Despite Demographic, Education, or Background, Anyone Can Learn How To Code - Here’s How
Member guest blog written by: Kevin Hohl, Vice President of Sales — Codeboxx
Digital equity: when a person has equal access to choose and learn how to use technological skills to have the capacity to fully participate in society, democracy, and the economy, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, background or other factors. Digital equity is an issue affecting a significant amount students as e-learning continues to become more prevalent among educators. According to the Pew Research Center, before the pandemic, nearly one in five teenagers in the US said they had been unable to complete homework assignments due to a lack of a reliable internet connection.
Implementing coding as a subject in school curriculum could help bridge the homework gap, especially for those disproportionately affected, such as Black and Latinx students. Coding is a multi-faceted skillset that teaches people complex problem-solving thinking, improves creativity, builds confidence and persistence, and equips students with future-ready skills for entering the workforce. Understanding and manipulating code provides a student the opportunity to enhance their ability to choose and use digital technology. Schools and educators that help students learn how to code will empower them with future-ready digital literacy skills to succeed and help bridge the digital divide.
The Impact of Coding
Coding is algorithmic. The entirety of the internet runs on code and the algorithms it creates. “Algorithms are a series of instructions to solve a problem,” says Dr Panos Parpas, a lecturer in the quantitative analysis and decision science ("quads") section of the department of computing at Imperial College London. Coding is responsible for the emails we send, the video games we play, the directions we use to get from point A to point B, and the apps we use. Online dating, online book recommendations, organizing and sorting spreadsheets, financial transactions, and voice commands are all made possible through algorithms, which requires a person skilled in the platforms of coding to create, repair, and manage. However, knowing how to code — and having enough code developers to manage existing algorithms and create new ones — can quickly become challenging.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the US will face a shortage of 1.2 million software engineers by 2026. In 2021, the median annual pay for software developers in the US was $109,020. This has created an extremely high need for companies and services that provide coding education, like CodeBoxx. As a digital equity-focused company, it offers a 16-week coding academy that produces workforce-ready software developers, and its students don’t pay any tuition until after they’ve secured a job. These proprietary programs teach the hard and soft skills relevant to meet market demand and enable students to be operational from day one. When participants enroll in a program like the one CodeBoxx offers, they will learn various technologies, from improving operating efficiencies to using artificial intelligence (AI) to solve complex business problems. If this curriculum was adopted more widely in public schools, the homework gap and digital equity would improve significantly.
Learning How To Code
Like almost anything else, starting with determining why you want to code is a good way to figure out what type of coding to learn how to do. There will be a set of basics to learn, but there is a wide array of different verticals to coding. For instance, if you are only interested in making the most amount of money possible through coding, being skilled in certain development platforms will garner a higher-paying salary than other platforms. There are two best ways of differentiating and understanding developers and programmers, both of which work together. Developers are professionals who design the interfaces an average user navigates and engages with, a concept known as “front-end configuration” that’s responsible for how an interface looks and moves. Programmers deal with the back-end configuration of software or apps, this is where a lot of the actual algorithmic writing happens.
As a beginner, coding isn’t easy, but over time, it will become more intuitive as you understand which platforms are designed for what type of coding. The easiest platform to start out with would be WordPress; it uses platforms that do not use data structures or too many advanced algorithms like HTML or CSS. If you are visually inclined, then starting with HTML and CSS is a good first step since the platforms are easily accessible, adopted worldwide, and not too complex.
If you’re interested in learning how to create algorithms and develop software, then you will want to learn how to become a programmer. Common programming platforms are for people who are more math-oriented thinkers and they use platforms like PhP, Ruby on Rails, or REACT.
Just like learning another language, coding is going to take a while to learn. However, once you learn one, jumping into another will be a lot easier and feel much more natural. Once you understand what kind of work you are interested in, combined with the reason why you want to learn how to code, you’ll be able to narrow down the best options before making your decision. It’s important to take your time to consider which platform to start with as it’s an investment, and stopping in the middle of one to change to another could result in more confusion. Depending on what type of computer you have will come with different advantages and challenges. Doing your research on the different facets and nuances of coding is well worthwhile to ensure you have a good experience.
There are many online courses and programs out there, but if you’re serious about turning this skill into a profession, you will want to consider joining a credible program with seasoned professionals who are in the business of educating. Many code developers offer courses as a side hustle, but they may not be the most equipped to teach. The majority of code developers are not as conscious about digital equity issues, and they can charge a fortune just because they have a lot of experience coding on paper. Join an educational program that’s focused on transforming lives from all walks of life based on potential, not privilege.