Coding is a great way to challenge your brain, keep up with the changing world, solve problems, and make cool stuff. Everyone should learn some coding.
Coding is writing in languages that computers can understand so they can execute commands and instructions. Coding is a core skill in programming or software development, which is the process of creating computer programs and applications.
Software programs, mobile apps, and websites are all developed using coding. It is an increasingly high-demand skill to have in this world of technological advancement.
College students can benefit from learning to code even if it is not part of their college degree.
We live in a highly digital world where new technological advancements emerge regularly. Thus, many experts argue that computer literacy should have the same treatment as other foundational skills like reading, writing, and mathematics. Teaching kids to code can help them navigate and thrive in the digital age.
Computers will only dominate our lifestyle more in the future. The non-profit organization - Code.org reports that 67% of new jobs in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the United States are computing. However, the number of college students studying computer science is too small to meet the growing demands.
Because of the growing demand for coding and computer programming, careers connected to these fields are abundant and lucrative.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage in the computer and information technology field (including computer programmers and software developers) is $ 97,430. Senior software developers take home over $100,000. The job growth for this field between 2020 to 2030 is 13% - faster than the average occupation.
College students who have adequate coding skills will have more advantages in employment opportunities. They can take unfilled coding-related jobs even though computer science is not their degree.
Not all students end up working in the field they studied in college. Factors like job availability, demand, and settings, can change the course of one’s career. Due to their solid coding skills, students who can’t find positions according to the degree they took up in college, can still take up other work opportunities. Coding skills allow someone to switch to more in-demand positions like software engineer, computer programmer, and web developer. In addition, having coding as a skill can help boost one’s resume and make someone more valuable to a company. Coding can help students land other related fields like content creation and online marketing.
According to a study in 2014, working with source codes stimulates areas of the brain that involve working memory, attention, and language processing. Coding is a computational task that engages the brain and keeps it from growing idle. A stimulated brain is a healthy one.
Coding may be considered a computer science skill, but it is also an avenue for self-expression. In code development, students need to be creative to solve real-life problems. The process of coding allows them to see the result of their work in real-world settings. For example, programming and coding make it possible to create computer programs and apps that make tasks like shopping and running errands easier and more convenient. With coding, students can make games and apps to inspire fun and excitement.
With coding, the possibilities are endless! It allows students to tap into their creativity and imagination to make the world a better place.
Computational and problem-solving skills are necessary to be successful in coding. The strings of codes and scripts one produces will not always result in the desired computer function or performance.
Coders do not only write codes and scripts for applications and computer software to function. They also need to test codes and scripts, look for errors, and correct them.
The problem-solving, logical, and analytical skills students will learn from coding will also help them perform other jobs and tasks.
After discussing why every college student should learn to code, how does one start learning?
Governments could step in and make coding a mandatory subject. By doing this, all students will get the chance to understand, appreciate, and reap the benefits of coding. But this is far from the reality. Although some governments have already recognized the value of coding and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) approach, mandatory coding subjects in high school are still a rarity.
Unless students take computer science or related courses as a major, the opportunity to learn to code will not present itself. Students should take the initiative and seize available learning opportunities.
Several online courses offer introductions to coding or computer programming. Online learning platforms like edX, Udemy, and Coursera have free and paid courses. Many paid courses are reasonably priced, and most of them give certificates upon completion. Coding-specific platforms like Codecademy and Code Studio also offer free practice lessons, STEM resources, and real-world projects that students can complete.
If taking a degree in computer science is not possible, and free online courses seem not enough, then joining a coding boot camp may be the best option. Boot camps focus on job-specific skills to help graduates land employment. The most comprehensive ones last about 24 weeks. Companies that offer boot camps include Coding Dojo, Flatiron School, and General Assembly.
If it is hard to find the right online course, college students can start by studying one book on coding languages.
The foundation of computer programming lies in understanding the programming and markup languages. Studying these languages encourages students to think like programmers. After learning the basics on their own, they may decide to focus on specific languages later on.
Being able to learn how to code independently is impressive. However, constant feedback and people’s support will make learning coding faster and more fun. Coding communities like Scratch are known to be helpful and supportive. They provide the knowledge and strategies to hone coding skills, especially for beginners. Being part of a community develops teamwork and collaboration skills as students must learn to work and share ideas with various people.
Many students learn faster when they have in-person sessions as it can be boring and unmotivating to learn from a book or online course. Human connection can make learning concepts more personal and meaningful. This is why technology still cannot replace human teachers. Coding mentors can fast-track learning. Their presence can also supplement online courses or DIY learning.
A mentor does not have to be a high-profile professional. A friend or a relative, who is passionate about coding, can be an effective mentor.
Students may not want to pay or commit to a continuous year-long bootcamp. In this case, taking workshops on coding is a good compromise. Workshops are meant to be hands-on but still offer the human connection valuable to many learners. Coding workshops focus on specific skills and topics. They are shorter than boot camps and offer more flexibility to participants. Students can choose to attend one, three, or ten workshops within a period.
Finally, whichever method of learning coding a student chooses, the important thing is to grab every chance to practice it. Like any other skill, coding needs time and plenty of practice to master.
Computer Science and coding have solved some of the biggest challenges in the world. It is crucial that we have enough computer science-literate students to keep up with future global economic needs and lifestyle conditions.
Learning coding for college students does not only prepare them for high-paying jobs; it also gives them the skills to contribute to society, find meaning in their lives and create a better future.
Are you interested in pursuing a degree or landing a job in computer science? Here is how to make it happen.