Jan 8, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

The language of the future? Coding. While programming jobs may be declining, the need for individuals who know how to code continues to climb.

According to Fast Company, coders are needed in a wide array of fields. The five biggest include information technology (IT), data analysis, art and design, engineering, and science.

Fast Company also reported that half of all programming jobs are in industries outside of technology—finance, manufacturing, and healthcare all require coding.

Coding languages in the highest demand include SQL, Java, Linux, XML, C++, C#, Javascript, Python, and .NET.

Why the demand for coders? Every interaction you have with a computer, tablet, smartphone, or other device is the result of work that coders produce—and those interactions are on the rise.

Let’s take a closer look at how to learn how to code—and how to market your skills.

1. Try a kids’ app

Since coding is the language of the future, there’s a need for children to learn it—and with that need there are a growing number of apps and programs created for kids—that are perfectly suitable for adults, too.

Most apps, like Scratch, hosted by MIT, focus on getting animated sprites to do things. Child and adult coders alike can train their brains to think about the logical steps that it takes for a sprite to accomplish a task.

One perk of learning on a kids’ app? You’ll have a clear conceptual understanding of what you can do with coding before you get into the nitty-gritty.

2. Start a coding project

No better way to learn than to jump in head first. While the learning curve is steep, by immersing yourself in a project, you’ll feel invested.

Try developing a web or mobile app, or maybe even a browser extension.

Looking for inspiration? Check out Best Firefox Addons, or Best Chrome extensions. Find something that speaks to you and replicate it with your own twist.

3. Women: join a women’s only coding program

Want to launch yourself into a male-dominated profession? Reach out to other women who want to do the same—and set up coding academies designed for women. The coding’s the same—the support and resources are different. Take a look.

4. Get a mentor, or teach someone else

Coding can feel lonely, sitting in front of a screen for hours on end. Find yourself a great coding mentor.

RookieUp offers you an opportunity to connect with a real person while you’re on your coding journey. Not only will you be able to connect with someone, you’ll have the opportunity to give back as a mentor yourself after you learn—and to expand your professional network.

5. Play video games

No, we’re not kidding. But you can’t play just any video game.

The number one game that will teach you to code? Minecraft. With it, you can use basic coding to build automatic miners, send messages, and other tasks. While you won’t build traditional programs or apps, you’ll master coding concepts with Minecraft.

Check out some free, open source coding games, too.

6. Look for code challenges

There aren’t too many better ways to learn a skill by competing against people who are more skilled than you are—it’s how sports camps work, too.

While you’ll need to have some basic coding knowledge and experience to enter, you can start as a relative beginner—and make yourself better by competing against veteran coders.

Interested? Check out Codewars, where you can “achieve mastery through challenges.” Train with the best—and make yourself one of them.

Up for a coding challenge? Go for it. Remember: it’s fun, and there’s a community of people out there who want to learn, just like you.


Learn more about earning a degree in software engineering.  

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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