Why Learning To Code Should Be Your 2022 Resolution

Why Learning To Code Should Be Your 2022 Resolution

To a lot of people, a new year means new potential. It feels like a fresh start and the drive to make changes and do well is at an all-time high. A lot of that is because after the madness of the holidays and reflecting on the year behind us, we’re able to take a slight break before going back into our routine - and often, we’d like that routine to change.

Resolutions are nothing new. They have been around for a very long time and even though a lot of people make resolutions they end up breaking, the idea behind the resolution is what we find important.

Striving to grow and change and be a better version of ourselves is something we should all be doing throughout our entire lives. It keeps everyone constantly moving forward and adapting, and I think that’s important. It also gives us a chance to reflect on our lives and see what we’re happy with, and what we want to change.

Last January, I found myself doing exactly that - wanting a change. I had been in the pet & retail industry for 11 years and was itching to do something else. I had previously earned a degree in Creative Writing but hadn’t found a job that I felt matched who I was. I wanted a job that challenged me and also allowed me to not dread coming into work every day.

I’d always loved working with computers, and after rebuilding my husband’s gaming computer for Christmas last year, I started thinking more and more about finding a profession within the tech industry. I just didn’t yet know exactly what I wanted to do, so I started weighing my options and talking to people who were also in the industry. This led me to have a conversation with a friend who has previously gone through a local coding bootcamp. She felt it was the best choice she had ever made for herself. I begin wondering if it was perhaps also the right choice for me.

Fast forward to March and I was attending a coding bootcamp. The bootcamp ended up becoming entirely remote due to the pandemic, where we relied on CodeCast within our school to learn, something I felt helped out the remote learning process immensely. I graduated from the bootcamp and several months later, applied for an internship working for CodeCast. Now, over a year later, I still work here full-time as a developer and content creator, and for the past year, haven’t spent my time dreading going into work. Now you might be thinking “that’s cool and all, but how does this apply to me learning to code?”. 

What we need to figure out is what path is right for you. While there’s a ton of value in learning even a little bit of programming knowledge, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right career choice for you. Being a developer isn’t for everyone (though I suspect if you clicked on this article, you have your suspicions it could be right for you). However, even if you don't think it's your path, learning basic coding skills is becoming increasingly important for roles outside of pure development. It also gives you the opportunity to start your career as a developer, and transition into different roles based on what feels right for you.

I’ve previously written about why coding is crucial to the future of business, and a lot of the points I could make in this article would overlap those, so I would encourage you to read that article as well! However, there are a few key points I do want to touch on about the value of learning to code in the coming year.

An Invaluable Skill - For Free?

While many people choose to go my route and take a coding bootcamp, or more intensively earn a computer science degree, a lot of people are now getting employed in developer roles after teaching themselves to learn using free online resources. Now, before everyone starts debating the value of the different paths in the comments, I want to point out that each path is different and serves a vitally different purpose. The path of a person with a CS degree versus a self-taught dev might look similar on the surface but are often entirely different in application. How you choose to learn and gain skills is entirely based on your desired profession, role, and proficiency in specific areas. 

However, for those who are interested in learning at their own pace online, it’s important to note that there is a lot of success in the industry from this. As devs, our roles are more unique as the majority of us are always learning on the go. We have the foundation to find the solution, but a significant part of our job is to problem solve and learn. This means that starting a career using free online resources is entirely possible. Sites like freecodecamp, Codecademy, Scrimba, and CodeCast are fantastic resources to get started!

Places like CodeCast are two-fold because you can learn and create, so you can brand yourself and create content while your learning to begin building out your portfolio and increase your chances of landing your desired role!

What do I learn?

That entirely depends on what career path you choose! If you want to do web development you might want to focus on things like JavaScript and a backend language like Python whereas if you want to do things like app development, you might want to learn JavaScript than focus on things like React Native!

There are a ton of fields within the tech industry that require entirely different stacks, languages, and specific sets of knowledge, so do some research to figure out what you might be the most interested in. The good news is that a lot of the time, these languages overlap between fields, so you can alter your course or change your mind without having to start entirely from scratch!

The Industry Itself

I want to touch a little bit on the industry and the leading desire that causes a lot of people to pursue a job within it. There's a lot of conversation surrounding compensation and freedom in the tech industry. Being a developer is often seen as a very lucrative career choice, and often that is very true. The potential to earn money absolutely is there. It also is often a very flexible career choice in that companies tend to be more lenient with schedules, vacation, and where you work as opposed to other industries.

All that being said, I’ve known people who have entered this industry for that reason alone, and I would discourage you from only changing career paths for the dollars signs. Money is a great motivating factor and it is important, but the industry itself is competitive, a lot of work, and requires a certain type of person to be successful as you have to get really comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Learning to code was extremely frustrating at times. JavaScript in particular had a way of really messing with my self-confidence and making me question everything. However, despite the downs, there were (and are) a lot of things I absolutely love about this industry. Firstly, it’s a lot more creative of a role than one would expect, even if you’re hiding away in the backend. You can give 10 devs the same problem and they would likely all solve it differently. Languages have syntactical rules, but the implementation requires creativity, problem-solving, and ingenuity, and that’s half the fun!

All in all, there are a lot of pros and cons, as there are with any industry, but if you’re interested in learning to code, just start! You’ll decide how you feel along the way, it’s a valuable skill regardless of which path you take, and you get to be a part of a fantastic online community!

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