Why Learn Coding for Better Job Prospects.

hot coffee cup with wordings 'TALK CODE TO ME'
|Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay|
Learning coding is basically learning the computer languages that enable the computers to communicate with other machines over the Internet. Since billions of us humans communicate over the Internet every day, is not learning computer languages in some sense then an important skill to learn? Here are some reasons and possible future scenarios why non-tech workers should consider picking up some elementary web coding.

Having more knowledge of web development may give you a boost in your non-tech job but probably not for long.

Have you began to notice yet how the traditional newspapers are becoming smaller and lighter? Are some of the local newspapers in your country struggling to stay afloat in business or even ceasing operations? Are you also receiving much less paper mail?

This is because much of the world’s media and all forms of documents are moving towards the World Wide Web and it is predicted that there will be more mobile electronic devices around the world than people in less than a decade. Therefore, it may not be long before human resource recruiters start expecting job candidates to possess some basic skills in web development just to get a typical office job that requires utilising the World Wide Web. Before that truly happens, why not start learning some coding today and be ready for the future?

Please do not assume that it is just the youngsters that should take note of this movement towards digitization because various types of digital technologies are RAPIDLY being integrated into all aspects of our lives and as all computer sytems need maintenance and troubleshooting, anyone who possesses even a superficial knowledge of computer systems will be a helpful team or family member indeed. If you have been in the workforce in the last ten years, you would have surely noticed how many businesses, big and small are in the process of ‘digitizing their operations’, so just imagine where we will be within the next ten years.

If you are old enough, remember those days when executing some advanced features in Microsoft Excel and Access “look” like programming? Well, it is common place now to see office workers who have never study any computing before using these software like pros. This may happen too with elementary web coding because once you start to learn it, you will come to realise that it is not really a highly technical task that requires serious computing studies. So, as the ability to code becomes more of a norm among office workers, it will no longer be regarded as a skill that will give workers an edge but will in fact be a required skill. By the way, how long do you think it will take before coding will no longer be regarded as a real technical IT skill when the coding bootcamps are churning out vast number of coders in a matter of months?

Here’s a tip then for non-tech workers to gain some leverage at work: Let’s say you are now working in a typical non-technical office administration job at a small or medium sized company but YOU KNOW SOME CODING that you self-learnt online after working hours. If your company is just running a rather basic static business website, isn’t it possible that you can just take over the job of doing simple maintenance and updating of the company’s website, a job that might currently be managed by an external vendor that is only called in every now and then? If you can take over their job as an in-house employee, you will help your company to save money and also protect the integrity of the company data as control over the data need not then be passed over to an outsider. This would then open an excellent opportunity for you to negotiate a raise for your wages or even a promotion!

Here’s another reason why non-tech workers should pick up some Web coding: Anyone who is training for work-ready coding would almost certainly pick up some knowledge about computer networking too because it is such an integral part of website development. Even the very small companies these days have a few computers in the office that are connected through a private network, so a multi-skilled employee who is able to do regular duties as well as look after the computers every now and then will save the company of having to outsource simple IT jobs. This scenario could even be more prevalent in the near future as computer networking technologies become more layman user-friendly as well as more efficient when more software automation take place. Therefore, a typical small or medium sized company will probably not require a highly educated IT professional sitting full-time in the office, so any other employee who can do the job of looking after a few computers every now and then will be regarded as an ‘Asset’ indeed to the company.

Usage of computers and the World Wide Web have increased tremendously in many countries.

Seeing that mobile devices will only grow in numbers, is not learning how to communicate better with computers a worthwhile skill then? After all, you can find computer machines all over the world in pretty much any modern businesses and many of the machines use the same operating systems and software even though the physical appearance of the machines might look different.

If you are aiming for an overseas job, knowing how to code can also help you reach your goals because coding is an IT skill that is transferrable across international borders and across industries. As long as a company is utilising the World Wide Web in their operations, be it just a business website or a large scaled web app relied on by their in-house and offshore employees, they are going to need people who can code and solve their IT problems. Pretty much any contents published on the World Wide Web are created with these three base computer languages: HTML, CSS and JavaScript, so if you can code for the Web while sitting at your own computer, you can certainly also go to another computer located in another part of the world and do the same thing. Of course, knowing how to code in HTML, CSS and JavaScript only is not likely going to get you a lucrative job overseas but that’s where all website developers start.

Are you beginning to worry about job prospects because you are hearing about retrenchments, cost cutting or workers being “forced” to go into early retirement? Well, you can be assured that computers will not just disappear rendering all computer languages obsolete. As all computer systems require troubleshooting and maintenance, surely learning computer languages will not end up being a useless skill in life even though technology will of course change.

Adapting to technological changes is only truly difficult if you do not possess any tech background at all. It is a bit like once you have learnt how to drive a car, adapting to driving other types of cars and even a SUV or a small van will not be difficult as long as you take it easy while you are still in the transition. On the other hand, asking someone who has never driven any vehicle before to suddenly take the wheel will of course be very demanding and strenous for that person.

Even if you have been deemed “too old” to be employed by companies, whatever coding or other IT skills you learn from now on will serve you for life because as long as the World Wide Web is FILLED with billions of people, commercial trading of all kinds will never cease! The World Wide Web will keep on evolving and new market trends will replace old ones and it is usually the pioneers of new trends who will reap the most rewards, while those who are unwiling to adapt to the digitized world will only manage to pick up the bits and pieces of what’s left over or merely hear about it but gained nothing out of it. As coding and other computing skills can even be learnt online for free, why not try a couple of online courses?

