Should I learn to Program?


At last week’s #SocEntLA event, I was speaking to a gentleman in his early thirties who was telling me about how his generation is on a weird cusp when it comes to learning programming languages. He’s too young to dismiss the idea completely, but not young enough that he was exposed to the concept in his youth.

In kindergarten, my Montessori school had a few apple computers and I learned to use Logo, a program that allows you to draw shapes by writing command strings to move a “turtle” (A similar iPhone game, Move The Turtle, is an educational game that will teach kids to think like a programmer). In middle school, I was competing with my friends to create games using a TI-83. I’m definitely lucky.

That being said, I’ve recently met plenty of people (over the age of 25) who started learning to code in the last few years and are now doing it professionally. Others aren’t quite “professionals”, but they know enough to save money for their business.

“Technology” is no longer it’s own industry, but an important part of almost any business, like “accounting”. Taking a few hours of courses to learn programming basic is a money saver for anybody who is interested in starting a business of their own.

You have the option of taking online courses at places like Codeschool, Codeacademy, or Treehouse. For people who are better at learning from people, you have places like Coloft Academy and General Assembly.

Trust me when I tell you that it’s easier to recruit developers as a developer, even if you’re not the best. Check out this non-developers guide to hiring software developers for more tips. Once you know how to code, you can help make the world a better place (see Code for America) without worrying about making money (see How Long Will Programmers Be So Well Paid?).

Coding is not just for nerds anymore (see The Rise of the ‘Brogrammer’). I’ll be teaching kids in Venice how to code at the Coder Dojo sometime in November.


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