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SkillsTalk

4 reasons coding is a critical skill to have in the digital world

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 23 November 2020


In an increasingly digital era, few skills are more essential than an aptitude for code.

This ability makes up the backbone of tech; without the right code, all machines and digital services would cease to work altogether. It’s the skill keeping the modern workforce on its feet, helping it continue to grow and innovate.  

Coding (also known as “scripting”) is the ability to command a program or device to perform a certain set of tasks or functions. The instructions provided take on the form of a “coding language” – helping implement the scripts and algorithms a device requires to work. 

With our everyday reliance on technology, coders are consistently in high demand, with a current job growth of 23.4% in the next five years (according to Australian SEEK statistics). 

SkillsTalk explore the importance of coding below, its impact on our ever-digitised business landscape, and the value it brings to our general workforce. 

Why is coding a critical skill in the digital world?

1. It’s the “DNA” of the digital world. 

Coding is a fundamental element of all technology – these including the devices, software, and services we take for granted. 

Whether it's browsing through your social media accounts or taking public transport, the machines and operations at play are all powered by code. It acts as a complex form of communication, enabling human-to-machine (or machine-to-machine) interaction. Each text, image, and animated media displayed is built on a series of technical instructions and binary code, scripting their behaviours and instructions. 

Its necessity in the modern age is what places coders at the forefront of innovation, as “architects” or “engineers” of the digital era. According to Linda Liukas, co-founder of the programming workshop, “Rail Girls” – coding is the “literacy of the 21st century”, a vital language for all those seeking to keep their skills relevant and competitive for the modern workforce. 

Coding skills are thus no longer restricted to the world of IT – but are valued by all employers, regardless of industry, in today’s increasingly digital business landscape. Those who can navigate these technologies best can use them to drive better business outcomes, innovative ideas, and further growth.

2. “Big data” is on the rise.

data coding concept

Big data has experienced a massive surge in recent years, with individuals now generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day, and stored data set to grow to 44 zettabytes (ZB) by the end of the year. Furthermore, statistics show that nearly 90% of all data today has been created in the past two years; with new machines and exponential internet growth leading to the immense rise of digital information.

With the world more data-driven than ever before, coding skills are ever-more vital to gather, assess, and manage such information. Today’s businesses rely on various data sets – whether it’s market insights, employee details, competitor information or consumer demands – to drive critical company and product decisions. 

Data scientists are a subset of coders that focus on these specific skills, collecting and analysing data to solve problems and reap new business insights. Programming expertise is vital to the field, as data scientists now rely on coding programs or algorithms to automatically gather and deal with large volumes of unstructured data. 

These coding skills may also be useful for managing data sets in other fields – such as managing financial information as an accountant or analysing social media statistics as a marketing professional. 

3. Digital technologies are only set to expand. 

Automated machines are set to take over Australia, with statistics predicting a displacement of 25-46% of the nation’s current work activities by 2030. This innovative change, however, brings with it plenty of economic growth – setting the stage for new employment opportunities and profitable skills areas. Such technologies are expected to add a boom of $4 trillion to the Australian economy. 

With computers on the rise, there’s never been a more vital time to learn coding. As software, online activity, and mobile applications become irreplaceable essentials of daily life, coding skills will soon be expected of all employees; needed to navigate, solve problems, and improve operations on such platforms. Additionally, the expertise helps “future-proof” your career, ensuring you have the digital skills to take on more complex, technical tasks as automation continues to replace manual labour. 

With the new age reliant on such skills, it’s no surprise our country currently pushes for relevant training opportunities across the younger generation. Code Club Australia, an organisation dedicated to teaching essential programming skills among young children (aged 9-11) is a prime figure in this movement, having improved the digital skills of over 45,000 school children across the country. 

4. It hones valuable soft skills for the workplace.

team working together on laptops

Finally, coding helps improve critical soft skills for the workplace, as well as everyday life. 

The “computational thinking” associated with code can help hone one’s creativity and problem-solving skills. By developing a strong understanding of algorithms and ways of developing code, you’re equipping yourself with the tools to exercise critical thinking, solve complex problems, and approach situations with curiosity. 

At the same time, you’ll also sharpen your skills in communication and collaboration (a must in any business), as coding often requires the input and guidance of additional parties. 

Regular coding can additionally build on your resilience, as programs and algorithms often fail to work perfectly on the first go. Achieving the desired functions in your code takes patience and perseverance, as a well as the ability to learn from previous mistakes. It’s through repeated trial-and-error that coders are able to reach optimum solutions, new techniques, and areas for improvement.

Valuable soft skills are another reason to train children in programming, as the activity helps them refine their critical thinking, creative, and interpersonal abilities. 

Looking to sharpen your coding skills?

As a “skill of the future”, there’s never been a better time to learn coding.

Upskilled currently offers a wide range of IT courses to sharpen your skills in programming, as well as other, specialised tech areas – including networking, cyber security, and cloud computing. With all areas currently in high industry demand, such qualifications are a sure-fire way to stand out in the job market.
 
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