One thing is at the heart of our increasingly online and digital world: programming. Programming is becoming more and more vital in almost everything we do, as technology expands and enriches our lives, relationships, businesses, and entertainment. Today, programming is a skill that can open up career doors, give you new-found security and financial stability, and improve your life immeasurably.
Here are 7 ways programming can change your life.
1. Programming will get you a job
For years now, South Africa has been experiencing a major shortage of skilled computer science and computer engineering graduates in the workplace. What’s more, the economic devastation of COVID-19 means that traditional ideas of ‘job security’ are not what they used to be – in fact, the tech industry was one of the few that wasn’t devastated by the global shutdown.
Having skills in coding doesn’t just future-proof your career against unforeseen disasters like the global pandemic, it also opens all sorts of doors for internships and extremely high-paying job opportunities at the biggest names in technology, like Google and Amazon.
2. Programming can enhance your current career
Thanks to the ubiquity of digital technology, programming skills are incredibly useful even outside of pure coding or developer work. In the wake of COVID-19 and a global shutdown, coding skills have become nearly indispensable in almost all major business operations, from accounting and content production to project management and online marketing.
A varied skill set outside of your usual specialisations also gives you the edge in the competitive jobs market, and can make the difference in distinguishing you as an invaluable, high-skilled employee. Simply put, coding skills mean better job security.
3. Programming teaches essential problem-solving skills
We South Africans like to think of ourselves as fairly resourceful. We deal with load-shedding, potholes, slow internet, and service delivery protests, and a thousand other problems on a daily basis. As a result, we’ve become quite good at solving problems. What about logical problems, though? Educational psychology studies as far back as the 80s show that if you learn programming, you are likely to enhance problem solving skills.
Solving programming problems encourages you to think logically, and ‘decompose’ the problem into smaller chunks. Fixing your dodgy code is also a problem-solving skill-builder, as you need to comb through your work methodically in order to fix what’s broken, and improve what’s inefficient.
4. Programming can make you “tech-confident”
Certain technical topics can be confusing. In many cases, this is because a lot of people simply do not understand the ‘behind-the-scenes’ mechanisms of the tech they use on a daily basis.
Programming teaches you how these things work, and it demystifies the inner workings of the programs and websites you use. It’s also invaluable for figuring out the roots of problems, and seeing where you can potentially solve them. For example, if your company’s website loads and its text is all different sizes and fonts, you’ll understand that there’s something wrong with the HTML code or its related CSS stylesheets – and you’ll know where to find the issue and fix it.
5. Become a specialist who can adapt to any field
Programming is way more than just one single language or program. It covers a wide range of applications, including game engines, web databases, traditional desktop programs, mobile and web apps, and countless other examples.
This is one of the largest appeals of learning programming: that it teaches you a transferable skill set and ethos that you can use in almost any tech environment. Rather than lock you into one language and one platform, programming gives you the skills to figure out problems and solve them with innovative solutions – whether it’s with new coding languages, technology stacks, or clever engineering.
6. Change the world through your code
Software development is simply a special form of engineering; but instead of building bridges, you create software. These can be apps that support medical staff in hospitals, AI that detects diseases, educational apps that help millions of people to learn without massive tuition costs, or let people share their ideas and creativity with the world. Programmers made these things. They made apps we use every day: resources like YouTube, Wikipedia, email, Uber, Netflix, or Amazon that make life more convenient, simple, or entertaining.
There is a long list of tech moguls and programmers who have changed the face of the world through their inventions and programs. It includes people like Michael Dell (of Dell computers), Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates, and South Africans like Elon Musk (SpaceX, PayPal, and Tesla Motors) or Mark Shuttleworth (the South African astronaut, and creator of Ubuntu OS).
If you learn the skills that these pioneers had, the possibilities of what you could build or accomplish are limitless.
7. It’s easier to learn than ever before
It used to be that if you wanted to get a career in tech, you’d have to go to university to earn your Computer Science degree first. This involves taking unnecessary subjects as extra credits, years of lost earning potential, and some serious barriers of entry to those without the educational or coding experience needed to get started.
Thankfully, the world of education has been rapidly changing: there are many ways to learn how to code, and companies realising that practical developer skills are worth far more than a piece of paper. We’ve been at the forefront of these changes for nearly a decade now: at HyperionDev, we specialise in making programming education accessible and affordable, so that you can learn these critical skills at your own pace, under the guidance of experts, and without spending years of time or half a million rand in tuition.
Programming can do more than just give you an amazing salary and incredible career opportunities – it can change your life and the lives of the thousands of people who use the software you create. Our specialised 1-on-1 mentor-led coding bootcamps will help you to learn practical software development skills to become job-ready for your life-changing career in tech in less than 6 months. Best of all, they can be taken online or part-time to suit your schedule, so that you can fit a tech future into your spare time.
Editor’s note: This post was originally posted on 23 October 2017 and has been updated on 30 September 2020.