Learn To Code - Featured ImageLearning to code will change your life.  I heard this time and time again from my college roommate. Four years later, I found what he said to be true.

Becoming a web developer has opened doors to opportunities I would have never imagined, including:

  • Being able to find work full-time, part-time or as a freelancer
  • Earning an above average wage
  • Having the flexibility to work remotely
  • Running my own website and blog
  • Building my own online businesses

 

In this article, I’ll go through the 6 reasons why you should learn to code:

  1. Huge demand for workers with technical skills
  2. Don’t need a college degree in Computer Science to work as a programmer
  3. Better pay, better benefits, better industry
  4. Build hard skills that you keep for life
  5. The power to create and build your ideas
  6. Understand how computers and software work

Bonus: Download my step-by-step guide on how to learn to code and become a web developer - even if you have no experience and suck at using computers. It contains a complete list of resources and exclusive information not found anywhere else on the blog.


 

TLDR; Watch the Video Instead

 

 

What is “Coding”?

Before we jump into it, let’s clear up any confusions on terminology.Codingweb development, and “app development are interchangeable terms to many. But they are different.

Writing code or programming languages allows humans to tell computers what to do. There are thousands of programming languages that make it possible for us to create software, applications and websites.

Languages Ranked By Number of Programming Jobs

Here are some of the popular programming languages.

Different languages serve different purposes. If you were build a website, you would use a different programming language than if you were building a mobile app. Building websites fall under web development, while building mobile apps fall under app development. You may have also seen the terms “programmer” and “developer”. These are interchangeable and mean the same things.

For more information on programming languages, read Code Conquest’s detailed blog post titled “How Does Coding Work”

 

Why You Should Learn to Code

1. There is a huge demand for workers with technical skills

In just twenty-something years, our society has transformed completely from offline to online. Everything is digital.

But the workforce has not kept up with the pace of change in the job market. There’s a tremendous demand from companies for web developers and programmers. But there are few people with the skill sets necessary to do the job.

This huge gap is visualized below in a graph created by the Hour of Code initiative in 2014:

The Job / Student Gap in Computer Science

In addition, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of web development jobs in the United States will grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, almost four times faster than the average 7% for all occupations.

The number of web dev jobs in the US will grow 27% from 2014 to 2024 Click To Tweet

Companies are struggling to fill technical roles, so it’s a great opportunity for you to learn how to code and take advantage of these openings.

 

2. It’s not rocket science. No Computer Science degree required!

I graduated with a degree in Economics and worked in consulting after I finished school. A year out of school, I decided to make a switch.

I learned to code. Then I worked as a junior frontend developer for startup and then for a large consulting company. Today, I work as a freelancer.

The irony is that I was a computer science dropout at my university. I only lasted two classes in the computer science program before I threw in the towel.

The College Dropout - Kanye West - Album Artwork

The College Dropout – Kanye West – Album Artwork

I did this because I realized that computer science is not the same as web or mobile development

Computer science refers to the study of the principles and use of computersThis includes theoretical knowledge on how computers work and how computing languages developed over time.

There’s a lot less emphasis placed on the practical work that web and app development entails.

It’s entirely possible to go through an entire Computer Science degree program and not know how to build a website!

Mind Blown

If you’re still not convinced, read “Debunking the Myths: You Need a Computer Science Degree to Become a Web Developer” written by Kassia Shishkoff of Anyone Can Learn to Code.

You don't need a computer science degree to work as a web developer. Click To Tweet

 

How I Learned to Code

So how did I learn to code? I took a combination of online courses and one in-person class. Then I worked on free projects for my friends and non-profits to build my portfolio. 

I took online classes on Code School and Team Treehouse. These are two subscription platforms where you pay $25/month for access to online courses. These two websites have rich course libraries and you’ll be able to find whatever you want to learn on there. They also give a free trial month for new students so definitely check them out.

treehouse-logo

Team Treehouse

codeschool-logo

Code School

I then took an in-person class at the recently-acquired Starter League . It was $8,000 for an intensive 10-week software development bootcamp teaching Ruby on Rails. In hindsight, I didn’t have to take this course as I didn’t end up pursuing software development.

In-person instruction is expensive. But if you stick with online classes, the total cost you need to spend learning to code can be as little as $25/month.

It’s mind-boggling to me that such a lucrative and desirable industry has such a low barrier to entry.

