The world’s fascination towards coding is growing day by day. Other than organizations and companies in the technology department, it’s widely applied in various other sectors like finance, manufacturing, media, fashion, healthcare and many more. It has been dubbed as a ‘modern superpower’ by the likes of Huffington Post and supermodel Karlie Kloss. And even though all of us have heard of coding and its multiple uses, many of us still don’t know what it actually is and why it’s important. The Week sat down with Chandan Gupta Bhagat, senior software engineer at Bidhee Pvt. Ltd., to understand the basics about coding as well as its applications.
First things first, what is coding?
Coding is basically the computer language used to develop apps, websites and software. Simply put, coding is a set of instructions given to the computer to carry out all of its functions. Almost anything operated by electricity uses codes. Programmers or coders write codes and these codes operate computers, phones, microwaves, websites, apps etc. It is the basis on which all your electronics operate. You could say coding is like a solution for everything in the digital world. Codes are the base of every single gadget we use. Web applications, mobile applications, computer applications, websites all operate on codes. Robotics is another very similar area of application of coding. Codes are used in all embedded system like GPS devices, bar code scanner, thumb print scanner and even simulations. If you want to create a website, you can do it yourself if you know how to code. Say you have an idea for the ‘next Facebook’, you could make it happen if you know coding. It makes you very independent in this digital age, if you think about it.
Can anyone learn coding?
The good thing about coding is that you don’t really need to have any prior knowledge on codes or anything technical to join a basic coding class. You just have to know how to work a computer. But once you get started you have to practice, and you have to practice a lot. You can either join an institute that teaches coding, and there are many these days or you could just learn it online. Both are very effective. Various Nepali institutes now provide efficient coding courses of all levels. So you could sign up for one. And the internet is always an excellent alternative. Tutorials point, w3shools, code.org, code academy and stack overflow are some popular websites that provide excellent resources on coding. And coding can be very addictive. Once you learn a little, you will definitely want to learn a lot more.
There are three levels of coding: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The beginner level is object oriented and deals with the basics, syntax and procedural. You learn about the patterns and process in the intermediate level and in the advanced level you delve further into patterns, designs and metaprogramming. In the context of Nepal, if you join a coding class, a beginner’s course takes about two to four months. An intermediate course takes about six months and an advanced level course takes six months or more depending on what you are focusing on. Coding is a very creative skill that hones in on analytical and problem solving skills. The learning process usually incorporates 80% practical classes and a mere 20% theory based learning.
Coding is being called one of the ‘core’ or ‘must have’ skill of the 21st century. What are your thoughts on this?
Coding is a very versatile subject and learning coding has many benefits – whether you are looking for a career in the industry, starting a new hobby or just wanting to understand technology. Like I said earlier, almost all other industries use it in one way or the other. And technology holds a huge leverage in today’s world. So understanding at least a little bit of coding is certainly going to help anyone in any industry. Or even if you want to start something (like a website/blog, online business or even a new app) you can do it from the sanctuary of your own home if you know how to code.
I would call it an imperative skill, especially for the upcoming generation because we are going to even more dependent on technology and computers in the years to come than we are now.