Computer science has been regarded as a field of study and career for a few who are thought to be brighter than others. Although, the first programmer was an English mathematician and writer, Ada Lovelace, known for her work on Charles Babbage’s mechanical general purpose computer (analytic engine).
Programming or coding as it’s also known has become male dominated over the last decades. This article explains the relevance of coding, and how coding has become easier for everyone to learn.
Programming (coding) refers to a process defining a set of rules that instructs computer programs what actions to perform. There’s a misconception that one needs to write or understand 0s 1s when programming. When programming source code (English-like instructions) are written using a given programming language like Java, C++, C or C#. The computer then translates the source code into machine code (0s and 1s), a language understood by computers.
In the early days of computer programs, the set of instructions that defines what a computer program should do were crafted using instructions of a specific computer in a binary notation (0s and 1s). However, programming has evolved, enabling programmers, children and even just citizens with little knowledge of computers to easily develop their own games and educational programs.
Moreover, the emergence of intelligent integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Android studio, swift and live code with code completion and build automation tools has drastically reduced the designing, coding effort and has made programming easier. Thus, eliminating the notion that coding as programming is passionately known is only for a few individuals that understand 0s and 1s.
Today, there exist thousands of free blogs, coding classes, code labs and online resources, which aims to entice and make it easier for people to easily and unequivocally learn how to code. However, many of these online materials rarely point out the struggle of setting up the development environment and the software development kit. Moreover, many of these courses do not also emphasise on the point that when programming, one will heavily rely on asking the right questions on Google.
No doubt that the interventions made by IDEs and thousands of free online courses has made programming easier learn. Nevertheless, programming is still a tedious and frustrating process, which requires a lot of patience and time. Perhaps this might be the reason why only few people are doing it.
Learning how to code has been gaining a lot of momentum among the tech community and beyond. Attracting interest from important people such as the former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama. New York under Michael Bloomberg has declared coding as an essential for tomorrow’s workforce. In my view, coding is more relevant today than ever, as it can become the answer to the world’s problems, providing tools to co-create solutions for sustainable development. There is a growing demand for software engineers both among developed and developing nations. And it is because of this that president Barack Obama’s government has proposed legislation to make Computer Science a compulsory subject in all American schools.
Software engineering has not only become a lucrative industry with the ability to change many people’ lives but one that has the potential to transform a society or nation. Through the creation of start-ups, which will create the much needed, thus eradicate poverty.
However, this doesn’t imply that if you learn how to code he/she will become an overnight millionaire but with perseverance and persistence one can create great application that revolutionise how people communicate, interact, live and do things. Moreover, coding instil rational thinking and pragmatic problem solving students. Therefore, in this day and age of Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter I urge anyone to learn to code than any other skill out there. And like a mother who give life to a child, they should use their skills to give life to applications
Learning how to code has become the new literacy, everyone is doing it; including children and toddlers. It doesn’t require you to be smart or have a certain level of intelligence but your patience, willingness to allow your own creativity to flow and translate into a working application or program.
*Lameck Mbangula Amugongo is country Ambassador of 1 Billion Africa in Namibia. He holds B.IT: Software Engineering, B.Hons: Software Development (Cum Laude) and currently pursuing MSc.