Learning to Code: The Hottest Career Path of the 21st Century
Learning to code has been proclaimed around the world as one of the best new things you can learn to do to help your career. There is no question that knowing how to code is a valuable skill – one that can lead to many high paying jobs.
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In the future, growth will inevitably be driven by technologies derived from coding. Let's look into some of the skills associated with learning to code, the different languages you could learn, and then some resources that might help you along the way.
Why You Should Learn
There's no doubt that software is engulphing nearly every new product on the market. From the newest smart toaster to your cell phone, varying level of software design is embedded into the product creation process. This means good things for those who know how to code. With nearly every product requiring either a software team or consulting someone who knows how to code, there are endless jobs for those who have this skill set. This is one of the main reasons you should learn how to code, there are thousands upon thousands of open and well-paying employers looking for someone who can code.
Of course, don't get into coding if you think that you are just going to hate it. Also don't just get into coding for the money. However, those of you that may think coding isn't for you likely don't understand how fun and rewarding coding can be. That brings us to point two, coding is one of the most rewarding ways you can make a living. It involves aspects of creative writing, problem-solving, and at the end of the day, you get to create things that are useful. Compare this to your typical 9-5 and you'll probably enjoy work a little more.
Lastly, and perhaps most persuasively, being a professional programmer doesn't require a degree. A high schooler that knows how to code is just as valuable to a company as a college graduate who knows how to code. If you know the (coding) language and can problem solve, then chances are a company out there wants to pay you, whether you have a degree or not.
The Skills of Coding
We hear all the time that everyone should learn how to code, but that seems weird given that we assume some people are just naturally better at things than others. While everyone should have a general idea of how coding works, there are certain skills that people either have or can develop that make them a better programmer.
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By far the biggest asset to a programmer is their willingness to learn. Someone who approaches coding with a willingness to learn will perform miles better than the uninterested type. The other major skill necessary to be a good programmer is problem-solving skills. Coding is just that, problem-solving. Luckily for the beginner who thinks problem-solving isn't their thing, this is a skill that can be trained. For myself, as I look back to my days as a freshman in engineering school, I realize my problem-solving skills were just the worst. Engineering school, and more so, work experience, taught me how to problem solve effectively.
Planning and vision work their way to the top for skills that a good programmer has. If you can plan out your tasks and provide a clear vision as to what needs to be accomplished, then you'll be more adept at coding.
These skills all make better programmers, but here's the thing. Learning how to code refines these skills – better still, all of these skills can be developed and refined in yourself. So, you can learn to code just to refine these skills for other areas in your life, or you can learn to code and refine these skills to be a better programmer. Whatever the motivation, learning to code professionally develops us.
Top Languages to Learn
If you want to get started in coding, one of the most daunting tasks can be choosing where to start. Let me break down the top languages of 2017 and give you an idea of where they are used.
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Python is a good language to start learning with. The language naturally lays out a framework for the job. It has a simple syntax, one of the key reasons learning it first is less daunting to a newbie. On top of being easier to learn, it is also a very popular language in the industry.
Ruby is an object-oriented language that supports many programming paradigms mainly for use in web apps. It's easy to use but also incredibly powerful. Knowing Ruby is a high-demand skill right now.
PHP is oriented more on the server-side of languages that focuses on web development. It is the base language of WordPress and Facebook. If you have any hopes of working in web development, PHP is also a necessity.
These are many of the top programming languages, but there are also many others. If you are just beginning, starting with one of these languages would probably be best. If none of these sound right to you, look into industries you'd be interested in joining and find out what they use.
My biggest hurdle in learning how to code was always where to learn. For the beginner nowadays, there are tens to hundreds of answers to this question. Here are some of the best websites and programs that will teach you how to code.
If you haven't considered coding as a career path and you are wanting to try something new, don't be scared. There are plenty of resources to learn how to code and the industry has a fairly low barrier to entry. Get out there and start learning a new language.