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What Is Coding and why Is It So Important?

National Coding Week Web

What Is Coding? Why Is It So Important?

This week is National Coding Week. NCW is an annual event that aims to help adults and children learn digital skills, and in 2021 will be happening from the 13th-19th of September.

Some people may not know what we mean when we say coding, so we have put together an article going through the what, whys and hows of coding.

What is coding?

In simplest terms, coding is telling a computer what you want it to do by typing out step-by-step commands for it to follow.

Computers are not that clever; they are, however, extremely obedient. As long as you give them the correct instructions, they will do exactly what you want them to do.

There are several different coding languages, with each one serving its own purpose. For example, C is a fast, low-level programming language usually used for graphics-heavy games: Javascript that handles web content; and Perl, which is often known as the swiss army knife of programming due to its multi-application use.

Why is coding so important?

The world is becoming a more digital place by the hour, and computers are popping up in more and more places. Manufacturing machinery, building management systems, hoovers, doorbells, washing machines, and even some cars rely on code to be able to operate. You could say that coders are the designers and builders of the digital age.

Over the next decade, it's estimated that there will be almost 1.5 million jobs in computer science and only around 400,000 new graduates to fill them.

Other professions not directly linked to computer science, such as banking, medicine and journalism, will also be affected by the need to understand programming and coding.

Some experts liken coding to the "literacy of the 21st century." stating that the point in time for people to be able to speak the ABC of coding is almost upon us.

For the next generation, being literate in code could become as essential as maths and English in the future.

How to learn to code.

All that you need to start coding is a computer and some coding software, which you can get for free. Once you have these, you can start exploring right away. 

Coding is definitely something you can teach yourself, and there are lots of free resources out there if you don't want to go on a course or join a group. However, coding can be intimidating and having a supportive community around you will make it a lot easier.

Many courses online, both free and paid, can help you learn the basic skills required to start your coding journey, but it will take time and practice.

Where can coding take you?

Knowing how to code is essential if you want to go into an industry such as software development, but having coding skills will also open doors in other fields like marketing and content creation.

There are also paths in the engineering and technology spaces that can be opened up with knowledge of how to code, such as Software Engineers, Product Designers and Project Engineers. Although these jobs may not require day to day coding and understanding can definitely help.

You can learn more about National Coding Week here