Who Should Learn Computer Programming?

Erick McCollum | 21 Jul 2019

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In an increasingly technological world, you may find yourself wondering if it would be beneficial for you to learn some computer programming. In fact even if you have never thought about it, I would guess that you are at least somewhat interested. After all, you have read this far. Personally, I believe that it would be beneficial for anyone to learn the basics of computer programming. Yes, I said anyone. Whether you intend to pursue a career in technology or not, there are positive aspects to learning this somewhat mystical skill that can prove advantageous to all.

Improved cognitive abilities.

I do not have any concrete research or evidence to back up the claim that computer programming increases the cognitive performance of a human. However, we do know that things such as brain teasers, puzzles, and learning new things improve the brain’s ability. I like to think that computer programming is similar to all three of these combined. When someone is writing computer code, they are constantly thinking in new ways, solving puzzles, and learning new things. There is never a moment in a computer programmer’s life where they sit down and think, “wow, there is just nothing more for me to learn.”

Writing computer code requires a unique way of approaching problems. Learning to think in this unique/new way is valuable, and it can help improve the way that one approaches problems in areas outside of technology, as well. To put it another way, learning computer programming helps one to learn new ways to think “outside the box.” Computer programming also helps to keep brain active. As mentioned, it is similar to brain games, and there is always more out there to learn, if one is willing to do so.

Computer programming can also help improve one’s understanding of current and future technology. A better understanding technology, including it’s capabilities and processes, can better enable improved security and confidence in the use of said technology. In a world where technology is increasingly prevalent, and security and privacy are becoming more important each day, it is important that we all gain a better understanding of technology and how to remain safe and in control when using it.

More career paths.

Believe it or not, having an understanding of basic programming principles is not only useful for professional computer programmers or software developers. Obtaining this knowledge can help and/or apply to any job or role. As mentioned in the previous section, basic computer programming skills can help improve one’s thought process when approaching problems, as well as enhance one’s understanding of technology. Therefore, if you are currently working, or aspiring to work, in a role that requires any form of thinking or use of technology, then I believe possessing a basic understanding of computer programming would be helpful.

Computer programming knowledge, even in it’s most basic form, also serves as a pretty impressive resume booster. This skill on a resume is valuable, and it increases the marketability of a candidate, especially when it comes to roles in technology. Therefore, taking the time to learn some basic computer programming can help open up more career opportunities moving forward.

You might save the world one day.

Hey, you never know! I know one may read this and think that all credibility in this article has been lost. However, please take a moment to think back to season 2 of Netflix’s TV series Stranger Things. When our beloved heroes were trying to escape from the monster infested Hawkins Lab, they required someone with computer programming knowledge to restart the Lab’s power supply so that they could open the doors and escape. Luckily for them, Bob Newby rose to the occasion and became a computer programming superhero that saved the world of Stranger Things. Without the computer programming knowledge of Bob Newby, we would not have had the opportunity to watch the amazing season 3 of Netflix’s Stranger Things this summer.

Alright, I’m convinced. So what’s next?

If you have been able to read this far, then something tells me you have at least a small interest in learning some computer programming fundamentals. If so, then I would not recommend trying to become as skilled as Bob Newby right away. He was actually able to program in a language known as BASIC, which is quite complex, especially for a beginner. Instead, I would recommend taking the time to read a book titled, “The Self-Taught Programmer: The Definitive Guide to Programming Professionally” by Cory Althoff. In my personal opinion, this is a great book that is not too long (at the time of writing this, I believe it is only around 299 pages), and it is written with beginners in mind. Therefore, I found it to be very easy/fun to read, and I think it will do a much better job of igniting your interest in programming than I have been able to in this article. It will also help you learn some of the basics of the Python programming language, which is a great language to learn for both beginners and experienced programmers. You can use this embedded link to view the book on Amazon.