Illustration redesigned by Devin Thorpe
Literacy enabled society to drastically increase the sum of knowledge a single person could consume in their lifespan and pass on vast stores of knowledge to future generations. Today, we live in the digital era, where elements of daily life are becoming increasingly automated and programming enables millions of people to process and automate on a scale previously only possible for large universities and factories. Many have dreams of possessing the coding power to manifest their thoughts into physical reality and, thankfully, we now have the means to enable every human on the planet to do precisely that. Programming is today’s superpower; it is today’s literacy.
The intersection between one era and the next is always full of opportunity. We are lucky enough to live in such a time, an inflection point leading into the digital renaissance. The distribution of low-cost computation to every corner of society has given access to tools that, not long ago, only governments and well-funded organizations could afford. Between 1960 and 1973, NASA spent around $28 billion developing rockets and the Apollo guidance computer. At that time, it took the resources of an entire country, teams of the smartest men and women on earth, and many years of dedication to figure out how to send a man to the moon. The Apollo guidance computer that was the critical element to ensuring a successful and safe landing was over a million times slower and less powerful than the average smartphone.
What is even more incredible is the fact that not only has the technology itself been democratized, but the means of learning how to program have as well. With sites like Codecademy, Educative, and Udemy anyone on earth can learn to program from home for free, and for those that want to master it, there are premium learning paths available as well. By learning to code, you are gaining the power to take advantage of computers millions of times more powerful than the machines we used to send humanity to the moon.
Learning to code is not just for those interested in becoming professional computer programmers. There is much more opportunity for non-computer programmers to take the skill of programming and applying it to their unique trade. Astronomers have to analyze millions of pictures of space taken over many years and utilize spectral analysis to identify and classify objects in space. Wading through that sea of data, an astronomer might discover a new planet that they then get to name. Now amateur astronomers working from home can program tools to do all of that work in much less time with a lot less effort. Because of this, we have seen a massive influx of astronomical discoveries being made by amateur astronomers instead of professional astronomers.
The opportunity to revolutionize entire sectors of business, academics, and society exists in virtually every industry there is. Whether you are an artist trying to create new colors or a salesperson trying to identify better means of identifying potential clients, learning to code can give you an edge over those in your field that do not know how to do so. It is now easier than ever to supercharge your ability to perform the duties of your profession by learning to code.
On Codecademy, there is a massive catalog of courses that can take you from knowing absolutely nothing about computers toward having the abilities of a professional web developer or data scientist that can program machine learning algorithms.
A favorite for first-time programmers is called “Python.” With the Python programming language that you can learn in less than 30 days Codecademy, you can create simple programs to automate everyday tasks or create complex artificial intelligence programs that can analyze massive online datasets to create insights no one has ever been able to make before.
Educative, Udemy, and several other online teaching tools provide similar pathing and opportunities for coding and skillset growth. The best part of there being multiple options that are similar but different is that you can find one that fits your budget, time, learning object and style.
In Codecademy’s case, what makes this platform so uniquely capable of teaching so many people around the world is its live project-based approach where you actively code right on the website and get feedback on your code each step of the way. With the premium membership, you can work toward completing a ‘career path’ which will guide you toward gaining all the skills needed for that career. That makes learning to code so much easier than it used to be. Whether you want to organize all the files on your computer automatically or empower yourself to create entire websites in new industries because you dream of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, programming can help you achieve those goals, and online learning will help you take your first steps on that journey.
Featured Header Image Source: INFIMI GEEK