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Lifelong Learning: It Is Never Too Late to Start Coding

See also: Essential Digital Skills for Students

Some people have a belief that being able to write code is a highly technical activity that not everyone can master.

However, there is a rising number of individuals interested in learning how to code. Even children are starting to show interest in computer programming from an early age.

If you believe that you have grown too old to benefit from learning to code, you might be wrong. Lifelong learning has become a key component of a fulfilling career and a satisfying life. It’s never too late to start coding. In fact, if you get started now, you will learn new ways to think and open the door to exciting business and career opportunities.

New job choices and better ways of thinking are just two examples of how learning to code gives you benefits that can change your life, regardless of your age. Software applications run a greater part of the world every day, so knowing how they work and how to make your own can substantially improve your life and provide you with many other benefits as well.

A Valuable Skill for Job Seekers

Today's software is increasingly complex, and even retail and service jobs often require advanced knowledge of computers and information technology.

If you’re seeking a well-paid job in IT, chances are many of them will require some expertise in programming. When you consider the fact that computer programmers are paid well and are generally highly valued employees at their companies, you can rest assured that you can only benefit from acquiring coding skills.

If you know how to code, you will have an increased variety of job opportunities. Programming skills will not only look good on your resume but will also make you competitive in the job market. In the future, not knowing how to code may be considered a type of illiteracy in most fields of work. Therefore, taking the time to learn this valuable skill will certainly pay off.

Computational Thinking

Learning how to code can help you with computational thinking.

Computational thinking is a set of thought processes involved in formulating specific questions or problems and determining their solutions. The solutions are planned out in a way that is logical and step-wise so that the solution could be implemented by an information-processing agent not able to think with abstraction.

Being able to perform computational thinking helps you to solve complex problems quickly and structure your arguments in a logical and clear way. The process involves a combination of predictable algorithms, logic and mathematics. This is how software engineers, as well as many other scientific professionals, conduct their problem-solving activities.

Tackling large problems by breaking them down into smaller ones that can be managed efficiently is a hallmark of coding. Computer programmers create a model of the real world that is abstract and unpredictable and apply sequences of code that offer specific solutions that can be applied to a variety of situations. Eventually, the specific code can also be applied in a more general sense and to a greater array of problems.

Artistic Expression and Creativity

There is no single solution to most coding problems.

When you are developing your computer programming skills, you can put your creativity to the test. You can add and take away elements and see what happens. Coding can also work as a means of self-expression.

While there is plenty of logical thinking and process to coding, you can also use the general framework in other aspects of your life. If you want to create a work of art through a process, you can use processing as a framework for artistic pursuits such as prints, clothing design or data visualization.



Learning How to Code

If you are new to coding, begin by asking yourself why you want to learn how to code. Having an answer to this question will help you to set on a path to success. Start small and choose a programming language that is easier to learn and that will be a good foundation for learning other languages in the future.

For example, you can start by trying out a children's game about coding. Games like these allow kids to learn how to code on their own with online tutorials and games rather than having to sit through lectures in a classroom. These tutorials start at the beginning and do not make any assumptions about existing knowledge of computer programming.

Educators have recognized the benefits of learning to code at a young age and agree that it improves children’s overall ability to learn. That is one of the reasons there is a growing number of kid-friendly coding apps, games, and tutorials. If learning how to code seems intimidating to you, this is a great place to start.

If you prefer a more traditional learning environment, there are still specialty schools that teach computer programming in nearly every available language and for all levels of expertise. You can also take online classes to learn to code. Free online sites such as Codecademy or GitHub allow you to work at your own pace and develop coding skills.

You can also try reverse-engineering the code that someone else wrote. You can test each line and see what it does, which allows you to gain an understanding of the forest through the trees. With the available open-source code, you can continue learning and challenging yourself. You may develop your own style, and there is a large online community of like-minded people that you can network with and come up with new solutions to coding problems.

Final Word

You should expand your commitment to lifelong learning by starting to learn how to code. Understanding how programming works will help you to prepare for an increasingly connected world. The world is already dominated by computer software, and learning how to create it yourself can help you to make the most of your life. Get started now, regardless of your age. It’s never too late to start coding.


About the Author


Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer from Portland. She is interested in educational technology and does her best to stay on top of the newest tech toys used in her daughter’s school. She spends her free time trying out new recipes or reading Scandinavian crime novels. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

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