Why Everyone Should Learn Coding Languages

Originally Published on 12/8/17.

Have you ever been so invested in a career path, only to realize it might have been a complete waste of time? I think I’ve done that to myself more than once, but who’s counting? (Me. 6 times.) For example, I thought it would be smart for me to learn coding languages, but it turns out that I wouldn’t need them after all.

Don’t worry though. This story wraps itself up quite nicely.

First, I have a surprise for you: after college, I spent a few years in customer service and didn’t enjoy it. (Wow! Usually, people love bending over backward for meager tips.)

Soon enough I was finished with that pathetic, soul-crushing industry (and the associated coping mechanism of…partying).

Looking for a change, I found myself reading trippy self-help blogs and the most random books, hoping something would spark and inspire me to follow my one, true calling.

[Note: I recognize no divinity or floating being is “calling” me to do anything. The expression means I was searching for a career trajectory that I wouldn’t hate.]

I spent a lot of time on my computer and found myself continuously researching topics I found particularly interesting: information processing, how technology is affecting society in this Digital Age, and self-employment.  

That’s when I discovered freelance programming, which spoke to all 3 of those exact interests! It seemed just too good to be true.

Coding languages were, and are, enticing. I caught on quickly – even though I had no desire to actually use the skill set. The task set before me to learn coding languages was a challenge I truly needed at the time.

I learned Python 2, which is a language for game engines and large data, and then I learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for web development. I found all kinds of courses and resources for my self-education. (See my favorite ones listed below.)

Though everything I was learning fascinated me, I never wanted to build anything – which kind of misses the point of programming, right? I just kept reading and researching and learning…until the reality of an income suggested maybe I should reconsider some things. I only wanted to continue to learn coding languages without actually using them.

It appeared as though I had once again wasted months of time and effort on a skill from which I would earn no profit.

Yet programming spoke to my reverence for the logic, syntax, and grammar of a language. And I was exhausted with always cycling through new decisions about my career. I, like I’m sure everyone does, wanted something to “stick.”

So, I stubbornly held onto the idea of programming, and subsequently found myself at an Oklahoma Women in Technology meet-up. It was a last grasp at my fantasy of life as a software developer, but it turned into something else entirely.

I ran into an acquaintance there who asked me to review her newly constructed website. I sent her my feedback. That acquaintance grew into my first contracted client.

Soon enough, other opportunities arose – I constructed WordPress sites, I ran social media accounts, and I developed marketing blogs. I was rebuilding my narrative again, still seeking that “right” profession. Sometimes I was a Content Editor, and other times I was a Digital Marketing Strategist. I almost lost hope again.

But alas! I had one of the mysterious, coveted “Eureka” moments.

I realized that I kept gravitating toward the one skill I would never regret spending time on: writing. 

I finally and officially committed to this profession when I launched this personal website here on WordPress. If you have been reading all of my blog posts, know that I am so, so grateful for your participation.

How do I know that life as a Freelance Writer will “stick” with me?

Well, things I love to research don’t seem like a waste of time anymore. All I have to do is categorize them under the genre of “Technology Writing.” I can read about artificial intelligence or cognitive automation, yet call that time productive. I can write about anything I want, from Trump to my city, Tulsa.

learn coding languages
My city, Tulsa.

Coding languages, even, are still relevant. (What a surprising relief.) Every student of programming learns core values about organization, communication, and data. Plus, even a simple understanding of them opens up all kinds of connections in the wide field of technology, which I love. As a Freelance Writer on Technology and Information, my 3 career criteria are met.

You should take on the pursuit to learn coding languages if you want to expand your professional or organizational abilities. It would be well worth it.

The Digital/Information Age is saturated with, well, digital information. Accessibility to the Internet is an integral part of society’s progress. I am eager to participate in building a better future.

I’m so glad I “wasted” time studying coding languages, because it sparked an insatiable curiosity I have longed for. Now, I can trust that curiosity to take me wherever I want.

So far it’s led me here, to this article. And that, my friends, is a wrap-up.

Thanks for following along.

My Favorite Resources to Learn Code:

Free Code Camp

Lectures by Harvard University

Book Series: You Don’t Know JavaScript