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Why Learn to Code? How Learn to Code?

Last updated:
13th Feb, 2023
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Why Learn to Code? How Learn to Code?

We are surrounded by vast amounts of data that get computed into the media we consume. And we seem to know a lot about data consumption. But, some of us know little about creating software. In fact, some schools have always been centered on memorization tactics. 

This drive toward rote learning defeats the purpose of education. Educators should harbor creativity in children, encouraging them to be problem-solvers. Also, the focus should be on generating a genuine affinity towards learning in children. This is where learning to code comes in.

So, why learn to code? Well, it is because we are surrounded by technology. And coding is a form of literacy in such a data-driven world. Thus, many see coding as becoming the passport to the future. 

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Coding in the Classroom? This is how to start.

Students have adequate time to focus on the core subjects in school, but they need time to code to excel in the digital world. Karen Brennan, one of Scratch’s developers, a programming language, says that coding and programming should become accessible to all kids and not just some kids. 

For those unfamiliar with what coding is, it is the process of writing out a set of instructions or steps to be inputted into a computer to produce a desired result or output. This set of steps or instructions is called an algorithm. Coding is done using a coding language such as Java, C++, etc. These are what we call high-level languages. Earlier, programs had to get coded with the hardware type in mind; high-level languages are more or less independent. 

However, we have languages such as Python, Ruby which are VHLL (Very High-Level Languages.) They are known as goal-oriented languages because of their versatility in prototyping to create a broad range of software products. These are sleek and simple, as well as robust coding languages with many applications.

So, now you know what coding and a coding language are, the question is how to learn to code? Well, there are many ways to start coding. Here are some:

  1. Learn the fundamentals of computer science.
  2. Join a coding boot camp.
  3. Give coding time, persistence, and dedication.
  4. Prepare yourself for a long-term commitment and join Stack Overflow (it’s free.)

If you have adequate resources, you can teach yourself to learn how to code. And starting with “Hello World” is not even the tip of the iceberg. In fact, in Python, you can code for it with just one line of code. If coding seems new to you at first, you will need to visit Stack Overflow to discuss problems and work through them.

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The Surprisingly Broad Benefits of Coding

Learning to code has become quicker in the 21st century. An influx of courses teaching you to code provides children with a variety of options. The benefits of coding are apparent, and coding should start from school. So, without further ado, here are the advantages of learning to code:

  1. Coding jobs have immense earning potential: $69,722 per annum is the median salary of a Java developer. Whereas the US national average for all occupations was $39,810. And other incomes in programming jobs are well above the national average income. For instance, let us take the salary of a software developer that is $107,510 per annum. What’s more surprising is that a Silicon Valley engineer can earn upwards of $111,955 with one or two years of work experience.
  2. Coding improves thinking skills: a coder needs to have analytical and logical skills to excel in programming. In fact, that is why parents should ask their children to start coding at the age of 7. This is because coding helps build that essential skill set. Such thinking faculties are the same as those needed in playing chess, finishing Sudoku problems, and puzzles. 

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In a real-world programming scenario, high-level logical skills are crucial. To improve your programming skills, you can try many coding languages such as Perl, Javascript, Shell Script, Java, C++, C#, .NET, Python, etc. 

  1. Coding offers other life skills: many coders do not move onto tech jobs. However, coding does leave you with many abilities such as designing logic, thinking systematically, better visualization, improved collaboration, problem-solving capabilities, and creative thinking. Children going to coding camps leave with an invaluable skill that can work on their resume in the future.
  2. Coding can be essential in other jobs: for team members working closely with programmers and developers, knowing to code allows you to collaborate efficiently. Also, when in a team of technical professionals, knowing to code can help bridge communication gaps. 

For example, being a technical content writer, you will need a working knowledge of coding to apply for the job. The languages range from HTML, CSS, etc. And these are front-end languages responsible for developing the user interface of a website. 

  1. Coding can be an opportunity to bond: learning coding at a young age can be rewarding, albeit challenging. It allows you to discuss problems with your peers and find solutions. This form of collaboration is unique to coding. It is because learning to code also requires effective communication of ideas with others.

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What makes coding so accessible?

When it comes to programming, then the growth potential is limitless. Moreover, the resources offered on the internet are of a similar nature of vastness. In fact, the most popular class at Harvard University is the CS50 course. What’s more, this course is now free of charge. Along with this course, many Youtube videos provide coding walkthroughs such as Treehouse. 

Moreover, the discussions on coding are brilliant and full of bright ideas. If you have the time, you can check out Reddit discussions on software engineering. And being part of such a fun community is part of what makes coding essential to the digital world. Also, if you choose to take on a job as a programmer, the resources are endless.

