How Code Will Improve Your Career
Impress Your Boss and Yourself
Code is the foundation of our digital society, and yet so many still lack the knowledge to even begin to understand its secrets. Although it does take a decent amount of work to start learning the secrets of programming, the benefits can be very rewarding. Since I have started coding I have been able to optimize all of the accounting tasks I do at my company, and automate nearly everything I was previously doing by hand, leaving me more time for myself and ultimately impressing my co-workers and boss with my new skill set.
The biggest thing holding you back from learning to code is learning. Whenever you enter an entirely new field, you are going to be leaving your comfort zone and it can be discouraging to be completely new at something, especially when you have no idea where to begin. Luckily, I can help you by guiding you, but ultimately it is up to you to become a more effective and efficient person.
How Code Helps Your Career
The age of technology has come upon us, and being able to manipulate this technology gives you an edge over everybody else. I have been with a number of companies, and all of them have had significant upgrades made with some simple programming. You can learn to automate what you're already doing, change systems your company has in place to improve efficiency, and most importantly, you can learn to think programmatically.
Your company will love you for this, and you will be bound to get a raise. To think that you don't need to be a Computer Scientist to program computers would have been blasphemy 20 years ago, but now it is common sense. Just as knowing basic math skills wasn't a necessity a hundred years ago, and now it is commonplace and if you cannot do basic arithmetic I doubt you can survive. This is happening to computer programming, and it is happening quickly, so get on the boat and learn to code!
Anybody Can Learn
Picking A Programming Language
The first step to learning to code is to pick a programming language! A programming language is the medium that you will use to communicate with your computer, and there are thousands of possible languages. This is the part where many people get scared because of the vast selection of languages, and being new to the world of coding, it can seem daunting to decide upon one, so I've accumulated a list of what I think to be the most effective programming languages to start with.
I always like to recommend Java as a first language because of the fact that it is very well managed. There are a massive amount of resources for learning online, it is constantly being updated, and there are entire communities of Java experts that can help answer any of your questions all over the internet. The fact that it is object-oriented could make it slightly more difficult to grasp, but overall it is definitely a strong language to know.
Python is what you would call a Scripting Language, and I truly believe that it is the best programming language for aspiring coders to start with. The syntax of the language is not picky at all, and can be learned very easily compared to other syntactically demanding languages (I'm looking at you, FORTRAN), while still commanding a lot of power, and giving the programmer a lot of possibilities.
The primary reason I would recommend Python is because of the fact that you can learn all of the necessary concepts within the language in a very short amount of time due to its simple syntax. This allows for the opportunity to expand into other languages, as you will already understand the primary principles of code.
C++ (If You Like a Challenge)
C++, like Java and Python, also has a very large pool of information waiting for you to access all over the internet. The difference that C++ poses, though, is that it is an unmanaged programming language, meaning that you will have to deal with memory directly very often, and this can be very complicated, especially for those new to programming.
Although most will tell you not to start with C++, I pride myself in knowing that C++ was my first language, and although it was incredibly difficult to get the grasp of, it forces you to truly understand the concepts at a very low level, meaning that you will have more knowledge of how your computer works at the memory level.
Learning The Language
Most people will recommend you to go to various different websites for learning these three programming languages, and I'll admit that online learning sources are improving every day. But I've always been one to enjoy a book, and so I've got an entire collection of books on programming languages on my shelf, and highly recommend the "For Dummies" collection of C++ and Java programming books. They are extremely user friendly, come with instructional CD's, and quite frankly are enjoyable to read as the author is very humorous in his writing.
Regardless of how you decide to learn whichever language you choose, I think that it is important to practice and learn with a lot of trial and error. Learning a language doesn't necessarily mean reading a tutorial and following it at every point. Sometimes it's better to just play around with it and see what happens when you try certain things, or make a simple game for fun, and inviting friends to learn it with you. Programming is not objective; it is really what you make of it.
Although it will take a decent amount of effort to achieve a level of programming that will impress others, I guarantee you: you will not regret it. I have taught many, many people how to code, and every time I begin doing so, it is like they are all stuck on saying the same thing:
"Why didn't I learn this earlier?"