Not long ago, coding was the exclusive domain of developers. People in other roles didn’t know this “secret language”, and it didn’t really matter. But in our increasingly digital world, knowledge of coding is useful, and even necessary, for a much broader range of functions and professions.
How would you rate your interest, attitude, and ability to appropriately use digital technology and tools? This is your digital literacy. And if it’s lacking, it might be limiting your career opportunities. Take a moment to understand why digital literacy and coding are quickly becoming required skills for many professions – and how you can start to build this important competency.
Seeing Beyond the Cloud
A decade ago in a more “old school” technology model, applications were installed on a single machine or server. That all changed with the introduction of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud storage. Tools like Office 365 and Google Drive empower us to access powerful tools through the web and work on projects from any device.
The dominance of SaaS has fundamentally transformed how millions of people work. For example, this blog article you are reading could have been written in an office or a coffee shop, reviewed by someone thousands of kilometers away, and the published by a third person at another remote location!
This massive technological transition has impacted people’s jobs in so many ways. Suddenly you see the HR manager launching a live discussion forum. The marketing coordinator is designing a new web page. The designer is embedding code in a design. Each of these people are providing more value because of their interest, attitude, and ability to appropriately use digital technology and tools.
Building Your Digital Skill Set with Coding
In almost every role today, digital literacy increases your value to your employer. A solid knowledge of coding is the next logical step to include in your digital literacy toolkit. Having some general knowledge of code will upgrade your skill-set and, potentially, your hireability. There are also many “tech-adjacent” roles where having coding skills will give you a competitive advantage.
Designers. You are already building things like website design and layout. Now, rather than handing this off to web developer, take the next step by also writing the code in HTML and CSS and handing this off the developer instead.
Financial Analyst / Political Analyst. Knowing and understanding how to use Python can help you move above and beyond Excel. Python is a great data science and analysis, but also requires knowledge of code to fully utilize its features.
Marketers. By having a solid understanding of code you can position yourself ahead of other “Generalists Marketers”. Save your company time and money by taking care of things like website updates or formatting a email templates for a campaign.
Teachers. Coding is fast becoming a required part of the curriculum in many classrooms. Stay ahead of the curve (and potentially your students) by learning the basics of code now. There are also numerous digital tools that can be used in developing curriculum, evaluation, and communication with parents.
So where do you start? An important first step is developing the right mindset. It can be as simple as just diving in and figuring out the basics of code - Lighthouse Labs has some great free resources to help you with that. Be willing to experiment and get past the discomfort of the unknown.
Will it be easy? Unlikely. Frustrating? Occasionally. Worthwhile? Most certainly. Once you start down your path to learning how to code you will likely be very glad that you did!