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Should you learn to code in 2019?

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If you have been curious about coding/programming/web developing but haven't found the fortitude to begin the journey, or to take a free online course, then maybe now is the best time. Technology isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and programming is a great first step into it. That's right. A first step. The generic term "Technology", or more loosely translated, the "science of craft", from the Greek translation spans a wide variety of disciplines. Everything from robotics, to space travel, to web design, to video game development can fall under that umbrella.

And I will say this. All of those, except for web development, are difficult to do on your own due to the lack of overall resources. By that I mean, you probably don't have robots or rocket ships lying around. But web development is a great doorway into the world of technology, because it just requires a laptop (most laptops) and any one of the many free tools out there designed to help you write code, such as VS Code.

Web development sounds like a simple and fun hobby, to those not familiar with it. And it can be for sure, at least in the beginning. But to those willing to take the required steps, it is much more. It is complex, and it involves many different technologies and modalities to make it function. The thing that most people don't know exist, hence, it looks simple from the outside looking in. Those starting off can get familiar with the following concepts relatively easily with few roadblocks:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • jQuery

Just to name a few technologies. And these would technically be enough in order to be able to build out something more tangible, though be it not as complex. But those willing to dive in deeper can end up working with the following:

  • C#
  • PHP
  • React (Native)
  • Cross Platform Applications
  • Server Management
  • Database Architecture
  • B2B Applications
  • webGL

Some of these concepts can be carried over and applied to other fields of interest. Database architecture for example isn't simply a tool for web development. It's a skill that you can leverage in the world of data science or architecting out larger software projects. Server side languages, such as C# can also be applied to other fields, such as game development and robotics. While JavaScript technologies such as webGL, can get you familiar with 2D and 3D graphics rendering.

So should you learn to code this coming year? Here are a few reasons why that might be a good idea.

The demand is growing

Companies have learned how to make money on the web, and they have gotten increasingly good at it. Which means, more jobs overall for the many different skill levels of developers. This is also largely due to the fact that startups have begun to pop up in every major city with futuristic ideas that require skilled technologists. Combine that with the fact that essentially every man, woman and child have a digital device on their being at all times downloading digital content in vast quantities, and you are going to create a demand for this skillset.

And the faster you jump aboard the train, the more prepared you will be in the long term. Everyone starts off as a junior something or other normally. But given the time and energy, they evolve to a mid-level or a senior-level something or other. And the faster you start, the faster you climb that latter and get to work on more complex projects.

It is going to get more complex

As with everything else in life. Everything is always getting more and more complex. Cars, phones, computers, etc. And it is no different with programming. New frameworks are continuously being released and older frameworks are being deprecated or updated weekly or monthly. And the more time that elapses between you starting and the unforseen future, the more difficult it will be to grasp the concepts.

Similar to how your parents have a hard time using their phones or programming a television remote control, the same will apply to us attempting to learn about some exotic new technology in 10 or 20 years. We're slowly shifting towards a world of augmented reality. And along with that new skills are required. Currently, our society is still stuck in the 2D world of phones and high quality displays. But in 10,20,30 years we cannot predict what the new medium will be. But whatever it is, you can be sure that it will require new ways to think and types of problems to solve.

It's easier to get into

While technology itself is always improving and moving towards the complex, the means of learning said material is equally trying to keep up. And so we now have many more ways learn or at the very least to get started.

Online resources

One of the main reasons why you should begin the process of learning to code in 2019, is that it is now more attainable than ever. The hard work of digitizing knowledge by the boat-load has been accomplished and is now continuously ongoing. Even the process of validating that knowledge is getting better and better, with websites such as StackOverflow becoming the middle man and jury for many of the ways that code is written these days.

There is plenty of YouTube content that you can access for free, as well as online course material through sites like freecodecamp and udemy. Not to say that this is a sure-fire way to guarantee you becoming a proficient programmer or web developer. But the potential is there, and is stronger than ever.

Online bootcamps

Bootcamps are a relatively new phenomenon in the world of programming and web development and they aim to get you from zero to entry/medium stage in 6 months or less on average. Many bootcamps, such as Thinkful, offer online-only courses with the support of mentors in the field to get you to completion in the time allotted.

Most bootcamps are not free and costs will vary depending on whether they are in-person or online-only and also on the length of the bootcamps, again most ranging from 3-6 months. If you are someone that needs a bit more structure in your learning, then definitely this is a route to consider.

You can read about a few more ways to get into the field of web development right over here.

In conclusion

We haven't noticed the increase in complexity in the way that we live, because we are living it in real-time. But it is there. Things have vastly grown in functionality during the past decade or so. And programming is no exception. We now have layers upon layers of tools and frameworks at our disposal to be able to build out fabulous ideas. And things are only growing in complexity as the years progress.

Every year that you skip in keeping up, will only exponentially slow you down as you try to catch up later on in life.

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