Learning throughout one’s lifetime: from ABCs Reading to C++ Coding
The inescapable fact of the 21st century is that programming skills are becoming ever more important, quickly turning into the core competency for a vast majority of workers. It has become obvious that even if you have a non-technical job, computer skills are essential because, after all, they heavily influence the way you interact with computers.
From scratch to C++
In the past twenty years, we have witnessed computers the size of a room shrink down to fit in everyone’s pocket and work a hundred times faster. This makes it exponentially harder to predict how the future will look like when technological advancements are developing at a much faster pace than we can keep up with, thus making coding languages a gateway towards obtaining a better understanding of what’s going on “behind the curtains”.
So does that mean that everybody in the world should start learning to code and struggle with programming? Actually no. The most important thing that we need to understand is that just learning the code is not enough, but rather increases the number of people that understand what code can actually do.
Roughly said, it is not about what you know by heart, it’s about the way you think. This is a principle called “computational thinking” – a way to devise a step-by-step process, in order to achieve the desired outcome, just like cooking a meal or building a house.
Far from the concept of “coding is only for mathematical geniuses”, computational thinking actually starts with a feat of pure imagination and with the ability to visualize how digitized information can be combined and changed into something with new applications.
Fifty Shades of Coding
Now, coding isn’t as bland as simply knowing how to do it and getting paid for it. Learning how to code has many underlying benefits and has been proven to improve certain abilities, such as problem-solving, overcoming challenges, and attaining better focus levels, which goes to show that if you wish to improve one aspect of your life by acquiring new knowledge, you can end up improving many more.
Moreover, coding becomes especially relevant if we ponder the fact that most of the decisions we make depend upon logic; the most obvious example here is regarding decision-making being if/else and the thing we execute.
In the Lost Interview with Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder stated that
“everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think”,
emphasizing the fact that in his vision of the future, coding will become a fundamental digital literacy.
A common assumption is that nowadays, everyone should have coding skills in order to get a better job, however, seeking employment based on a singular skill is an outdated way of thinking. It is true that with the rapid advancement of technology, we should constantly reconsider which hard skills are in demand, but this is a short term strategy.
Coding is not the cure-all solution, but integrating technical skills with knowledge is what matters the most and being able to leverage technology to your advantage, towards strategic implementation, will be a constant demand for the workforce of the future.
There are a lot of resources that can kick start learning code in an easy and timely manner, however mastery of any programming language or generally speaking, any new skill, requires a bit more time than just a few months. Nonetheless, it is enough to make people start thinking like programmers, and understand that a big part of coding literacy is the problem-solving mentality it induces.
The ability to understand and build systems that not only improve work but automate it can prove crucial in today’s business environment, where time is of the essence.
Furthermore, more and more people are starting to realize that code training does not only provide societies with the next generation of developers but also develops better managers, who understand what can be done with code and are aware of the risks and rewards that come with using it in an effective manner.