No one can afford to stand still in the modern workforce. Industries are moving quickly, and in order to keep up with trends and new technology in the workplace, you have to be agile and willing to learn new skills throughout your career.
Programming is a powerful skill that is essential to many positions in a variety of industries, and experienced developers are paid well for their knowledge and expertise. These job openings are increasing, and are expected to grow by 24% from 2016-2026. If you’ve ever been curious about picking up this in-demand skillset, then you’ll be happy to know that it’s never been easier, thanks to a wealth of free online resources, including Hour of Code events happening for Computer Science Education Week, December 4-10. But why learn to code? How can it help your career? Here are just a few reasons to consider learning to code.
Switch Careers and Open Up Opportunities
If you’re bored and restless in your current position, it might be time to think about switching jobs—or even careers. Learning to code can help you make the leap to a technical position, if you have the aptitude for it and you enjoy programming. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a developer, some positions require knowledge of programming, such as technical writing. No matter what you’re interested in doing, learning to code can open up new job and career opportunities. One woman explains how learning to code landed her a contract position that turned into her dream marketing and PR job at a startup—a job that involves no programming whatsoever.
Gain a Competitive Edge
Some positions don’t require any technical knowledge, but it can fall under the “nice to have” category, giving you a greater breadth of knowledge and helping you gain a competitive edge in your job search. For example, if you want to work at a tech startup in marketing, you’re going to need to understand the latest advancements within marketing, such as the million dollar virtual reality store simulation movement or Amazon marketing. Coding provides a similar advantage and proves to employers that you have some technical insight and versatile. Some companies also don’t have a big budget, and their employees are expected to wear many hats. Having knowledge of programming could make you much more valuable to employers for just this reason—you’ll be able to pivot and take on a variety of projects without much training.
Earn More Money
Gaining a competitive edge through coding makes employers eager to hire you over other applicants. This gives you more negotiating power when it comes to compensation, regardless of the type of position you’re pursuing. Though both men and women can earn more money by learning to code, it’s especially important for women to know the average salaries in their industry and negotiate fair compensation, since women still make only 83% of what men do on average. Developers can easily make over $100,000 per year, with high starting salaries.
Even if you’re not interested in becoming a developer, learning to code can help you to think differently. Programming is logical and results-based, which can help even those in non-engineering and development careers gain new perspectives. Getting out of your comfort zone and succeeding in learning to code can help you become more confident and adaptable, no matter where your career takes you. You’ll also improve your problem-solving skills!
Today, more and more work is moving online. However, some jobs just can’t be taken home (medical and food-service workers are just a few of these). Programming is portable, and as long as you have an Internet connection and a flexible boss, you can do your work from pretty much anywhere. Remote work is a growing trend that helps people stay focused and enjoy a superior work-life balance, and learning to code can help you land one of these coveted positions.
Options for Learning
The best thing about learning to code is the number of resources available. If you like the in-person experience, you could always take a coding bootcamp or enroll in a continuing education class. You can take free online classes, or even get your degree online—93% of higher education institutions now offer online and hybrid classes. Everyone has a slightly different learning style, and there are options for everyone who wants to learn to code. Whether you’re thinking of becoming a developer, or just trying to enhance your overall skills and knowledge, learning the basics of programming can be a great career move.