Coding. It seems that everywhere we look, people are being encouraged to learn coding. From children at school, to employees in the workplace, there is a constant call to become a coder. Why is this? As coding becomes increasingly relevant and important for building programs, websites, and apps, more people will need to know how to do it.
Today many job responsibilities will require some kind of coding. Even employees who aren’t involved in the IT department can benefit from understanding coding languages. Many websites allow you to manipulate the design with simple coding knowledge. If you know how to do simple coding, you’ll be able to add content, images, and more. This can make you valuable to your team. For example, if you help run the website for your school, knowing how to make simple text edits or changing out pictures can make you a star faculty member. Similarly, knowing how to code can help you create an internal website for the team that you manage in a business.
Coding is being taught in elementary schools as part of regular computer curriculum. The reality is that while there are academic benefits to learning coding, these kids are learning future job skills that will help them compete in the workplace. Most jobs of the future will likely have technological or coding requirements. As kids learn to code, they learn the actual language as well as practice in learning technical and digital skills. That means in the future when they have to learn other technical skills, they’ll be prepared.
While coding is valuable to many kinds of jobs, there are many specific career opportunities that are available to those with coding knowledge and experience. IT jobs are continuing to grow in number, and knowing how to code will make you prepared for these kinds of jobs. In the future, more and more jobs will convert over to IT and computer positions. Even today, nearly every job available requires knowledge of how to use a computer. Who knows what will happen in the next few years as technology advances?
Knowing how to code will also provide gig economy opportunities, as many organizations need freelance web designers and web programmers to help with their website. Learning coding languages is a great place to start if you’re hoping to run a side-hustle or have a gig economy job.
At the basic level, coding is the language that a computer speaks. You type in code, and the computer reads it and transforms it into a webpage. Instead of inputting the 1s and 0s in binary code, coding languages allow for an easy way to communicate with the computer programming.
Learning the language of your computer and being able to tell it what you want it to do is increasingly important in the digital age. Video games, emails, Netflix, and Google searches, everything you know and love about the computer is written in code. Software has become an essential way of life. As it continues to become more essential, software development and related fields are great areas of study that will help you land a job.
There are a huge variety of coding languages that all perform different functions. Some perform design and layout functions, while others perform more intricate details in the back end for site performance. Some of these coding languages are easier than others to learn and work with, but all perform important functions. Here is a breakdown of some of the easiest coding languages to learn, and why they are so important for software functions.
Hypertext markup language or HTML is used to create documents for the internet. HTML is used to format text, images, links, and more. It creates the basic structure for web pages and is the crucial bottom building block language for websites. HTML describes what should be on the webpage.
Everything written inside HTML is housed in between tags (<>). These tags tell the website what areas to read, and what they should know about the content in between the tags. Things like paragraphs, images, lists, and spacing are all common HTML elements housed within tags.
Because HTML is the most basic of web coding and performs the most basic functions, it’s an ideal place to start when learning about coding languages. There are regular updates to HTML, and being proficient in the coding language may mean doing some research to understand new tags, elements, and updates.
There are many places online that will help you learn HTML, but every IT bachelor’s degree program at WGU will teach you HTML on your path to a degree. When you learn HTML as part of your degree program you have a faculty member dedicated to helping you understand, and who can answer questions whenever they come up.
Python is a more high level programming language, but it has general purpose. Python can develop desktop applications, websites, and web applications. Because it is more high level, common programming tasks are taken care of, allowing you to focus on core functionality. Python has simple syntax rules, making it easier to keep the code readable.
Python is a scripting language, meaning that the written code is not translated to a computer-readable format during runtime. Python is used to process text, display images or numbers, solve equations, and save data.
Here at WGU, we teach Python as part of our Bachelor’s of Science in Data Management and Data Analytics. Students will learn why many programmers prefer Python to many other programming languages, and how easy it is to pick up and utilize as a developer.
Java is a popular computer coding language that allows programmers to write instructions in English, instead of numeric codes. It’s one of the easiest programming languages because humans can easily read and write it.
Java has a set of rules that establish how the coding system works. This is called syntax. Once a program has been written, it is translated into numeric codes so computers can understand it.
Java is used for writing programs and uses open source, or community built projects to work. It can deploy, debug, and monitor other Java applications on the cloud as well. Android apps are often built on Java, and because there is a connection to the cloud, there are lots of options for Java programmers.
WGU offers courses on Java in the software development, data management and data analytics, and computer science bachelor’s degrees. These programs utilize Java coursework to help students be prepared for specific software development tasks they need to be ready for.
While similar to HTML, web programmers can benefit from learning both coding languages and utilizing both. Certain web programs will run slower with PHP so HTML is a better alternative. Similarly, some web programs will largely benefit from using PHP instead of HTML. PHP is a relatively simple coding language to learn because it is similar to other languages, and thus is a great and easy language for programmers to pick up.
If you’re interested in computer coding and programming languages, these five languages are a great place to begin. You’ll quickly learn if you enjoy coding, and these languages are great building block opportunities to get started down the path toward more technological career paths.