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Learn to code, and boost your career prospects


Last year, I made a decision to purchase a book, ¨PHP for beginners; ¨ will follow this reading up with ¨Visual Basic for dummies¨ soon. Frustrated by not having so much flexibility on what I see on my computer, be it a website, or any software I used, I decided to teach myself some programming. Not knowing, I was one of the many people all around the world including New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who have decided to overcome their fears and learn some programming; something which has remained for many people a no-go area.

With high unemployment, and no quick fix to the problems bedeviling the world economy, there is one skill which is in high demand; ¨Programming.¨ Zach Sims, co-founder of Codecademy even thinks that coding is going to be the literacy of the 21st century. An article on BBC, describes programming as the ¨new Latin.¨ So how then will taking a step to learn programming, improve career prospects?

More and more jobs require you to be tech savvy 
Currently, most of us are simple consumers of whatever software is out there on the market; however the future marketplace will favor those who not only can use basic computer applications like MS Office but can also customize software to create their own unique computer experience. This is already happening in most research positions. Besides knowing the theory, researchers learn basic programming to do experimental simulations and display results. By learning how to code you get a better understanding of how the digital world works and thus you are more able to use these new opportunities to boost your career prospects. 


IT Professionals are some of the highest paid as compared to any other industry
Finding skilled programmers to fill up positions in large companies is no easy feat.  The cost is very high, taking into account headhunting fees, time spent interviewing etc.  This is because generally there are not so many of them, as compared to people with qualifications in the social sciences such as marketing, psychology, literature etc.  As demand for digital products and services such as mobiles, tablets, and internet banking increases so will the demand for software developers. It is no wonder then, that programmers are some of the most highly paid professionals as compared to any sector. Jason Calacanis -- CEO of Mahalo and founder of the startup showcase LAUNCH conference says, ¨An employee who understands how to code is valued at about $500,000 to $1 million toward the total acquisition price.¨

You get better with more practice
Programing is almost like any artistic skill. The younger you are when you start, the much easier it will be for you to grasp. You do not have to be discouraged by all the complicated terminology, and errors you make at the beginning. This is very common. The good news is there is a chance for you to enter the IT field at any level. A friend of mine taught himself visual basic during the evenings and was able to design a simple and very useful business application for BMW.

Having read this article perhaps you feel inspired to start programming. Like anything you need to start somewhere. Through lots of research that I have done, the easiest programs to learn for beginners in order of popularity are: C, C++, Java, PHP, Perl, Visual Basic and Python. The list is much longer and will depend on what kind of applications you would want to develop. Start somewhere and you will greatly boost your career.

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