The Language of Codes

I heard from somewhere (I’ve since forgotten precisely where) that the ability to code and do programming is going to be just as important as the ability to read and write, and that computer literacy is going to be the new literacy with which to define someone’s intellect and educational level. I find it quite true to some extent nowadays that knowing how to work a computer to do various functions for you is becoming crucial at work. People with no expertise in computer technology are finding it difficult to do even the most basic tasks. Business presentations now take Powerpoint skills for granted. Microsoft Excel has been found to be capable of so much that even I cannot keep track of its many abilities. I discover new capabilities of Microsoft Office everyday, let alone any other software in the world.

For people who are as techno-idiotic as I am, looking at the video games out in the market today is like looking at nature’s miracles. How do those game companies ever do all these things? How is it even conceivable to make games like Skyrim, where the sky literally looks like the limit? How can the computer predict all our responses and make the world so immersive for us?

And that is why coding literacy really is that important, because it is sure to impress if you do it well. Good writing grips and hooks people emotionally, but there’s nothing like great technology to bring a marketing message across. Look at all those television ads. The best ones are the ones that make people go “wow”, where they make the impossible possible, where people can even interact with it. Interactivity is the next stage of technological achievement, and computer programmers are there to make it happen. And once interactivity becomes a common way of life, once businesses are forced to adopt it, everybody has got to know how to do some of it at some point. It becomes more than just knowing how to use a blog or make a video on YouTube. It’s knowing how to make your own video sharing website, your own app (which some people are already doing), your own casual game on Facebook.

I bet you’ve never thought of being in the shoes of your grandparents today, struggling with using technology. Imagine your current level of coding knowledge, then imagine the younger generation churning out new media like you send your emails. Emails? That was so last century. I sure don’t want to feel like my grandparents do, but I think it’s inevitable unless I really actively learn, and that requires a lot of courage and determination on my part, because learning how to code is hard when I still can’t grapple with editing podcasts.

Maybe in the future, a portion of job applications will ask for coding literacy. It’ll be something like language literacy, except they ask you how much of HTML, C++ or JavaScript you know. Maybe it’s time to get cracking on those app makers. On the bright side, if everyone has got to know coding, there’ll also be more programs set up — such as Scratch and Snap by BYOB — that allow even novices to code something simple from scratch.


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