You do not need to know much mathematics to learn how to code for the Web in this modern age.

About ten to fifteen years ago, even the low ranking colleges will still require students to be fairly good in Mathematics before they enrol in a computing course but since then, many digital technologies have evolved into inventions that are now much more accessible to the common layman and Web coding is one of those technologies. Let me prove this to you by referring to some popular digital technologies that we use everyday…

Although it is a fact that computers only understand numbers, what we call the binary number system but over the decades, intelligent engineers have greatly transformed the mathematically complex processes into layman user-friendly software systems that masses of people are able to utilise for their own benefits without needing to possess much knowledge of sciences or mathematics.

For example, you certainly do not need to understand how the WordPress web software is able to display alphabets, images and animations on screen when the computer is only suppose to understand numbers. You can publish a live blog without needing any deep technical knowledge, though some coding skills will definitely help you build a more functional and beautiful blog. If you have really good content to publish on the Web, you can certainly start making money out of blogging without needing to understand the technicalities of the WordPress software.

Likewise in coding at the beginners or intermediate levels, you also do not need to fully understand how the computer codes that we typed in English words are somehow able to output colourful images, create moving animations, play a video, etc…and this advancement in technology has opened up many avenues for website developers and programmers to earn a decent income providing all kinds of IT services, be it as a part-timer, freelancer or a full-time professional.

When you begin to learn how to code for the Web, you are merely coding at the ‘high level’ and in the context of computer programming, high level DOES NOT MEAN you need a high level of knowledge or skills but is in fact the total opposite. You see, programming at the high level means you do not need to understand how your computer codes are translated into binary numbers which are understood by the computer programs sitting at the lower level sytems (i.e. all the underlying inner computer systems that cannot be seen with the naked eye, which most of us need not be concerned about). You can picture this in your mind by imagining yourself as a software user – as just a user, you are sitting at a level that is even higher than the software developers who built that software and you do not need to understand the inner workings of the software or access the software’s codes in order to use the software to accomplish your tasks.

With this picture in mind, the ‘lower level computer languages’ are thus what the experts and machines understand and the majority of website developers and software developers out there only code at the high level with varying expertise. By now you should be able to see that you DO NOT need to understand very complex web coding in order to be able to create even fairly interactive websites and web apps. Therefore, anyone who is just starting out to code HTML, CSS and JavaScript certainly does not need to know any advanced mathematics until they take on more complex projects.

Web computer languages is also easier to learn than a foreign human language.

All computer languages are invented by intelligent software engineers and there is nothing alien about it, so you would certainly find some English words in the syntax of all the main computer languages used on the World Wide Web. Therefore, if you can read and write English and you are now sitting at a computer with a keyboard and mouse, then you already likely fulfilled all the requirements needed to start some very basic Web coding.

When we code for the Web, we are actually commanding (i.e. programming) the web browsers to do our bidding and since most people around the world only use popular web browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox, therefore whatever we command these web browsers to execute can be viewed by other people living in any part of the world as long as they are connected to the Internet.

Coding for the Web is like writing short forms of English words, a bit like writing a SMS text but only much shorter as web browsers in essence are just software housed in computers and we do not need to write in sentences or even full words to get software to understand what we are commanding it to do. As long as you code your commands according to a set of rules that are already programmed into the Web computer languages, most of the time web browsers installed on computers all over the world will just execute our commands without problems.

On the other hand, let’s say you are thinking about learning a foreign language for better job prospects. For the average person, learning a completely different foreign language will definitely take much more time and effort to learn and master as there is really no absolute set system on how to converse in that language, simply because humans are NOT programmed software! We need not strictly follow a set of rules in our communications and there is no one fixed way on how we should communicate with other people. Don’t forget about the differences in cultures too, as even if an individual is able to converse well in the native language of a foreigner, but to really build rapport and trust with the other party, there are cultural barriers and other hurdles that need to be overcome and that could take years to achieve! You can be your own judge then in determining whether it is easier to learn how to deal with software and computers OR with people…

If you are a native English speaker who had ever tried to learn a completely different foreign language before, you would surely still remember how that experience had caused you much mental stress in trying to understand the syntax, grammar and logic of that language. This is however not the case for many popular computer languages as once you begin to understand the fundamentals of coding for the Web, it lays the foundation for you to pick up coding in other similar computer languages too that also power the Web, mobile apps, computer servers, etc. Generally speaking, the more computer languages you know, the more job prospects that will be open to you.

I hope this brief article has opened your eyes to consider some opportunities that you may take advantage of by learning computer languages, even if you are not working in the IT sector. If you are ready to be more digital savvy to advance your job prospects or realise other aspirations, please read on…

Good news! Learning coding is free.

If you have not tried yet, please visit my ‘Quick Start to Coding for the Non-Techy’ and try some very basic coding yourself.

The list of educational websites below also offer a variety of free computing education as of early 2019 and I hope most of them are still at this free status when you are reading this. I do not have any affliations with any of the websites but I did try some courses myself and there are some good teachings in there that will get you up to speed with web coding and other forms of computer programming. Before you visit these websites, please feel free to read my reviews on these few computing education providers to help you shortlist your choices.

Evan Multimedia-Programmer

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