Our day-to-day lives have been profoundly impacted by digital technology and computers. At home, we rely increasingly on internet-based resources to watch TV, find recipes to cook, order takeout, control the heat in our homes, and even exercise. It’s hard to imagine living somewhere without access to wifi. Our cell phones have become much more than devices we use to call people: perhaps ironically, it is one of the activities we do least on our phones. More frequently, we text, write emails, or use other messaging applications to communicate with others.

Can you even picture a world without social media anymore? Whether you find yourself mostly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, WhatsApp, or a combination of them all on a daily basis, the internet has completely changed our relationships with others. Though many would lament the rise of social media on a lot of problems with society, we cannot deny that these platforms have enabled us to keep in touch better with friends and family.

Even if we have managed to keep computers at bay in our personal lives, technology has completely transformed the world of work. We use computers in retail, offices, education, business, engineering, manufacturing, research, marketing, and of course the tech industry itself. Most workplaces will assign you an email address, or you will at least require one to apply for a job. The pandemic has accelerated a lot of technological changes as people in many fields suddenly were required to attend meetings or classes online. Students as young as kindergarten will be asked to join a virtual learning environment for school!

With so much of our lives happening on the internet, digital skill sets have become highly desirable in our modern workplaces. There is not only a high demand for people who understand how to use a wide range of digital tools but also how to innovate and create them. Coding skills have become some of the most important and marketable assets you can bring to the modern workplace.

Coding is quickly becoming an essential part of our knowledge. In Canada, many provinces have already taken the step of adding coding to their math curriculum, ensuring that kids are equipped with some knowledge of the topic from a very young age. While adults today will find coding a relatively new topic or an acquired skill, the children of the future may actually view it as fundamental as adding or subtracting.

You may be wondering, why is it so important for kids to learn how to code? Why not just wait until they become adults? The truth is, technology is still changing the world rapidly and we need our labour market to adjust. Many of the jobs that the next generation will work have not even been created yet, so it is important that kids are as well equipped as possible to work in an economy that will likely involve an increased use of technology.

While much of the teaching and learning around coding is still relatively new, and will likely take a few more years to become embedded in school learning, there are plenty of great reasons to learn how to code at any age.

Python is one of the most widely used programming languages around the world. Find out how you can become a Python master!

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Children can start learning to code at a young age. Source: Unsplash.
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Why Learn How to Code?

While it's not hard to see why coding is essential to technology, you may be wondering why to even bother learning code in the first place. A lot of our ideas around coding are likely created by the stereotype of a tech worker or computer programmer: someone who is ‘nerdy’, spends endless hours staring at a screen, or perhaps someone who possesses a level of technical know-how that seems out of reach.

Take a quick look into the tech industry and you'll see that the stereotype is far from being accurate. Computer programmers are successful professionals that get to work in some of the most dynamic and exciting workplaces. Companies will go to great lengths to retain their technically skilled employees, as they understand how important it is to keep them on their teams.

Another myth is that coding is arcane and impossible to learn for most people. The truth is, coding can be easy to learn and is much more accessible than you might think. It is also a highly creative pursuit that will empower you to understand the tech tools you use every day. As with anything you learn, you will find challenges as the problems you solve become more complex. But it is nothing that hard work and dedication cannot overcome.

Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons we think you should learn how to code.

Gain a Skill Set that is Valued by Employers

Coding is one of today’s most in demand skills. Companies and governmental organizations need coders to maintain and develop software applications, and there are simply not enough workers to fill many of these roles. As such, you will likely have no problem finding work with a good set of coding skills.

Coding is a skill set that can be transferred across different careers and industries. In other words, if coding is not your biggest passion, you can easily combine it with a profession or area of study that is. For example, if you love design and art, a knowledge of coding will enable you to work in a field like web, gaming or graphic design. Do you love teaching? Coders are needed to create and innovate learning apps, or even to simply teach code to a new generation of learners. You will find similar opportunities in areas like Finance, Business, Manufacturing, Engineering, Politics, the Environment and more.

Be More than a Passive User of Technology

It’s easy to use technology passively, and simply engage with it as a user. However, using technology passively means that we can often be a victim to it, and become easily confused and flustered when we don’t know exactly how it works. When we don’t understand how to troubleshoot technology or what is going on ‘under the hood’, we are not empowered to fix it or may feel completely intimidated by it.

