Seven Reasons You Should Learn How to Program

2020, Oct 20

Back in 1995, Steve Jobs said “Everybody should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think”.

Unfortunately, in 1995 I was 5 years old and I am not even sure my family knew what a computer was at the time. But even when I got my first computer at the age of 12, I preferred playing video games to doing homework.

What I lacked at the time was someone who could tell me why I should stop playing games and instead learn how to program a computer. I can’t even imagine how much different my life would have been if instead of starting to code at the age of closer to thirty, I started it as a kid.

But not all is lost and if you go to the dev community on Twitter, you’ll see that people start coding at the age of 30, 40, 50, and even 60! So I will try to convince YOU why you should learn how to program a computer.

It’s not going to be Steve Jobs’ computer from 1995 but realistically, even a raspberry pi for $35 with a cheap monitor will work. SORRY, no excuse that computers are too expensive is allowed.

  1. The first reason why you need to learn how to code is to increase your income. Software developers are highly paid professionals. According to the US News article from 2018, the median salary for software developers was over $103,000 a year. Compare it with the average household income in the US of about $63,000 for the same year, according to the US Census Bureau, and you will see that the difference is approximately $40,000. And there are jobs that pay $40,000 a year, so basically you’ll be making someone’s yearly salary on top of what an average American makes. And depending on your financial education, this will mean one of two things. Either you will save this extra cash to retire early or have a more luxurious retirement. Or you will get a bigger house, a more expensive car, more crap you don’t need and your debt to income ratio will actually be higher than it used to be when you weren’t making as much money. So if you are the second type, maybe you shouldn’t learn how to code.
  2. Knowing how to program will allow you to automate certain tasks at your current job, or, if you are lucky, your whole office job, which in turn will give you more time to work on your side hustle, watch youtube or even spend time with your family if you’re still working remotely. Because as long as your work gets done, it shouldn’t really matter how you achieved that result. Unless of course, you did something illegal, like outsourcing it to someone else. While being in prison will give you more time to learn how to program, it will be a lot harder to get a job when you eventually get out. And you may not even get out as the same person, so just don’t do illegal stuff.
  3. Creating new things is fulfilling. Depending on where you work, you may not care that much about the stuff you’re building but the process of building something new that didn’t exist before is pretty cool. And just knowing that you can do it is inspiring as well. Of course, with software, nothing is ever truly finished. It’s not like building a building (pun intended) where once you’re done with it, it’s gonna stay there forever and only some cosmetic work will be required every few years. With developing software, it’s likely that eventually your boss or your customers will ask you to build more features or fix bugs, so the software is never in the truly finished state.
  4. When you have another what you think is a billion-dollar idea, you would be able to at least build an MVP by yourself without spending much money. Yes, it will cost you a lot of hours of your life but it really depends on your priorities and the ability to trust someone else. Because if you hire someone to do it for you and they see the potential, they could just present the idea as theirs. I don’t know how likely it is, of course, and what legal actions you would be allowed to take against such behavior, but if you do it all yourself, you won’t have to worry about these scenarios.
  5. I am gonna repeat what Steve Jobs said but after you learn how to program, you will learn to think differently. Your thoughts and actions may become more algorithmic and you will be able to express your ideas in a more concise and precise way.
  6. Programming is fun. Before I became a software developer, I used to not being able to keep a job for long because most of them were really monotonous and boring. Yes, when developing software you will be sitting at the computer most of the day and typing. The cool part about it is that you will rarely have the same day twice in a row and there’s just too much to learn to ever be bored. And if you get tired of working in one technology, you will be able to pick up another one really quickly. You will also meet smart and interesting people and learn that programmers are not some old folks with beards who sit in the dark closet and try to hack Pentagon but rather they are live people, all with their own personalities and preferences, some of them actually CAN talk (not everyone but most of them) and can be fun. Different software conferences are proof of that.
  7. The last reason why you should learn how to program that I will mention is that you will get paid to use your brain. I used to work in a Toyota manufacturing plant and also an Amazon warehouse. While I didn’t necessarily mind the physical nature of the work, my body did. I injured my shoulder at Toyota and later had to have surgery. As a twenty-something year old, I had thought of my body as being unbreakable. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case and I learned the hard way that using my brain to get paid doesn’t only result in higher income but is also safer for my health, for the most part. Of course, sitting all day in front of the computer comes with its own set of challenges but I’ll leave that topic for another day.

This is all I got for today. In the comments, tell me which one is the most enticing reason for you to learn how to code and if there’s anything that’s stopping you.

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