6 Reasons to Learn How to Code

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Have you ever stumbled on a codebase and just wondered what it means and if you could write something like that yourself? Perhaps you've taken some introductory programming classes in high school or college a few years ago and found it fun? In the job market, there are few professions that are getting as much attention as software engineering and web development. Flocks of professionals from other industries are making the leap to a more tech-savvy profession. If you just got bit by the code bug and are considering switching careers, learning how to write your first lines of code is a great starting point. But for those who are still undecided, here are six reasons why you should consider learning how to code:

1. High Salary

The pay rate varies depending on employer and experience, but the median salary for entry-level developers is $72,000, according to anonymously submitted salaries on Glassdoor. Learning how to code with basic languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript is all you need to be considered for an entry-level web developer position. The majority of software engineering jobs do not require a traditional four-year degree. In fact, according to a survey posted in Quartz Media, almost 70 percent of web developers who were interviewed for the survey said that they were self taught, and only less than half had a traditional computer science degree.

2. Make Ideas Into a Reality

People who know how to code can easily bring ideas they have into reality. If you have a website design you want to see or a game idea you want to play, you can build it piece by piece with the knowledge you have at hand. Knowing the fundamentals of JavaScript and its extensive frameworks including NodeJS and ExpressJS is enough to get your website up and running. Unlike other jobs where you need a license, specialized equipment, and tools to build tangible, real world products, web developers need only a text editor and coding skills to get the job done or at least produce something that resembles the idea they envisioned.

3. Boost Interpersonal Skills

Aside from developing technical skills, like HTML and CSS, learning how to code also helps instill soft skills including teamwork and communication. Most projects you'll take on are too enormous for just one person to handle. You'll need to communicate with team members to manage syntax consistency in your codebase, debug and figure out the best path to move forward. When you get hired to work for a company, you'll most likely be working with an already existing software product and tools thus you'll have to communicate with senior engineers when you run into issues with the codebase.

4. Create New Opportunities

Learning how to code doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up working as a web developer or software engineer for a startup. Knowing the fundamentals of computer science including logical operations and recursion can launch a career in data science and graphics design. Some coders also choose to work and travel as a developer evangelist. Perhaps the best opportunity created by learning how to code is entrepreneurship. Some of the most successful multi-million dollar companies like Dropbox, PayPal and Amazon started off as a few lines of code on a computer.

5. It's Free

As mentioned earlier, almost 70 percent of people are self taught. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars to learn how to code through a traditional school or even one of those intensive bootcamps. There are dozens of self-paced courses out there, free of charge and taught by some of the most intelligent computer science majors. Some of the country's top colleges including MIT and Stanford also post their class lecture videos on YouTube, so you can watch and learn a lot of the theories and concepts you need. Text editors and plugins also have a complimentary version. Even if you do end up paying for a course, most of them cost significantly less than a traditional degree.

6. Solve Problems

Few careers offer the opportunity to solve problems and keep your brain agile and exercised. Coders face new challenges on a daily basis, whether it's an update on package dependencies or incompatibility with other frameworks and technologies. Learning to code is a wonderful choice if you are looking for something mentally challenging and fun at the same time. Take your problem-solving skills to the next level by participating in hackathons and puzzle challenges hosted by large tech firms, such as Google.

Now that you have reasons to learn how to code, the next and most important step is taking the leap. While studying video tutorials and textbooks are a good starter, it's much better to practice writing code on your computer. Download a text editor and write a traditional "Hello, World!" to get your feet wet.

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