Anyone can code and everyone should (even if you suck)

You should learn to code for three reasons:

  1. Anything you currently do, you can probably do much more efficiently with a small amount of code.
  2. The more you code, the better you get at it. By “it”, I mean the process of solving problems with code: research, experimentation, and reading.
  3. It’s easy, especially if you know basic English.

Coding is easy, mostly because it is based on the english language. If you understand this sentence, you’re 90% of the way there: If I do this, then I’ll do this. The other 10% is Algebra. The main difficulty with coding is sourcing good material to learn from. There is a lot of bad documentation out there. Some cutting edge frameworks and libraries are created by random people and sometimes teenagers. They can lack awareness of the production systems their work is used in. This translates to some pretty confusing and unreliable stuff for a newbie. Still, with all these great books and online education platforms teaching you to code, there’s no excuse for not learning the basics. It’s easier to learn older technologies. For most people, learning a buzzwordy framework with constantly changing documentation is a mistake. Learn something like PHP and the answers you’ll find via google will be consistent, simple and well-researched. As a bonus, the ecosystem is old and changes slowly.

It makes you better at almost any job. A basic understanding of coding and scripting can help you eliminate much of your trivial work and let you focus on what really matters. Even without coding, knowing how to integrate different apps to create more efficient processes for yourself can drastically change the reality of your job. This is a type of coding without coding, which is just as important of a skill. You’re thinking in logical patterns and behaviors and adapting existing functional software to suit your specific input and output needs.

Knowledge is power. People are so often intimidated by coding because they thing programmers are smart. This is indubitably wrong. Some of the stupidest people I’ve met are programmers. Really good programmers are smart – but you’re unlikely to be a really good programmer. Although, you never know until you try. Outside of being a really good programmer™, coding is simple, straightforward, and everyone can do it. Even if you don’t apply it to your daily life, a basic understanding or overview of how coding works and how the internet works is essential. For the internet history and infrastructure part, I recommend the book Tubes. Modern coding is not just a field of engineering, it is the new medium in which most businesses and social interactions will exist. Don’t be afraid: own the medium.

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