What Is Coding? 5 Key Advantages of Learning How to Code

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, famously said that everyone should learn a computer language because “it teaches you how to think.” Jobs went further, saying that he views computer science as a “liberal art;” one that should be part of every education. 

While some may argue with this sentiment, one thing is clear: Coding has grown to impact a wide variety of industries and has quickly become one of the modern employee’s most crucial skills. 

Whether it’s used to count monthly car sales or extract photos from a telescope in space, coding forms the foundation of our expanding digital lives. It gives us the power to harness computers to build, shape, and improve countless industries. However, even as more professionals learn to code, many others find themselves unsure where to start. 

Below, we will answer these questions and more, walking you through how coding can advance your career as well.

What is Coding?

Coding is the process of translating instructions from our language to the computer’s language. Specifically, machine language is written in binary terms (0s and 1s), so coders write their word-based instructions into an applicable format that the computer understands.

Why Learn to Code?

Learning to code is no longer a “speciality” skill. Rather, it has become a mainstream, core discipline utilized in nearly every industry; requiring more and more skilled workers every year.

Coding tests a variety of abilities. It hones problem-solving and analysis skills, such as finding errors and thinking logically. Further, coding often helps people develop teamwork and interpersonal skills since software and application projects are often cross-disciplinary and collaborative.

Perhaps coding’s biggest attraction is that almost anyone can learn it. Aspiring coders don’t necessarily need to be experts in math or have vast prior experience. To get started, they simply need to be inquisitive, committed to learning, and willing to practice their coding skills regularly while learning from their mistakes. This accessibility makes coding a potential path for career switchers and brand-new professionals alike. 

Interested in learning how to code? Berkeley Coding Boot Camp can teach you the skills you need in 12 or 24 weeks.

5 Advantages of Learning to Code

Coding is a skill that translates into many career paths and enhances many others; making professionals more versatile and valuable to employers.

1. Various Career Opportunities

Job prospects for coders extend far beyond technology companies. While cybersecurity and financial technology are growing fields, employees with strong coding skills are needed in healthcare, education, and the public sector (government and social services) as well. Furthermore, all types of non-profit organizations need coders to help them accomplish their goals across a variety of social concerns.

Coders with industry-specific knowledge (e.g., energy, agriculture, telecommunications) are in high demand. And, for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, working freelance on a variety of projects for multiple clients can be both profitable and rewarding.

2. Projections for Coding Careers Remain Strong

Many coding roles continue to grow in the labor market — especially for those with specialized skills.

A chart depicting the projected job growth of coding careers by 2029.

  • Web developer: As e-commerce expands, more web developers and digital designers will be needed to build and operate sites. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects eight percent job growth in computer coding through 2029.
  • Computer systems analyst: The BLS projects seven percent job growth for systems analysts across a variety of different sectors. The healthcare market, for instance, has become more reliant on systemic analysis as providers digitize more medical records and implement more virtual care.
  • Database administrator: The amount of data businesses create, store, and analyze grows at a substantial rate. As a result, more skilled employees (four percent more by 2029, according to the BLS) are needed to administer this data.
  • Network architect: Network architects design, maintain, and upgrade computer networks — expertise that is needed in almost every industry. The BLS projects five percent job growth in this field.
  • Computer research scientist: The BLS suggests a fertile market for research scientists, with 15 percent job growth anticipated. Data production and security needs will fuel this growth.

A bootcamp is an excellent place to pursue a future in coding, either as a career change or to sharpen skills in a current role. Hiring managers notice bootcamp graduates: According to a 2020 HackerRank Developer Survey, 32 percent of hiring managers said they have hired bootcamp graduates. In addition, more than 70 percent said they thought bootcamp graduates were at least as equipped for their jobs as other hires.

3. Numerous Programming Languages to Choose

Hundreds of computer programming languages exist, accomplishing a wide variety of tasks. Different languages are used to produce operating systems, software programs, games, websites, mobile applications and more. 