In a future post, I’ll share with you the resources I used to learn how to code. 

But for now, it’s onto Reason #3.

 

3. Working in Tech = Higher Pay, Good Benefits, and Best Culture

According to the website Department of Numbers, the median household income for the United States was $53,657 in the year 2014.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of the United States Department of Labor, the median annual pay of computer programmers in 2015 was $79,530, which equates to $38.24 per hour.

The median annual pay of computer programmers in 2015 was $79,530 ($38.24/hr) Click To Tweet

Computer Programmer Salary

The website Payscale had a more conservative number, which still found the median annual wage for computer programmers to be higher at around $59,037.

This means that the median pay for a computer programmer is 10% – 48% higher than the median household income in the United States. 

Two important things to note:

  1. Median household income is the combined incomes of all people sharing a particular household. We are comparing this to an individual computer programmer’s annual salary.
  2. There are many different types of computer programmers. Differentiated by their tasks, functions and programming languages. These leads to a spectrum of salaries. For our purposes, we’ve lumped all computer programmers together to illustrate our point.
The median pay for a computer programmer is 10–48% higher than median household income in the… Click To Tweet

Bottom line: learning how to code and becoming a computer programmer pays well

Obama Money GIF

To share a personal example: when I started out as an entry-level business analyst, I was earning $45,000/year. When I got a job as an entry-level frontend developer, I made $65,000/year.

It was a 44.44% wage increase. And my improved salary was just the one of the many benefits I received.

 

4. You’ll have hard skills that you keep for life

The difference between having hard and soft skills is being valued for your skills versus between being valued for your time

When I was a business analyst, my role included attending meetings, taking notes, sending out emails and testing for defects in our software. My value to the company the amount of time I spent completing menial tasks. 

In contrast, the web developers were valuable because they were the ones building the product. Every week, they had a task list and would estimate how much time each task would take.

Once they did that, they had the freedom to manage their time. Some days they would work from home, and some days they would come into the office.

The Realization

Without these technical skills, I was powerless. I was stuck in a support role and could only rely on others to get things done.

There was no room to grow. I looked at my manager and saw that she was always in meetings and making sure the client was happy. It wasn’t much different from what I was doing.

Get Paid to Be on the Computer

The developers on our team were always building their skill sets. They either work with new technologies with each project or solidify their existing knowledge. I realized that they got paid to learn and to invest in themselves. 

When you're a programmer, you are paid to learn on the job Click To Tweet

Furthermore, you have the power to create. Which brings me to Reason #5.

Bonus: Download my step-by-step guide on how to learn to code and become a web developer - even if you have no experience and suck at using computers. It contains a complete list of resources and exclusive information not found anywhere else on the blog.

 

5. You’ll have the power to create

Depending on what you learn, you could have the ability to build a website, web or mobile application. And you’re not limited to just building these things for other people.

You’ve empowered yourself with the power to create. Have a business idea you always wanted to try out? Now you can build it!

Learning to code and becoming a programmer is not just about bumping up your salary. It's about… Click To Tweet

I have had so many wonderful experiences thanks to the skills I learned from coding. From starting two companies with my friends in college to running this blog… I wouldn’t have had the opportunity or ability to do these things had I not learned these skills.

 

6. You’ll understand how the sausage is made

You should teach yourself how to code if you want to understand technology better. For example, I have no desire to build a permanent career building websites. I want to pursue entrepreneurship and run my own businesses.

Learning how to code has taught me how the sausage is made. I understand what it takes to build software applications for web and mobile, how to communicate with other developers and current technology trends. You cannot put a price on this technical knowledge.

Learning How the Sausage is Made

When I was a consultant, I was shocked by how little C-Level executives understood their company technology. 

How can you lead or be effective in any technology-enabled company today (which is every company, basically), if you don’t understand what your technology is?

Take a snapshot of the wildly successful companies in the Silicon Valley. The vast majority of these companies are spearheaded by the individuals who built the software.

 

Start Learning How to Code

Hopefully, I’ve convinced to give coding the time of the day. Take it from me: learning to code and becoming a web or mobile developer will change your life. 

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave a note in the section below and I’ll get back to you!

 


 

Ready to get started? Start a new career as a web developer for FREE with my all-in-one handbook to learning how to code by clicking the image below:.

Ultimate Guide to Learning to Code for the Web - The Remote Update July 2016