To learn or not to learn code. It’s been the topic of debate around the web for some time. From general discussions between the development and design team at a startup, to the foundation of companies like Treehouse, Codecademy, Code School, and The Starter League. Even the catalyst that skyrocketed many articles to the frontpage of Hacker News (many sparked by NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s support of Codecademy’s Code Year and vow to learn code in 2012).
Regardless of where you last heard a bit of the discussion, it’s an ongoing one. However, I believe the debate would abate if we saw coding for what it really is.
And what’s the benefit of learning a language? Or at least having some understanding of one? Breaking down barriers of communication and understanding. Whether they be physical or mental.
I’m sure 95% of you who are reading this know what “hola” or “adios” means, right? It’s Spanish for hello and goodbye, respectively. Now although you may have these two words down packed in your international vocab, I’m sure most of you aren’t fluent in the latin tongue. But for those of you who are bilingual or are fluent in more than two languages, can’t you testify that having some understanding of another language is a good thing?
I think that’s the same approach we need to use when it comes to code. Everyone should have a basic understanding of what it is, what it entails, and what it can do (a lot). After all, it’s behind most of the things we interact with on a daily basis. And having this basic knowledge will help many understand what’s possible for our ever innovating world. That’s not to say, however, that everyone needs to be ‘fluent,’ code for a living, or even build and ship something. Just know what PHP stands for. That’s all. We fear what we don’t know. ‘Geeks’ and ‘nerds’ as we’re called, are crutch words for those who don’t know.
But if they knew…
But learning helps.
Earlier this week, I received an email about an infographic that was recently published on Online College. The person who contacted me helped in creating the informative piece “which takes an in-depth look at the importance of learning how to code and its increasing popularity among young adults today.”
And there were a some words attached to the picture. These few sentences were my favorite.
“You don’t need to know how to reprogram your computer to operate it, but understanding how it works will help you imagine how programs can change to better serve your industry. So, if you’re among those of us who’ve always thought programming was impossibly hard or reserved for the tech-minded, consider learning a little code. There’s never been a better (or more supportive) time to get ahead of the curve.”