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The Benefits of Coding in the 21st Century

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Coding is the process of telling a computer to perform specific tasks. You are creating a set of instructions for the computer to follow. It is a form of communication that is a unique skill and requires many years of experience to do well. Why is it important to invest that time as we get deeper into the 21st century?

Where the World is Going

In the 1970s when personal computers were first invented, it wasn’t immediately clear they would be useful for everyday tasks. In fact, Ken Olsen of Digital Equipment Corporation famously said “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Even in the early 1990s most white collar workers weren’t using computers much in the workplace. Fast forward to today — it is impossible to get anything done away from the computer! We face screens the majority of the day, whether at work, on the go with our mobile devices, or at home for entertainment. This trend isn’t going to change any time soon. The world has gone digital, and those who know how to code will be able to reap the benefits.

Coding is the language of the 21st century. Just as English is the language of communication for people around the world, coding is the language of computers. In order to get ahead in the world, it is becoming increasingly important to know how to code.

Software is Eating the World

The famous technologist Marc Andreessen is known for his decree that software is eating the world. What did he mean by that? He meant that an ever-increasing share of the world’s economic activity is happening in the digital realm, and that software is the defining factor in that realm.

It was once completely out of the realm of possibilities that you would purchase clothes online. How would you know if they fit and looked good on you? Now Amazon’s free returns has changed that and the younger generation has completely embraced it. Clothes shopping went digital.

Other areas that don’t appear to happen in the digital realm are in fact backed by technology. Wal-Mart is doing more and more business online, but even their stores are enabled by software driven logistics and distribution centers. Old industries like oil and natural gas drilling use massive datasets to find the right spots and predict production. Farming is full of technology, from modified seeds, weather prediction, soil analysis, fertilizer optimization, and fruit picking robots. Even industries that aren’t digital, more and more of the profits are captured by software!

Computers are Becoming More Powerful

It is sometimes difficult to notice changes in technology year to year. Yet look back 10 to 15 years and it is shocking how technology has changed our lives.

Just 10 years ago most middle class people in the United States did not have a smart phone. Meaning no internet access on the go, no maps, and very limited texting. 10 to 15 years before that, most of them didn’t even have a cell phone!

Computers have become more powerful during this time, enabling these new use cases. Sometimes it is hard to predict the possibilities that will arise, yet it is one hundred percent clear that computers will continue to become more powerful. The future will be full of technology and those who know how to code will be able to reap the benefits.

What are the Benefits of Coding?

If you look up 21st century skills, you’ll see dozens of terms like collaboration, perseverance, and creativity. Coding helps to learn all of those and more. We won’t go into all of them here today, let’s just look at the top three benefits.

Career Options

Since software is eating the world, coding is useful in nearly every job industry. Recruiting plus coding, biology plus coding, humanities plus coding. Your resume is much stronger with that skill and employers are looking for it.

Since coding sits across so many industries, it is also a skill set that makes your career safe through downturns. If the industry you are in becomes less important in the future, your skills will easily transfer to a new area.

Problem Solving

Coding is a way of thinking, a way of solving problems. This is why coding is such an important skill to have in the 21st century. It’s not just about being able to build websites or apps – though that’s certainly part of it. It’s about understanding how the digital world works, and being able to participate in it.

Coding is a way of breaking down a problem into smaller pieces, and then finding a way to solve each piece. An important part of coding is debugging, which means finding and fixing errors in your code. This requires observation troubleshooting skills and flexibility in thinking required to find another solution.


Code is ultimately a form of communication that requires you to be accurate in order to get the desired result. The skill of having accurate and concise communication will apply in any endeavor.

Even if your job function doesn’t involve coding yourself, you will likely have developers on your team. In order to understand what they are doing and understand how difficult some features or products are, having a coding background is vital. This will allow for technical communication and understanding.

Think Long Term

The 21st century has almost 80 years still, so while you should be in a hurry to get started, don’t rush through building a solid foundation of fundamentals. Approach coding education as something that will take sustained effort. If you have kids, consider signing them up for a long-term online kids coding class that will keep them advancing. Make sure you create fun projects along the way so you stay motivated.

When you have mastered coding fundamentals, you’ll be well positioned to adapt as new technologies emerge in the future. Even experts today will need to pick up new programming languages and environments in the future to stay relevant. People who think long term and understand the value of continued education will have the advantage.