In How Coding Went Mainstream, Lauren Orsini writes “why it became easier than ever to learn computer science in 2013.” It is true that it is easier to learn to code than ever before. There are great resources available. However, this does not mean that it is easy to learn computer science or become a software developer.
I believe that you can learn everything you learn in school on your own, especially as a software developer. That doesn’t make a degree worthless. It’s a privilege and an opportunity to be able to spend 4 years focused on learning. That said, everyone doesn’t have to be a software engineer or learn computer science.
I do believe that everyone should learn to code. Knowing how to work with technology is an essential skill for the 21st century. Even if you aren’t very good at it, knowing how to code helps people understand what is possible. Also most software has advanced features that require you to do things that use coding skills — setting up mail filters, creating spreadsheet formulas, even styles in Microsoft Word. There’s logic, preconditions, consequences, and a whole lot of things that are easier to understand once you know how to code. If you go past the conceptual understanding and can write scripts, you are way ahead in being able to connect disparate systems or simply use the power of computers so you can do what humans are good at and let the computers do mindless, repetitive tasks.
So, please, go do that hour of code if you haven’t already. Who knows? Maybe you’ll want to become a software developer, but even if you don’t, it’s worth the effort, and might even be fun!