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Don Campbell

Why We Should All Learn To Program A Computer

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A friend of mine who is in high school asked me – “what is one piece of advice you could give me that would help me in my career the most?”

Here is what I told her:

Learn to code.

What Most Schools Don't Teach
(I love this video!)

I got interested in computers as a kid when I saw my first computer game. I got so excited about computers that I had to figure out how they worked and how to program them. This led me to an awesome career in the computer industry that I still love today.

Speaking of careers, here’s an interesting statistic: in the next seven years, 1.4 million computer jobs will be created, and only 400,000 people will be qualified to fill them That’s one million high-paying jobs wide open for the taking.

Yet 9 out of 10 schools do not offer computer programming classes. Here we are, still training our kids for industrial age jobs.

Why is learning to code important?

Learning to code is important for three reasons:

Reason #1 – Computers and Software are in almost every job

60% of all jobs are in the tech industry, or at least require the ability to use a computer. You’d be hard pressed to get a job in this day and age that doesn’t require you to work with a computer in some way.

Reason #2 – Computers are still hard to use

Have you ever tried to teach someone who has no experience how to use a computer, or even a new iPad? Using a computer can be extremely frustrating.

This is because computers and software interfaces today are still in their infancy. Seriously. Even that fancy iPad you have still frustrates you at every turn. Getting frustrated with your PC or Mac is a daily occurrence. If you notice, you will find that most of the time when you are using a computer you are “working around” limitations in that computer or the software that runs on it.

So if you know how computers work, and have even done a little bit of programming, then you can easily work around the limitations of today’s computers.

Reason #3 – Having this skill opens the doors to new opportunities

I mentioned in #2 that computers and software today are still in their infancy. They are hard to use, requiring us to work around their limitations.

This means there is a TON of work to do to make computers better. This spells opportunity. Talk about lifetime job security. This industry has it. And if you are not working in the computer industry, your knowledge gives you an “edge” that many others don’t have.
Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think. -Steve Jobs
What do you think? Do you know how to program a computer? Will you teach your kids?

If you want to get started, this site is a fantastic place to start: code.org.

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About the Author:
Don is President and founder of Expand2Web.com, which provides WordPress Websites and Local Search Marketing solutions and training for small business owners and consultants.

Don is a veteran of Silicon Valley Startup Interwoven, where he was created a $5M product line and Microsoft where he was technical evangelist for Office and Office Live. Check out his blog at http://www.expand2web.com/blog.
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