Choosing which language to learn first depends both on experience and project requirements. For those working on websites, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are the primary starting points. Those dealing with databases and data analysis may focus first on SQL. All-purpose languages such as Python and C are considered easier to learn for beginners and are used widely in a variety of applications.

Here’s a look at five widely used languages to get started.

  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language is a primary tool used to manipulate text and images on websites. It’s a great starting point for coders because of its simple structure, readable tags and the relative ease in debugging it.
  • JavaScript: After learning HTML, developers often move on to JavaScript as these two languages are often considered mandatory in website management. In fact, according to a Stack Overflow survey, JavaScript and HTML rank first and second as the most-used languages among developers. JavaScript’s terminology makes it beginner-friendly, and its wide usage has spawned a large coding community that builds relationships and is a forum for coder questions.
  • Python: Python is among the most-used and most-loved programming languages, according to Stack Overflow. It’s also the language that most developers want to learn due to its versatility and ease of use since its syntax uses some English words.
  • Java: An important language for software development, Java is noted for its “write once, run anywhere” platform. This means software written in Java can run on virtually any computer’s operating system. Java also has a comparatively easy-to-learn syntax, making it friendly for beginners.
  • SQL: SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is used to retrieve information from databases. SQL has risen to the third most popular language among developers, according to Stack Overflow. Like Java, it sports an accessible, yet intuitive syntax and is used everywhere databases are administered. 

For more coding resources, check out this beginner’s guide to coding and this introduction to coding resources.

4. Improves Your Critical Thinking and Creativity Skills

As noted by Steve Jobs, coding teaches the mind to view problems from multiple perspectives and think creatively about solving them. Coding also encompasses much more than math; it requires an ability to create and troubleshoot projects and a knack for reasoning through the development process. These skills might be considered “soft” alongside the technical requirements of coding, but they are highly valued among employers. 

Further, coding doesn’t have to apply solely to a person’s professional life. Those with such skills are also able to build websites, develop games, or build mobile apps in their free time. 

5. Enables You to Find a More Fulfilling Career

Coding offers a career path for professionals already in the workforce as well as for those new to the job market. Versatile workers are often held in high regard, and learning a programming language can make an employee more valuable and lead to more job opportunities. Meanwhile, learning some simple coding techniques can help employees automate elements of their job, potentially making them more productive.

Coding FAQs

What’s the difference between coding and programming?

What is coding? In short, it’s the act of translating instructions for a computer to perform into the language that the computer understands. Programming, on the other hand, is the act of producing a complete piece of software that the computer can execute. Coding is a component of the programming process.

Is coding hard to learn?

Not necessarily — particularly for those with the discipline to stick with the learning process. Coding requires some math and technical knowledge but doesn’t always demand expert-level skills. Determination and attention to detail are just as important in learning to code.

What is an example of coding? 

Here’s an example of HTML in use:

This short set of instructions starts an HTML document with a headline and first paragraph.

How do I start coding?

Coding bootcamps usually run in a 12- or 24-week schedule. Many are flexible for full- and part-time students and conclude with a certification that can improve resumes and lead to a new or upgraded career. The Berkeley Coding Boot Camp, for instance, offers a concentrated curriculum that covers multiple programming languages, instructor-led classes, and real-world projects. 

What is the difference between coding, web development and programming

People often use coding, web development, and programming interchangeably even though they are different. Here’s how to parse their meanings:

  • Coding: The process of translating instructions from our language to the computer’s language. Machine language is written in binary terms (0s and 1s), so coders write their instructions in an applicable format  to be properly interpreted by the computer.
  • Programming: While coders translate human instructions into language a computer understands, computer programmers are focused on a broader goal — developing a complete, functional piece of software. They use aspects of coding in planning, designing, testing, deploying and maintaining the software. 
  • Web Development: Web developers work on websites, writing code in specific languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript to make them function properly. Developers and programmers usually work with different languages, though some crossover exists in creating sites and applications.

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