The Harbinger Online

Why Everyone Should Code

function myFunc(a, b) {
   return a * b;
}
document.getElementById(‘demo’).innerHTML = myFunc(4, 3);

Did you get all of that? Meet JavaScript, the most-used coding language in the world. If it looks like I just smashed my keyboard and typed that out by accident, join the club, I don’t understand it either.

And that’s an issue, considering 84% of U.S. households own a computer, according to Pew Research as of 2014. Coding should be a skill learned by everyone in our generation, as it’ll soon become a required skill in our technology-driven future.

In a world that is becoming more and more reliant upon computers and technology – that iPhone in your pocket can access almost every piece of human knowledge ever created – web development is ranked as the number one best job for millennials, according to USNews. This is due to its median salary, low stress level and ability to work from home. Coding is becoming just as important as reading, writing, math and science. In the future not knowing the language of computers will be just like being illiterate today.

East’s Computer Science class is a smart place to start. Taught by Jamie Kelly, he covers the basics of binary and programming languages such as python and Java. But if you are truly committed to learning computer programming to prepare for college, websites such as Code.org, Codecademy and the East recommended coding4youth offer alternative programs available at several price points and time requirements.

Why should you code? It’s plain and simple really, technology is everywhere. It’s on people’s wrists, on their glasses and soon going to be actual people (robots!)

In addition to literally powering the world, learning to code can also help with logic and problem-solving decisions. It gives you a chance to develop the right side of your brain if you are usually an artsy, creative type. And frankly, it builds character. I sat frustrated in my desk chair for hours, staring at my screen when I tried writing my first line of code.

If you, like many other high school students, have no idea what major or what career to choose, learning how to code will aid in almost every profession. Even learning some part of JavaScript will make you more marketable for colleges and later for interviews. Astrid Countee, a web developer,  said in an interview with forbes.com she was able to field many job opportunities due to a past in coding, to forbes.com. So learn to program now instead of in college – it will open some non-virtual doors.

Evan Leong, cofounder of Fount, a shopping app, told Forbes magazine, “learning to code will vastly increase your potential in becoming a valuable asset at any organization.”

Learning coding is no different than learning how to build an IKEA desk or filling up oil in your car, you just need to consult the owner’s manual. It starts off simple and with easy tasks, but in time you will be able to replace your car’s headlight and build a DIY shed. It takes practice and persistence, but is worth it in the long run to build a skill that will affect the rest of your life.

Obviously coding won’t magically make anyone the new Bill Gates or Steve Wozniak, but by starting now you’ll start getting first-hand experience you need to build a new career or an additional skill for whatever career you choose.

Forget Spanish class or Rosetta Stone and learn the new common tongue. Don’t wait until you realized you have been left hanging in a dead-end career. Make a difference in this world and finally learn what the hell that first paragraph does.

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Mac Newman

Mac Newman is a senior at East and is on his 3rd year on Harbinger as a copy editor and staff writer. When not in the J-room Mac also does DECA and SHARE. He enjoys watching and playing all sports especially soccer and golf, as well as Chick-fil-a. He hopes to influence the new staff members and improve the Harbinger even more. Read Full »

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