5 Reasons You Need to Learn to Program
Most people don’t realize just how important programming is.
Just about every aspect of our modern lives is influenced directly by code. Today almost every medium-to-large sized company either has a team of developers or has to hire developers to do jobs for them. From web applications to mobile applications, to DVRs and more, our lives run on code.
There are many reasons why you should learn to program; here are some of the most important ones.
1. Programming is automation
At the heart of programming and writing code is one central idea: automation. When someone writes a software program, what they are really doing is taking some manual process and making it automatic.
Perhaps you agree, but you are wondering what this has to do with you? Well, consider how much of your life could be automated. How much of your current job could you automate if only you knew how?
Learning to program doesn’t mean you have to become a programmer for a living, just like learning photography doesn’t mean you have to be a professional photographer.
The real benefit to learning how to program is being able to automate simple tasks and find new ways of solving problems. Just a little bit of programming knowledge can give you these abilities.
2. Programming teaches you to break problems down
Want to be better at solving problems?
Sure, who wouldn’t?
Great, then you should learn to program, because learning to program is all about learning how to take complex problems and break them down into smaller parts.
Most of the work of programming is taking some set of steps, also known as an algorithm, and translating that set of steps into smaller and smaller steps until you get to a single line of code.
Learning to program is all about learning how to take a large and complicated problem and decompose it into simple steps that can easily be accomplished.
This set of problem solving skills translates beyond the realm of code and computer and permeates every aspect of our lives. Learning to program trains your mind to think about problems in a different way, which can help you to be more successful in many areas of life.
3. Programming jobs are becoming more and more abundant
Perhaps the most obvious reason to learn to program is to become a professional programmer.
Sure, it is nice to be able to automate simple tasks and learn how to break problems down, but it is also nice to get a big paycheck.
Today, more than ever, the number of development jobs is increasing to a point where it is impossible to fill the demand. I regularly see large companies asking for more H-1B visas to be approved so they can hire developers from countries outside of the US, because they can’t find enough qualified candidates in the US.
Even while the United States was going through a severe economic downturn, developer jobs were sitting unfilled. Many people in the country could not find any work and unemployment rates were soaring, but the developer community seemed to be unaffected.
It is pretty reasonable to expect that as more and more of our world runs on computers and more and more computing devices are created and used, we’ll need more and more developers to write software for those computers and devices.
It’s pretty unlikely that demand for programmers will ever decrease and it is very likely that it will only increase over the coming years. So, if you are looking for a great career field, with a high earning potential and great future prospects, you might strongly want to consider learning to code.
4. You will either be ahead or behind
It is inevitable that at some point programming will be as ubiquitous as basic literacy. I believe many of us will live to see a day when a basic part of education is learning how to program. I can’t predict when that day will come, but there is one thing I am certain about – when that day comes, you’ll either be ahead of the curve or behind the curve depending on whether you know the basics of programming.
I remember when software spreadsheet programs like Excel first started to really become popular and take over the work place. There were those workers who never had invested the time to learn about computers and how to use them, and those workers ended up being behind the younger generation of the workforce that had grown up learning to use PCs and software programs like Excel.
The revolution came about pretty quickly. It is pretty hard to imagine a typical office worker today that doesn’t have at least a basic knowledge of computers and how to use computer software. But, I can guarantee you that many people got left behind by this movement and found themselves facing the difficult problem of playing catch up or retiring early.
I’d consider it pretty wise and prudent to make an investment in learning to code early, rather than trying to catch up later. Much better to be ahead than behind.
5. Programming is fun
I saved the best for last. It is the reason why I learned to program and it is the reason why I continue to program today.
Programming is fun!
It may seem hard to believe that sitting in front of a computer and typing a strange set of characters into an editor is fun, but there is something exciting and magical about the process of building something new or solving a problem.
Programming is a unique kind of experience that is a bit hard to describe. It has some logical aspects to it, like solving problems, but it’s also an immensely creative activity.
There is a certain thrill and feeling of satisfaction that I have felt no other place than when I have written some code to do some complex task and I finally see it work.
Programming beckons me back to my childhood days of playing with Legos and Tinkertoys.
Programming isn’t always easy and it can be a real headache sometimes, but I can’t really think of a more rewarding job.