Language of the Future: Learn Computer Coding
Learning a new language takes practice and patience. As globalization continues to become more common across businesses, there are numerous benefits to being fluent in multiple languages.
Many experts agree that beyond English, French and Spanish - some of the most common languages spoken throughout the world - students today should be schooled in the language of computers: code.
“As powerful as computers are today, they only do exactly what they are told to do,” says Dr. Francis R. Cirillo, Associate Dean at DeVry University. “Software developers write the code that tells these computers what they need to do. Large corporations, small companies, the military, space program, game developers, website developers, and simulation companies all need qualified software developers.”
According to The New York Times op-ed article, “Want to prepare kids for the future? Teach them to code,” understanding the language of computers is a skill that will become more important as computers continue to play a larger role in our everyday lives. Blogger Guy Hadas writes, “According to Code.org, by the year 2020 there are expected to be 1 million more computing jobs than students, which could leave an untapped market of $500 billion.”
Benefits of Learning to Code
Of course, not every job revolves around computers, but the value in learning basic coding principles is present, no matter your profession. Small business owners, for example, may work with a programmer to develop their website, but what if they need to update information on their contact page? Knowing simple coding skills can help.
“Many different occupations today require some type of computer skill interaction from software development to basic knowledge of functions and capabilities. Professionals from all walks of life, from doctors and lawyers to engineers and law enforcement, small business owners and teachers, use computers and various programs to perform their daily job functions,” says Dr. Cirillo.
If you are interested in learning the language of code, the career opportunities are immense. Software developers, ranked the no. 1 job in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report, are growing in demand at a rate much faster than average with an estimated 1,018,000 jobs expected by 2022. Computer programmers, web developers, network designers, administrators and data analyzers are just some of the experts who regularly tap into coding principles as part of their jobs.
Coding Tips to Remember from Dr. Cirillo:
1. Remember a software language like C++ or Java is a language like English, French and Spanish. All languages have a syntax to follow and a set of rules that govern their use.
2. Start with the basics like a simple “Hello World!” program, and work your way up from there.
3. Learn the concept first, syntax second. Almost all languages have some form of an “If - Then” statement. You first need to understand what this statement is and how to use it. Then, you will learn the subtle differences between how C++ and Java implement this statement.
4. Use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Many IDEs are free and designed for specific languages. IDEs are extremely valuable for both novice and experienced programmers.
5. Just because your program compiles, does not mean it is correct. Check your logic and thoroughly test your program before you submit.
6. Beware of infinite loops and divide by zero errors. These are the two most common errors in software development at some point in your career you will encounter both of them.
7. Learn by doing. The best way to learn is to sit down at a computer and write code.
Resources and Tools
Different types of programming languages depend on the program, platform and intended end use.
“The programming language and the hardware platform are important. Code languages were built for specific applications. Today, high speed computers are needed for complex mathematical calculations for scientists and engineers, graphic renderings for gamers and military applications,” noted Dr. Cirollo. “Common applications, such as word processing, presentations and spreadsheets, do not require high-performance hardware or software. Most modern computer languages, such as C++, Java and MATLAB, are object oriented (OO) and are routinely taught in many programming classes.”
Countless resources can help navigate the process of learning code, whether your interest lies in HTML or Java Script. While free online sites like codecademy or Bloc (Ruby) walk users through different codes and programs, for many, the best way to learn code is through personal interaction and traditional education. Online and in-person meet-ups or “hackathons” allow you to learn from others. You can enroll at your local college to learn coding basics or earn a degree centered on the language of the future.
“The best way to learn how to code is to write it, and the best way to write code is to do so with an experienced faculty member, who can assist you every step of the way,” says Dr. Cirillo.
Contact us to learn more about careers rooted in coding or to enroll in a programming course at DeVry University.