What is Code and Why Everyone Should Have a Basic Coding Proficiency

By Ashley R.

“Everyone should know how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.” [1] This statement from Steve Jobs, an American entrepreneur, businessman, inventor, and industrial designer, shares how literacy in coding provides individuals with intellectual advantages in the current technology-driven economy. Coding is a particularly complicated piece of art, but with modern civilization powered by software it is no longer acceptable to rely on other professionals in a technology-driven company. By learning basic code literacy, professionals will elevate their appreciation and understanding for technology. This piece of writing will further explore the details of programming as well as why employees understanding code will bridge the gap between business and technology.

It is crucial for a non-technical individual to understand how code, the sequences of symbols painstakingly created by programmers, is different from software, the sequences of instructions computers execute. The job of a programmer is to translate real-world problems into numbers computers can understand. Computers cannot directly execute programming languages, of which there are hundreds; SQL, Java, JavaScript, C#, Python, C++, PHP, IOS, and Ruby/Rails make up the top nine most in-demand high-level programming languages.[2] Special pieces of software translate programs written in high-level languages so computers can run on low-level instruction. High-level programming languages provide the ability to easily express complex, abstract ideas or commands efficiently and accurately.

A non-technical individual should think of a computer as an obedient dog listening to a programmer’s demand or language. As with human languages like English, French, and Spanish, programming languages are all capable of expressing the same ideas, and essentially any language can write any program. These programming languages allow the capability for people to create computer software, apps, websites, video games and more. An early Facebook engineer, Makinde, states, “A lot of coding people really do is actually fairly simple. It’s more about the process of breaking down problems than coming up with complicated algorithms as people traditionally think about it.”[3] It is evident from Makinde’s statement coding has less to do with talent or aptitude, than with practice and perseverance.

The Huffington Post states, “software development jobs are expected to grow 22 percent between 2012 and 2020—significantly higher than other occupations” (Pollack). It is apparent from this jaw-dropping statistic, software is taking over the world by automating numerous routine jobs. It is vital for every person in business to understand the basic knowledge of how lines of code creates the digital world. Coding is not particularly easy, but developing fundamentals of digital literacy will 1) sharpen an individual’s ability to troubleshoot and solve problems, 2) boost attention to detail, 3) improve communication and collaboration skills, and 4) enable the capability of mechanizing repetitive tasks leading to increased efficiency.

For better or worse, computers are firmly a part of modern society and reflects why everybody should pursue this noble necessity, especially in business. Not everyone needs to use code, but learning how to identify and understand needs, as well as how to visually express logic is important. Learning how programming works will bridge the gap between business and technology because those individuals will understand the realm of possibilities and envision game-changing innovations. This inspiring video  featuring the wise words of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Gabe Newell, and more drives home the significance of this concept:  Why You Should Code. [4]

The takeaway is one does not need to dedicate a career to programming to add programming to his or her career. Staying current on the hard skills needed in a technology driven business is a necessity in the short term. Long-term success focuses on soft skills and integrating technical skills with deep knowledge of a specific domain. This piece of writing explored the details of programming as well as why employees understanding code will bridge the gap between business and technology. The way people use technology will change, but the strategy of implementing it through writing code will remain a constant. Those business individuals embracing technology to generate more opportunities will truly impact the world.

Works Cited

1. Streeter, T. “Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview.” Journal of American History 99.3 (2012): 1015- 1018.

2. Kim, Larry. “10 Most Popular Programming Languages Today.” Inc.com, 1 June 2015, http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/10-most-popular-programming-languages-today.html

3. TheRaspberryPiGuy. YouTube. YouTube, 21 June 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

4. Pollack, Gregg. “No, Not Everyone Needs to Learn to Code – But Here’s What They Should Know.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

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