May 4, 2018

4 Reasons Why You Should Consider Learning to Code


If you are looking to advance in your career, learning to code could be a surprisingly good way to do it.

A full-time career in coding isn’t the best fit for everyone, but becoming code literate can go a long way toward advancing almost any career. Here are the key reasons why:

1. You’ll Learn New Ways of Problem-Solving

When you learn to code, you learn to solve problems like engineers do. Coding exercises help you develop different patterns for problem-solving, enabling you to look at problems from new angles. This leads to more refined and efficient solutions, even in processes unrelated to coding.

If you already work with developers, there is even more to be gained. With more coding knowledge, you can identify potential roadblocks and better define your requests, which will lead developers to more effective solutions.

2. You’ll Communicate More Effectively With Your Team and Your Clients

Learning to code can give you a better understanding of what is going on behind the scenes of any technical solution or software program. This opens up opportunities for more effective communication.

You’ll have tools to help solve customer problems more quickly. You’ll be able to jump into technical conversations with more confidence. And, if you work with developers, you’ll be able to speak their language, identify common problems, and give them information in a way they can better digest it.

3. It Gives You Marketable, In-Demand Skills

Even if you aren’t interested in a full-time coding role, knowing a little bit about coding can help you stand out among applicants. For example, I previously had to wait for a developer to update reports I needed, but by the end of my coding class I was able to modify the reports myself. It made me a faster, more effective worker — and, therefore, a more desirable candidate.

Learning to code also allows you to consider opportunities that were previously out of your reach, like transitioning to a technical role or even to a non-technical role with a technical company.

4. It Gives You Skills That Will Help You Create Stronger Products and Services

Depending on the course you take, you could leave with the ability to launch new websites, manage technical or digital projects, create online forms, build web applications, and more.

If you aren’t creating things from scratch in your day job, you can contribute more to existing systems. For instance, you may find yourself able to make changes to a program, add products to your online store, or change your website design — without going to developers. Being able to rapidly make changes allows you to quickly adapt to better fit market or customer demands.

If you are looking to advance your career, I’d highly recommend you consider learning to code. A few suggestions for choosing a course:

Think about when you’ve have been successful at acquiring new skills in the past. Look for a program that fits that structure and your budget.

I took an introductory course with First Step Coding. I chose a live online class, which met two evenings per week for four weeks. I knew I needed the accountability and real-time feedback of a live class in order to be successful.

If you don’t need the same kind of accountability, a pre-recorded program may be a better fit. If you know you want to be a developer, consider an immersive bootcamp program.

Program costs vary. Typically, shorter classes are cheaper, as are online classes. Many programs offer discounts to women, due to their historic underrepresentation in the field. If you encourage coworkers to take the course with you, you may be able to get a group discount. You can also look into corporate training options.

I recommend reading reviews on sites like SwitchUp and CourseReport to find possible programs. Before committing to a program, try attending a public event sponsored by the organization or setting up a call with the organization to get a better feel for what the program can offer.

Peggy Mansperger has 10+ years of experience in recruitment, hiring, and staff management.

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Peggy Mansperger has 10+ years of experience in recruitment, hiring, and staff management. Peggy ran issue-based campaigns for years before realizing she could multiply her impact by shifting her focus to recruiting people who could take on running even more campaigns. She continues to find great pleasure in helping people find careers where they can make a difference. Peggy earned her bachelor's degree in English from Hartwick College. She resides in Washington, DC, and is newly code literate, thanks to First Step Coding.