The Cheat Code to Life: Why You Should Learn How to Code

Richard Zhuang

Imagine a movie with the following situation: a bomb is about to go off. But don’t worry: the hacker will defuse it! The hacker whips out a computer and starts typing at 300 words per minute, creating multi-colored lines of symbols and numbers and shouting some technical jargon, excitedly exclaiming “I’m in” after a mere 8 seconds of efficient keyboard mashing. We’ve most likely witnessed this “coding” at some point in our lives, probably on television or on other forms of media. Unfortunately, this movie magic isn’t accurate (and maybe a little overdramatic), and it might portray coding as daunting to learn with only niche uses in technology. However, coding has many benefits and practical applications, and it is not as hard to learn as many might think.

What is coding anyway? In simple terms, coding is essentially creating a list of instructions for a computer to carry out. With coding, we can create games, websites, and software: virtually all technology relies on some sort of programming. Coders can use different languages to communicate with the computer: some common ones include Java, Python, and C++. Each coding language has a different purpose, functionality, and ease of use, and coders select different ones based on the task they are performing. 

Beyond its widespread applications and uses in technology, coding has numerous benefits beyond the computer. Learning how to code will significantly boost problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and creativity. Adrian Degus, CEO of Nuvro, a project management company, says that “learning to code has the inadvertent effect of teaching you how to think. Understanding logic, at a deep level, has improved my problem-solving proficiency tenfold.” This problem-solving ability doesn’t just apply to programming: it is applicable to real-life situations. According to Rasmussen University, Hilary Bird, a senior developer at CenturyLink, a telecommunications company, found that “learning to code has benefited her personal and professional life by encouraging her to take a step back and approach situations from a new perspective.”  

Coding can also prepare you for many different future careers, even if they are not directly related to technology or software development. With the rapidly increasing globalization and development of technology, coding is becoming an increasingly important skill in a variety of professions. For example, scientists that conduct environmental or medical research also need coding skills for efficient data analysis and computer modeling. Business and market analysts frequently use programming to analyze profitability of their companies, and graphic artists need web development skills to improve their art. According to Rasmussen University, Daniel Davidson, CEO of Dan Design Company, worked in print design, but realized he was “consistently missing out on opportunities due to a lack of coding knowledge.” 

So, how can one start learning how to code? The obvious answer is to take a programming course at our school, such as Introduction to Programming and Java. If you want to just study on your own, however, there are plenty of free online resources like CodeAcademy and Coursera. Simply sign up for these resources, and you can choose which courses you want to take to begin learning. Coding is becoming an increasingly important aspect of our lives and offers many benefits and opportunities; thus, it is worthwhile to learn it.