Should I Learn To Code?

"Should I learn to code?"


I don't always say Yes to "should I learn" questions. I'm pro-learning in general, but there are times when, because we're talking about your career plans, you should focus your learning efforts on one thing over another. In the case of computer science, and programming/coding in particular, I can safely and assuredly say that this is a skill you should learn. 

But I don't really think I'm going to like it...

How do you know? We are often afraid to try because (a). we think we might be bad at it, and failure is not something we enjoy or are used to, or (b). it might be hard, and we prefer things to be easy.

Regarding (a): Challenging yourself to do something, and taking the risk to be bad at it, is a critical life skill. The only way we learn anything at all in life is to do things that are hard. Because if we only do things that are relatively easy and have limited risk, we don't get to advance in any appreciable way. If you only took the easy option, you would still be crawling instead of walking (or running), you wouldn't know how to ride a bike, and you probably wouldn't have passed third grade. Thank goodness you skinned your knees and got back up, and you barely passed those quizzes and kept going to school anyway. Look where you are now as a result! 

Regarding (b): I can tell you, as someone who has done a lot of hard things in the last couple of years, hard is HARD, it can be exhausting, and easy sure is nice when you can get it. But, easy doesn't often produce great results in life. Doing only things thatare easy produces no learning, and no growth. 

But I don't really want to be a programmer...

Just because you know how to code doesn't mean you have to be a programmer. And you'd be surprised by how valuable these skills are, and how many doors they might open. Check out these fascinating careers that use computer science to make a difference in the world. 

And how do you know if you don't want to be a programmer, until you try programming? Set aside your stereotypes of what you think programming is, because you might be surprised. 

No really Janet, I just want to help people/save animals/research coral/build bridges. 

Coding is a skill that will do many things for you, and will undoubtedly broaden your career options no matter what you are interested in. That's because learning code teaches you to think in different languages (and thus expands your mind), and teaches you about how computer systems are fundamentally structured. This means you'll have a better understanding of how to make your work more efficient, and how to talk to others who have the power to help you with technical issues. Learning even a basic level of programming skill and knowledge will help you function in the technical environment that is now part of every work place. 

So now that you want to learn to code a little bit more than you did before, check out these amazing, easy, fun, and almost all free resources to get you started: 


Khan Academy

Code Academy


Code Avengers