I have a strong belief that in modern times, it is becoming essential for everyone to learn coding. Just as we learn mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, social sciences till high school, I think coding in some language or the other must be made as important a course as these other courses. In this article, I’m going to talk about just this- “coding for everyone”. I’ll talk about questions like why and how much we should learn coding.
Why Learn Coding
I think this is the first question I should answer- why should everyone learn coding. The answer is actually pretty simple- because you will probably need it. Whether you plan on handling a business, becoming a doctor, or something else, there’s a lot you can do with coding. The simplest example that comes to mind is building your own website; it could be a website for your business, or for you clinic/hospital, or maybe even a personal website. Of course, you can get a website developed for you, but you’re going to be paying for it, and it’s maintenance is just another bill that you’re going to keep paying. Instead, if everyone learns to code, they can make any website they want themselves, and maintain it themselves too!
Another excellent example of why you might need coding is to do something extraordinary relevant to your field. I know of a doctor who used a 3D printer and came up with algorithms himself, which allowed him to get something similar to 3D x-rays of his patients. I know of another doctor, an otolaryngologist, who came up with an app to facilitate communication for the Deaf.
How Much Coding to Learn
There might be people more interested in teaching a beginner how to convert any algorithm in his/her head to code, and I think it’s a good starting point. Coding is simply the art of explaining something to a machine, possibly similar to how you would explain something to a child. Just as there are limited things that a child understands, there are limited things that a machine understands. Note that this does not mean that there are a limited things that a child/machine can do– as long as you can break even a herculean task down to a million everyday tasks, a child or a machine can do it! In the end, coding is just breaking the task down into small tasks that the computer knows how to perform.
Although I agree to a large extent with people who think converting an algorithm to code is sufficient coding, I also feel that the most important thing in teaching coding is removing a block from a person’s mind. Let’s just say you notice a problem relevant to your field of work, or maybe even an everyday, common-man problem, and you think there is a tech solution to the problem. At the end, building mobile or web applications is just identifying a problem and developing something to solve it, and it is not necessary that only a developer would be able to identify a problem.
I think any person who identifies a problem and realizes that an app could solve it, should be able to develop the app himself. And often, even with people who know basic coding, there is a block in their mind that prevents them from getting started with a new technology. And I believe that in teaching coding, it is this block that we need to remove. We need to give every individual the confidence to start a new technology with the belief that whatever problems come up, they would be able to use the resources available and find a solution!