Learning how to code will empower you to use technology in a way you’ve never used it before. You’ll be able to develop apps, optimize your computer for the work you do, create games, or understand what is going on when an app gets ‘glitchy’ or slow. You will not feel as though you are controlled or dominated by technology, which can be surprisingly liberating in this day and and age.

Develop Problem Solving Skills

Any study of coding will naturally enable you to enhance your problem solving skills. Computer programming and app development is largely driven by finding solutions to problems: identifying issues or pain points, and using technology to solve those issues or find a way to mitigate them. If you love putting your mind to work and seeing the world around you change for the better, you may find that coding is the perfect antidote.

Some of the most innovative and successful business models today have been brought about by app development. Consider Uber, which made finding a ride for users easy while also tapping into a vast resource of people with a car and driver’s license looking for part-time employment. The same goes for AirBnB, which transformed the travel industry by making it easy for people to monetize and market their spare rooms, second properties, or knowledge of a certain region or city. Look at YouTube, which makes it easy for video content creators to share and post their content. Entire industries of work have spawned from social media, where marketing and influencing others has become a full time job for many.

python visualizer
Coding is a skill that you can learn remotely or in person. Source: Unsplash.

Coding is Fun

It may be shocking to learn it, but coding is actually fun! Coding can be learned by people of all ages to do cool things, like programming robots or solving interesting problems. Coding will empower you to harness your creativity and scientific mind in ways you may have never dreamed of. This is why coding is incredibly popular with kids - children love creating new games or manipulating toys using code.

You don’t need to build a career on coding - it is entirely possible to learn it for your own personal interests. If your find technology fascinating, learning coding as a hobbyist or amateur can be one of the most interesting pursuits you engage with.

So What is Coding, Anyways?

Coding involves the use of different programming languages, or specific numerical and alphabetical codes to give instructions to machines. When we write code, we are essentially writing a manual of instructions for a computer to follow. With code, we can tell computers how to behave in a certain way, to complete certain tasks, or become more efficient. Code is used to open emails, create visuals, process data, provide content recommendations, locate rideshares, and so much more!

So how does coding actually work? Machines understand binary code, or a series of combinations of 1s and 0s. As you might imagine, knowing machine code is cumbersome, arduous, and perhaps nearly impossible because they are so monotonous. Coding, or programming languages, enable humans to transform their ideas and instructions into binary code, so that computers can carry out the tasks we desire. Programming languages bridge the gap between computers and humans, and are similar in terms of structure and syntax to the English language. Unlike regular human language, coding is much more precise and do not carry any ambiguities or multiple meanings.

Commonly used programming languages include:

  • Java Script
  • Java
  • C
  • C++
  • Python
  • Scala
  • PHP
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Objective-C
  • Swift
  • SQL
  • Perl
  • HTML

If you want to see an example of code, simply hit control and click your touch pad or mouse. Select “view page source” or “inspect” from the menu that pops up - you will see the code that was written to build the website you are looking at.

There are so many options for learning Python, including University and College programs. Explore all the ways you can start coding today.

python classes
Proficiency in Python and other programming languages will take you into the world's most exciting workplaces. Source: Unsplash.

What is Coding Used For?

Coding is used to develop every application, website, or piece of software we use. Coders are needed to create new software applications, innovate old ones, or simply to automate machines so that humans can work more efficiently. Desktops, laptops, tablets, all require code to run. Coding has become so ubiquitous that many coding jobs can be found outside the field of technology.

Here is a list of some of the most common jobs and careers that involve coding.

  • Computer Programmer
  • Coding Specialist
  • Web Developer
  • Front End Developer
  • Back End Developer
  • Software Application Developer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Computer Systems Engineer
  • Database Administrator
  • Mobile Application Developer
  • Full Stack Developer
  • Game Developer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Data Scientist
  • Cyber Security Engineer
  • Information Technology Specialist
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The most established colleges and universities offer tech programs. Source: Unsplash.
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How Soon Can You Start Learning Code?

