Why do I need to learn code? I didn’t graduate in computer science. Well, candidates who know how to code are in high demand – in 2015 there was 7 million coding-related jobs, and this figure has only increased. This means that by already knowing the ins and outs of code you'll have given yourself a leg-up when applying for graduate jobs.
What is code?
The Economist defines code as “a way of writing instructions for computers that bridges the gap between how humans like to express themselves and how computers actually work.”
Essentially, code functions as the building blocks for a piece of computer software or website. Think of Facebook, Google, Youtube – all these websites are powered by code, which is programmed by engineers and developers.
Why do I need to know it?
Like we’ve just discussed, code powers the Content Management Systems (CMS) that businesses run on. Two common CMS are Wordpress and Umbraco. If you are in a position where you need to add or edit content on a website, such as blog articles, then already knowing how to code will give you a definite advantage.
But what can code help you to do? More low-level code, such as HTML, can do simple things such as centring images, changing font colours or adding hyperlinks into text. But more high-level coding languages - including Java and Python, can function as the backbone for complicated software programmes.
And it will also make your CV more attractive to employers. Even though code is important for everyone to know, not everybody bothers to learn. You’ll definitely stand out from the crowd if you can demonstrate a pre-existing knowledge of coding. You will have shown initiative and willingness to improve your own skills.
How can I learn it?
Codeacademy is your Holy Grail when it comes to learning code. Codeacademy offers courses on languages like Java, Python, C++ and HTML. In fact, when I began working as a PR and Marketing executive, I was sent on an HTML crash course. It could be something you do in your part time, while you’re applying for graduate roles.
At first it was a confusing process, especially when I was trying to figure out just why my code for italicising a certain line wasn’t working, but when I finally understood it, it was all a matter of repetition and precision.
And I’m not exaggerating when I say precision. Coding requires a ridiculous attention to detail, as the tiniest of errors can derail your whole website. For example, if you want to have a certain line of text in bold, you would open your HTML code with a “<strong>” tag and then close it with a “</strong>” tag. It’s important you remember that forward slash, because if you don’t then your whole article could be in bold.
It’s no secret that programmers and software engineers are in high demand. Those who don’t know, recruiters are always on the lookout for the chosen elite who are familiar in code. Training yourself in code can open yourself to new job opportunities. And I don’t just mean behind an office desk.
Wondering why this whole section is in bold? Because I forgot the forward slash in my closing </strong> tag.
And what if you want to start your own business? Well you can cut down on your start-up costs by doing your own coding. Rather than paying for a developer to code your website from scratch or paying for a Wix, Squarespace or Wordpress, you can do it all yourself.
And with 52,000 graduates in 2015 starting their own businesses upon leaving university, there’s no doubt that we’ll begin to see more and more graduates starting to train themselves in code. Perhaps you’ll be one of them.
-By James Linton