You can gain access to Coding Interview Prep Platforms as well. For instance, Algo Expert helps you prepare for your coding interviews. Furthermore, when it comes to accessibility, you have many coding languages that are interactive, tailored to the current demographic of coders. 

For instance, Scratch is a powerful, collaborative way of learning. Created in 2007, it has over 4.3 million users worldwide. The users are between the ages of 8 to 18. In fact, the population that is coding and will make the future of technology is still young.

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What languages can you learn and should learn?

If you were in the 1990s and looking for a coding language that was beginner-friendly, then you’d need books. That’s because the 90s had high-level languages with challenging concepts such as pointers and no Youtube learning. For instance, C# is a language having many features that make it easier to learn, but it isn’t as quick to learn as Python. But, it is beginner-friendly and was released in 2000. 

However, it is still relatively manageable for beginners, and one of the best things about coding is that if you are fluent in one language, you can pick multiple languages to learn. Many languages share similar syntax like C# and Java, making it a well-loved language. Now, comparing that with C++ is notoriously hard to learn to code because it requires a lot of thinking.

C++ was first released in 1985, and C# got released in 2000, and the difference in approach is considerably different. Now, let us look at newer languages where the complexity decreases. For instance, PHP is easy to learn but gets complicated when you study frameworks. But it is the key to entering WordPress development, and Ruby on Rails is the perfect starting point for beginners willing to get into CMS platforms. 

But, learning a coding language requires having an understanding of compilers, virtual machines, and interpreters. We mentioned that high-level languages do not depend on the hardware type and are independent, right? Well, these three allow you to code in any machine without needing hardware specifications. For example, Elixir is a functional programming language gaining momentum in many communities. 

Elixir is a good choice for beginner developers looking for their first functional programming language. And it is powered by Erlang VM (Virtual Machine.) Now, a virtual machine emulates a physical computer to allow you to run your code. But, for code to run, it needs to be translated to machine language or binary code. 

For example, JVM (Java Virtual Machine) compiles your code and translates it into machine language to make your code run. Basically, it turns your code into ones and zeroes. Understanding computer science is integral to learning coding, but another thing to factor in learning about data structures and algorithms. 

How can we make learning algorithms painless?

Thinking and writing your own algorithms is how you learn to code. And this is the fun part where you make mistakes and learn new concepts. Here is where the collaboration comes in, and you have to visualize solutions for the whole team. 

At the starting of the article, we mentioned that programming requires creativity. Along with creativity, there is a lot of persistence needed. After all, coding languages like C++ are more daunting than others. Much like a book in a series, you need to read the first novel to move on to others. And most programmers recommend mastering the basics of C and then moving on to C++. 

Furthermore, algorithms are like solving puzzles, and they require levels. You wouldn’t jump onto a 2000 piece puzzle without knowing how to finish a 200 piece puzzle in 5 minutes, right? Similarly, learning and building algorithms require taking incremental steps. What’s more, the more algorithms you know, the vaster your knowledge of coding will become. With knowledge of various algorithms, you can solve problems that require lateral thinking skills.

Problems requiring lateral thinking abilities are usually unfamiliar real-world scenarios in which you have to shine. Knowing a lot of algorithms does help, but so does apply them. Also, by learning to code different programs, you can employ solutions you may have learned to other problems. Thus, your solving capabilities improve, and so does your resourcefulness.

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How can coding shape the future of education?

If an educator teaches you rote learning, then you can ask them about the benefits of coding. Many educators agree that learning to code is a crucial life skill more than a job or hobby. Children learning to program on Scratch can do something which the earlier generation could not. 

They can learn programming in a fun and interactive manner. Also, coding is gaining worldwide acceptance as a way to teach children. Like playing games at an early age encourages brain development. Similarly, coding at an early age involves mental acuity, logic, analysis, and much more. 

Coding isn’t just for techies or children who want to work on computers. It teaches students to create computational media instead of consuming it. They become digital creators, and most people do not grow up to become programmers. However, the reasoning abilities derived from learning coding stay with someone forever. 

For instance, consider apps like Facebook and Amazon. These applications use algorithms that make using them quicker for us. The focus of these formulas is to generate more users. And if children can learn to code in their spare time, they can reduce daily internet consumption. Future coders can learn to become productive individuals. Also, learning coding ensures that children have a creative outlet.

Conclusion

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In a broad sense, coding involves building software, generating users, and collaborating with team members. These are essential skills that help potential leaders in a work environment centered on a collaborative approach. Furthermore, children need to learn how to use their mental faculties to stay sharp. 

When we consume too much online data, it dulls our minds instead of stimulating it. Coding is an opportunity for young learners to shine in the new age. Coding might be challenging at first, but with some discipline, you can become a successful coder. So, why stop at one language when you can learn frameworks for each language too?

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Pavan Vadapalli

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Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.