Why knowing how to code is a good skill to have

By on January 11, 2012
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Join CodeYear.com and learn how to write computer code.

I think CodeYear.com is one of the most exciting and innovative ideas that have come along in a very long time. As I write this it says on that page, “236,059 people have decided to learn to code in 2012.” That’s an amazing number of people.

CodeYear is a project by Codecademy.com to try to get more people writing programming code, or at least to get a taste for what it means to program.

I signed up even though I’ve got quite a bit of programming experience already, and I really hope you do too. If you’ve never written a single bit or byte of code, perhaps never even thought about it, then you’re the perfect candidate for this project.

If you have no experience of computer programming, it basically involves writing commands that the computer will understand to get it to carry out certain tasks. That could be to display a web page, type an article, play a game or just make a phone call with your smartphone. Everything you do with a gadget today requires software and software has to be programmed. Software is clearly of critical importance today. Just look at what sells a smartphone today. Sure, having a big screen and fast processor helps, but having a lot of apps,  great apps, available for it is a competitive advantage and arguably as important.

I started out programming using BASIC in my high school’s computer lab. As I quickly got the bug, so to speak, I moved on with Turbo Pascal and remember trying to develop an application like Microsoft Paint. And I did it too. My application may not have been as robust as Paint (in other words it crashed a lot), but it could do a heck of a lot more than Microsoft’s application. Then I moved on with Assembly language, C and some C++. In more recent years it’s been PHP and ActionScript that has kept me busy.

But I am not a programmer. Not so much because I don’t make a living out of writing code but because it’s something I’d not like to do to as a job, nor would I like to spend that much time writing code. To me hacking together some code is fun and something I enjoy doing from time to time but that’s about it.

I am however very grateful that I got to spend a lot of time writing code earlier on in my life because I think it’s given me a much deeper understanding of and appreciation for what it takes to develop an application, whether it’s for a computer, a smartphone, or the web.

So come on, sign up for CodeYear.com and get programming. If you do continue on to actually developing a piece of software, let us know and we’ll share it here with others. I think once you give software programming a go, the bug will bite you. And this is the good kind of bug.

Photo by James Cridland.


About

I write and talk too much about tech. You can find my personal blog at Nystedt.org, my radio shows at dxbtech.com, and me on Twitter as mnystedt.

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