Why Coding is Important for Everyone: a Guest Article by Alex Hoffmann

For the past year, we have been offering coding workshops for total beginners at COOK and CODE in Munich. Coding is totally trending. So why is this the perfect time for you to start learning programming? It will make your friends jealous, your mother proud and … it’s fun! The latter is something that too few people have picked up on. – A guest article by Alexander Hoffmann, founder of COOK and CODE.

Alexander Hoffmann, founder of COOK and CODE (© COOK and CODE)

Coding, or programming, still has a serious image problem. A lot people equate coding with something that is abstract and boring.

“I was always bad at math, so there’s no way I can learn programming.”

Wrong! Programming has surprisingly little to do with binomial formulas and the associative law. For example, I did not have a single math lesson during my training to become an IT specialist. What you actually need is patience and logical reasoning.

Nicole Schwertner, a project manager for training and further education at MedienCampus Bayern, agrees that programming has an image problem:

“Programming could learn a thing or two from architecture. Although drafting and designing buildings requires a great deal of technical knowledge, architecture is still very popular with a large number of women.”

Algorithms and software already dominate major areas of our society. The influence of technology will continue to grow. So where should a person even begin if they want to learn programming?

With more than 500 programming languages out there, it can get really confusing, and finding a starting point can also be difficult. Beginners quickly become overwhelmed by all of the different programming languages and communities. You simply do not know where to begin. A tutorial on its own is also not enough for effective learning. People need real projects as a follow-up after a tutorial to implement what has been learned.

Programming is definitely one of the skills of the future. It can be used to shape the world. Disruption was created by the hands of programmers, making ideas a reality.

Coding also has a lot to do with creativity. Creative problem-solving.

Anyone who is proficient in coding can influence our future. That is how supermodel Karlie Kloss described it in her interview with Glamour. She too wants to introduce women in particular to coding, and regularly provides scholarships for young girls and women with her initiative “Kode with Klossy.”

“I am often put off when things are too nerdy,” commented Magdalena Rogl, Head of Digital Channels at Microsoft Deutschland GmbH. The idea is not that everyone needs to become a programmer, but we should have a basic understanding that allows us to understand the connections.

Journalist Richard Gutjahr also considers programming to be a skill of the future. He compares it to Latin. Students do not learn Latin to be able to order pizza, but rather to improve their feeling for language. It is just as important for people to learn programming in order to understand how the digital world is designed: “It should simply be a part of our general education. End of story.”

“Code is the language of the digital world. Those who do not learn it will be the new illiterates and remain passive consumers,”

remarked WirtschaftsWoche Editor-in-Chief Miriam Meckel. Sounds a bit over the top? Here are a few examples of how coding know-how can help you out in daily life:

Online Marketing

Do you work in online marketing and want to get your website a better search engine rating? Then there is no getting around the HTML basics. Sure, HTML is not, strictly speaking, a programming language, but it is a markup language that defines information for search engines. Poorly maintained (meta)data = poor ranking. This kind of knowledge enables you to make simple changes to your website without needing to hire an agency. Rogue firms can be found everywhere, so it is worth your while to have basic knowledge that improves your ability to recognize inflated offers from service providers and to negotiate.

Editors and Designers

More and more publications are going digital. What innovative presentation formats can be used to help you stand apart from the rest? Scrollytelling? A basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript will help you understand which options are available and improve how you communicate your ideas to developers.

Project managers

IT managers communicate with developers on a daily basis. A basic understanding of coding can be a huge help in more clearly and concisely defining customer needs. Clear definitions then make it easier for developers to do their job, while also freeing up valuable time for developing. Possible technical difficulties that code ninjas might face can then also be more easily identified by managers and avoided in time.

“A person who does not understand software loses contact with the outside world and quickly becomes a professional problem,” commented Frank Thelen. So how does software work? What is an algorithm? Which of the more than 1,000 programming languages do I need for my idea? Frameworks? How does a website or an app work? Are we all about to be replaced by computers? These intriguing questions can be answered with some help from the courses offered by COOK and CODE.

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