You’re never too old to learn how to code. Neither are you likely to be too young to.
Laurie Alaoui, a 57-year old student at the General assembly, a coding education program, started on this dream when she was inspired by a TEDtalk on augmented reality and gesture technology called SixthSense, developed in the MIT Media Lab, according to this article by Selena Larson from The Kernel magazine.
“He put it on open source, which I had never heard of before, and that means it’s up on the Web and you can take it down and you can use the code to do what you please. I thought it’s so amazing, and he’s just giving it away.” gushed Laurie when she was describing her impressions of the presenter using the tips of felt pens to move photographs across a screen and displaying a watch face on his arm by gesturing in the demonstration.
Given the relative ubiquity, and pervasiveness, of technology in today’s society, the importance of computing and the very thing that drives most of its functionality – coding – cannot be overstated. Age is no barrier or protection from the daily usage of things necessitated by coding; it could be easy to use appliances or computers at face value currently, but as technology becomes more complex it may become important to acquire a keener understanding into how the gadgetry around us works.
So, why should you code? Aside from challenging your learning horizons, here are some practical reasons highlighting why this increasingly universal language isn’t just for the computing geeks or engineers:
1. Coding provides a huge competitive advantage, no matter your background.
Companies, corporations and even government bodies are looking at how you can value-add to an organisation, and if you came fresh out of college with a (relatively) common degree, such as the natural sciences and the liberal arts, chances are that there are many other hopeful applicants for that job having a similar skillset. According to Code.org, there are 71% of STEM jobs in computing, and only 8% of these graduates from computer Science. In this backdrop of labour and skill shortage, being able to code not only opens up your options and makes you far more attractive to any prospective employer (especially in the STEM industry), but also provides a massive help should you strike it out on your own, such as creating a start-up or running a franchise on your own.
2. Coding helps to build crucial skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.
It certainly isn’t easy coming up with algorithms and looking at how exactly a line of code translates into a specific function, be it a computer program, or a HTML code powering a website. However, when coming up with different parameters and ironing out bugs, the method of framing your thoughts while performing such tasks can be translated to daily life. With more organised methods of sifting through variables and delving into how things work, you could perhaps find more efficient ways to clear household chores – such as troubleshooting a bathroom leak, or even fixing a car breakdown without losing calm and patience. Thinking out of the box is also one positive takeaway from the time you spend coming up with novel ways of getting your code to work- perhaps creatively coming up with ways to impress your loved one might earn you more brownie points!
3. It’s lots of satisfying fun!
Yep, it may be logic-based and structured, but it’s indisputably an activity that requires a lot of creativity. Lines of code are only half the story; being able to employ your other talents (such as art skills in designing, in creating a simple game or website) simultaneously adds to the fun and intrigue! There are innumerable ways in which you can combine coding with your innate interests or talent. Of course, whether you look at the creation process or finished product, it’s always satisfying to see how far you’ve come, and what you’ve accomplished.