What is coding, actually?
There are a ton of misconceptions about coding — what it’s used for, how you learn it, and why it’s a skill transferable to more professionals than just those in tech.
If you’ve been considering learning it but have heard different, conflicting opinions about it, fear not — we’re going to answer the age-old question “What is coding?” and give you the honest answers to six coding myths you’ve likely heard before.
What is coding?
In the simplest of terms, coding is how we communicate with computers. Not just computers, but any device that uses an internal “computer” to operate, like smart phones, tablets, and even massive servers that host thousands of computers on its network. Coding is often interchangeable with programming.
Code is developed by writing code. It’s like writing a set of instructions that tells a computer what to do and what action to take. These instructions are used to create computer software, webpages, mobile apps, and more.
We know how vast and expansive the Internet is. Consider that every single web page you’ve ever visited was written with code. Now consider every software you’ve used to do your job, create a project, play a game, or communicate with loved ones — those were written with code, too. When you think of the billions and billions of use cases just in those examples alone, you can see why coding is so important — and why it requires so many people to learn it for professional and personal use.
With all of its use cases, coding comes up against a lot of misconceptions. Those that want to learn how to code should know the truth about common myths you often hear about it. These are four common myths we’re debunking today:
4 myths you’ve likely heard (and what the truth is)
Coding requires a ton of math.
One of the biggest misconceptions about coding is that you need to know advanced calculus equations and really complex mathematics. This isn’t the case — for the most part.
It all depends on what your project is or what you intend to build. If you’re asking a computer to complete advanced math equations, you’ll probably need to know that math to code it. But if you’re simply building web pages, web or mobile applications or pieces of software, you likely won’t need many math skills at all.
The most that may be required is your standard arithmetic or particular types of math that relate back to certain types of programming languages (like Boolean algebra, for example).
Where math comes most in handy is applying logic to problems and finding a solution. Solving actual equations isn’t the main objective; but being able to problem solve and come to a conclusion is at the core of many types of math and programming. That’s where they intersect the most.
You shouldn’t learn coding if you aren’t in tech.
People see or hear about coding and they automatically think “I don’t need to learn that. I don’t work in tech!”
In the next 5-10 years, however, expats predict that coding will be more of a baseline skill than it is a nice-to-have one. Technology is advancing at such a rapid speed that more people in more roles and industries will need to leverage coding in their everyday responsibilities. It’s one of our top skills of 2022 to learn if you want to create a bulletproof resume.
Programming languages like SQL are transferable to many different roles in a range of different industries.
You need a college degree to learn coding.
College degrees like computer science can absolutely be studied to learn coding and programming. With a computer science degree, you can find roles in and out of tech.
But to learn how to code, you don’t need to go back to college. You don’t even need to attend traditional training at all. You can learn coding for free online in the form of courses, tutorials, and lessons. You can attend a coding bootcamp if you want to pursue a career in anything coding related like software engineering, web development, data science, and more.
In fact, learning how to code can set you up to find a career in one of these roles that don’t require a college degree at all.
Coding will be outsourced to robots or AI soon.
Don’t get us wrong — computers are very, very smart. In many ways, they know more than we do. But until they become sentient beings that can think, feel, and reason, robots and artificial intelligence won’t be replacing coders anytime soon.
Coding is just fancy problem solving. To solve a problem, you have to understand the problem and all of its nuances. You have to understand risk and reward and what’s at stake. A computer can’t reason with logic and emotion and what’s best for business or for the project at hand. That skill can’t be replicated by anyone other than a human, so there’s still a major opportunity for folks in coding.
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