By Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia
12 September is not just the 256th day of the year – it is also International Programmer’s Day, a time for us to celebrate the architects behind our increasingly digital world. In case you’re wondering- the number 256 symbolizes the number of distinct values that can be represented with an eight-bit byte.
Today, we take for granted how simple it is to stay in touch with our loved ones, shop online, or even read this article on our mobile devices. We rarely pause to consider that all these conveniences and benefits of technology are actually only possible through the work of coders and programmers.
Coding is something that everyone should try – here’s why
1. Digital capabilities and economic growth go together: According to a recent study by Accenture, more than a fifth (22%) of global GDP today can be attributed to some form of digital skills, capital, goods or services. Digital tech could power $2 trillion of the global economic output by 2020 clearly demonstrating its role in igniting overall economic growth. For this reason, there are plans to formally introduce computing and computer science education into national curricula in several Asian countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
2. Coding is a skill that is increasingly being demanded by the labor market: Technological advancements like artificial intelligence have ignited much debate, partially due to their potential to replace humans at their jobs. According to World Economic Forum research, over five million jobs will be lost by 2020 as a result of technological change. Less reported, however, is that technology can generate jobs and ignite overall economic growth by creating a spillover effect in other industries. For example, in New Zealand, each new job in the high-tech industry creates five additional jobs in other sectors.The jobs of the future will come with new demands- coding along with STEM education are part of the reskilling and upskilling required to stay relevant.
3. Coding also drives innovation and entrepreneurship: Though it feels like there’s an app for everything these days, the world is always waiting for The Next Big Thing. The app economy is expected to double in size to $101 billion by 2020, so if you have a great idea, knowing how to code will help a great deal in getting your product to market. Who knows, your brainchild may redefine traditional industries, like what Uber and Airbnb have done to transportation and tourism, respectively!Based on latest data from Bloomberg, the world’s top five companies by stock market cap are Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook – a reflection of how the growth baton has been passed to technology from traditional industries such as oil and gas, banks and automotive.
4. Coding complements and reinforces other important fundamental skills, such as problem-solving and teamwork:
Coding benefits more than those who want to pursue it professionally. In the learning process, you can build some important fundamentals, such as how to simplify complex systems. It is an extension to critical and creative thinking, contributes to problem-solving capabilities, develops logic, and accelerates the power and potential of individuals to innovate and tap into the digital economy of the future.If you want to learn more about this, you can now also watch Code Trip, a documentary created by Microsoft in partnership with Roadtrip Nation, that follows three computer science students as they meet with coders, researchers, and robotics engineers, finding inspiration and guidance from people who have defied stereotypes to build meaningful careers in tech. As the road trippers discover the wide range of careers in computer science—and the diverse people working in them—they realize that they don’t have to fit a mould to make it in tech; anyone has the potential to be a driver of innovation and discovery.
So if you are totally inspired to start learning how to code, here are 5 (free) resources to kick-start your journey:
On Programmer’s Day, I would like to wish everyone a happy 256th day of the year. Here’s to creating new possibilities through technology and changing the world!