledge workers of tomorrow, schools must prepare them in new ways. Curriculum changes are needed. Teachers and educators are impelled by an increased sense of urgency behind the 3Rs and the P – Reading, Writing, Arithmetic … And Programming!

There are no lack of opportunities to learn code, for students and adults alike. Earlier this year the organization, Code.org, put out a video that went viral, showing the influence that code made in the lives of famous technologists such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and more. The organization’s Hour of Code initiative also launched successfully to get every student onboard with trying computer science for one hour, and hopefully continuing beyond that.


Another exciting new endeavor called CodeDay launched in May to encourage students to come together and build cool apps or games together in a 24-hour period of time.

A number of new online teaching forums have sprung up in the past couple years with the mission of teaching code interactively. One of the most popular teaching platform is Codecademy, an online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in six different programming languages like Python, PHP, jQuery, JavaScript, and Ruby, as well as markup languages including HTML and CSS. As of January 2014, the site had over 24 million users who had completed over 100 million exercises.


Another option for learning code is through any one of a number of MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Course platforms such as Udacity, Coursera, Khan Academy, and edX. Through these platforms anyone from age 8 to 108 can take an online course, generally focused on areas of technology and innovation. For example, one of Udacity’s signature courses is Intro to Computer Science, which since its inception in 2012 has introduced over 400,000 students worldwide to Python by showing them how to program their own search engine.


Throughout this two-part series, the basic takeaway that we want to leave with you is that coding is a critical skill that people will need in order to become conversant in the new digital knowledge economy. Moreover, those who can code will have access to the top jobs and best promotions in the 21st century. Keep in mind as well though that coding is not just for professional programmers. As we said before, whether you’re a startup entrepreneur developing a new product or a small business leader marketing an existing one, being able to understand and/or write code is of immense value in today’s business world.

So, if you haven’t done so, give some serious thought to learning a bit of code today. There have never been more opportunities. Doing so, in fact, just might change your world!

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.