The word coding seems to be heard with increasingly regularity in today’s workplace, and for many it leads to two obvious questions: what is computer coding,and what is code? Coding, or scripting, is the language used to provide a set of instructions for an environment such as a PC, robot, or browser, to perform specific tasks. These terms are generally used interchangeably, though some people apply varying distinctions between them. Coding involves inputting step-by-step commands for a computer to follow. The very nature of computers is that they behave in ways that they are directly instructed to, based on these instructions.

Importance of coding

Learning code is, in a broad sense, like learning any language – or to be more accurate, a family of languages. There are overarching rules that all scripts follow, but also very precise rules for each. It’s not an exaggeration that coding is the DNA of the digital world. Every phone app, website, computer programme, and even many kitchen appliances rely on coding to work. This is why coders have such a prominent position in the shaping of the modern age, and the future.

It is anticipated that over the next decade that there will be a massive shortfall in the number of computer science graduates able to occupy the coding careers available. This signifies the proliferation of coding into many different industries. In fact, computer sciences are becoming a key element in many diverse areas of work, such as medicine and banking, where insight of programming and coding is of increasing relevance and importance.

Where coding is used

As touched upon above, coding has becomeing the framework for the modern world and coders act as architects of these constructs. Consequently, skilled coders are in high demand. Their skills are used in creating mobile phone and desktop apps, and popular websites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are many different programming languages, each with a different purpose of increasing and diminishing usefulness. Along with Python, PHP, and C#, here are some of the most widely used:

  • Java: This is a general purpose language used especially with desktop software, Android phones and tablets, a great many websites, and in embedded systems such as the chip used to run a washing machine, for instance.
  • Javascript: although similar in name to Java, it has almost no relation to it. In fact, it has been said that Java and Javascript are similar in the way Ham and Hamster are similar. Javascript was originally made to add front-end, in-browser functionality to web pages, such as with Gmail and eBay, where it enables an entire application to run within a web browser. Now people are finding new ways to utilise Javascript as a general purpose programming language.
  • C: This extremely fast language is largely used for writing operating systems, device drivers, and other programming languages. It also has use in programming embedded systems, with good performance.
  • C++: Built on C, there is actually a lot of overlap with C. C++ is used predominately with 3D games. It is rarely used with websites, unless they are highly-optimised. The specific quality of C++ is in being able to manage memory very efficiently, which is useful when smooth real-time execution is needed.

Career prospects of coding

New industries are offering routes to expand into for those pursuing a career in computer sciences. Beyond the obvious examples of IT workers, scientists, artists and designers, data analysts, and engineers, openings outside of the technology sector are beginning to appear in places such as finance and manufacturing. This means that coders have become highly sought after, and are often well-rewarded in terms of salary.

Those looking for coding careers should concentrate on gaining an acute knowledge in SQL databases and programming languages such as Java, Javascript, XML, Python, C#, and C++, along with becoming well-informed about operating systems and platforms like Windows and .NET, iOS, and Linux.

It is important for people looking for a career in coding to stay up to date with continuous changes in technology, and to identify any specific areas of expertise that seem particularly appealing. For example, those interested in architecture, graphic design, or engineering should understand AutoCAD programs. For those attracted to analytics, it is wise to be aware of the statistical software environments R and SAS, and to follow the ongoing industry debate as to which is better.

How to start career in coding

To re-emphasise the point, there has never been a better time to find a career in coding. However, because of this, it is necessary to have knowledge beyond basic computer programming. Indeed, nearly all coding jobs require a bachelor’s degree. To make sure this degree enables graduates to find the coding careers they want, it is smart to decide on a programming discipline. This might be in developing mobile apps, web technologies, server development, or writing desktop applications. For each of these, there is a specific language to learn. By researching a chosen specialty, the appropriate language can be recognised and learned. For example, someone wanting to work in server development should research the importance of PHP, ASP.NET, and Node.js, and start learning more about them.

This ought to be part of a general absorption of a chosen area of computer studies, seeking out every article, blog, podcast, and video related to it. Even try to seek out a mentor to gain any extra insight.

This burgeoning industry will become increasingly competitive, and getting advanced knowledge early will give you the advantage and pay dividends later on. Also, being proactive and acquiring a fundamental awareness of other areas of expertise and learning additional languages will be beneficial in the long-term.

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