Paul Ford: What Is Code?

My mother-in-law shared this post on Facebook, Bloomberg’s Paul Ford really covers what code is, how it functions and so much more. It’s a really good read, even if a long one, but I highly recommend taking some time out and reading through it, even if you just scan and read bits, it’s worth it. I’ve often told parents I knew to get their kids some kind of programming knowledge because the world is going to operate more and more on code as the years go by, which means more and more need for programmers. Essentially I see programmers in the next 10-20 becoming the factory worker of 20-30 years ago. Totally necessary, skilled, but not uncommon though constantly in demand. The upside is there’s less health risk associated with coding! I think this particular quote makes my point:

I spoke with some friends in their 40s who had spent careers in technology. I was complaining. I said, “I mentor some millennials, and my God. Every job is a contract position. Nothing comes with health care. They carry so much debt.” They looked at me with perplexity. It took a moment, and then one of them said: “Not if they can code.”

The cool think about programming is that there are so many different types of coding you can do that cross over into so many other areas. For example, I’m an artist at heart. I’m visual, I love making things look better. I love seeing a shitty skeleton of a website and bringing to life by coding CSS. Given the visual nature of my job, I also work a lot in Photoshop, which I did anyways with art projects. My mind tends to work as well as it does analytically as it does creatively, so coding the visual aesthetic of a site is something of a perfect hybrid for me. But what about other people? Do you like hardware? Code the functionality or integrating multiple pieces of hardware together. What about databases or managing large amounts of data? SQL admins can tell you all about that kind of code. There’s lots of options out there, and no one language is always going to be best language to learn, and many of them have a lot of crossover with syntax, which makes it easy to pick up another language. It’s like learning French, if you learn French you can probably pick up a decent amount of Spanish and German because they share a lot of similarities, this sort of parity exists in code too.

So, get your kids to learn programming young, and they’ll be set for their future. Even if they want to be something else, having a code background never hurts and can come in handy in so many other ways.