Coding can be learned at nearly any age and you will find no shortage of places to learn. In fact, coding is a popular activity for kids, with after school or weekend classes available at S.T.E.M. or robotics schools. If you are looking to get your child started in coding at a young age, these classes can be a great option. Your child will have the opportunity to learn basic tech skills while also meeting lots of new friends.

If a class is not convenient, consider getting your child into coding through coding toys or apps. A trip to your local toy store will show you that there are many coding toys available. These toys are generally easy to learn, and contain a robot that a child can ‘code’ instructions for using an online app accessible through a tablet or mobile device. Kids will also enjoy playing the many coding games available online for free. Sites like Code.org have links to great options for kids that are free or low cost.

High school students will also find similar class options on the weekend or after school, and can easily find plenty of online classes. Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are a perfect option for a more mature learner. Through a MOOC, high school students can get early exposure to a university style program and even earn a certificate for a fee.

Python isn’t just for adults and professionals - kids and teens can learn coding too! Get your child started in one of the hottest and exciting creative industries.

What Universities are Best for Learning Code?

While you don’t need a university degree to learn how to code, if your goal is to complete postsecondary education you can certainly take a coding related program.

There are a lot of advantages to completing a university degree. Many people view university as an essential rite of passage: living in residence, taking a first leap of independence from your family home, and studying a topic with intensity and rigor are all great reasons to go to university. Many adults look back on their university years fondly as a time they pursued learning full time, meeting lifelong friends, and living a relatively carefree lifestyle.

Of course, there are plenty of practical reasons to attend university. Degrees are still highly regarded by employers, especially in areas like education, business, finance and government. If you enjoy computer programming and coding but want to apply those technical skills to a different field, you may want to consider doing a double major, pairing computer science with a field like mathematics, business, science, or engineering. Perhaps you simply want to have all the career options you can open to you: a degree will certainly open more doors than being self taught or completing a few online courses.

To study coding in university, you will want to enrol in a program like computer programming or computer science. These programs are available in most major Canadian universities: University of Toronto, McGill, Simon Fraser, UBC, the University of Alberta, McMaster and Waterloo all have degree programs in computer science and programming.

learning coding
A background in coding can lead you to a career where you develop and support the world's most popular apps. Source: Pexels

Other Ways to Learn Code after Secondary School

Adult students that simply want to learn how to code or boost their learning can easily find courses and coding ‘boot camps’ in private schools or schools of continuing studies at nearly any university or college. The advantage of this option is that you will learn in an environment entirely dedicated to coding for the world of work. These courses typically take place over a short span of time and are focused on accelerating your practical knowledge.

What is Python Code?

Python is a programming language that has gotten a lot of attention in recent years and is the fastest growing programming language in the world. Newcomers to coding love Python, thanks to its versatility and easy to use, readable syntax. Python can be sourced without charge for all major platforms, and can be distributed freely. Programmers love Python because it is highly efficient to use: there is no compilation step, as there is with other languages, so the testing cycle is fast.

Python was developed over 30 years ago, so the community of users has had time to grow. As a result, there are plenty of free resources you can turn to for support. It is appropriate for learners of all ages, and is often the programming language through which students are introduced to computer science. Python users enjoy access to hundreds of libraries and frameworks, which can save you lots of time in the initial stages of development.

Does coding sound intimidating to you? Are you curious to learn more? Learn the basics of Python and coding.

Python variables
You can learn coding quickly and easily with a tutor from Superprof. Source: Unsplash.

Why Take Python Classes?

Taking a Python class will ensure that you can utilize one of the most widely used programming languages in the world. It is used for web development, game development, scientific and numeric applications, artificial intelligence and machine learning, software and business development, education, graphic design, and more.

You can find a Python class online, but if you really want to accelerate your learning, why not hire a private Python tutor?

Tutors are one of the most effective and efficient ways you can learn anything. With a tutor, you will receive individualized instruction tailored to your specific needs. For example, if you want to learn Python to complement a project you are doing in school, a tutor can provide you with the specific feedback and help you need to be a success. A tutor can even adapt instruction for kids, small groups, or for independent students that simply want to learn the best programming language out there.

Finding a Python tutor couldn’t be easier thanks to Superprof Canada. Supeprof is a site that connects learners and tutors across Canada. You can conveniently meet your tutor online at a time that works for you, and adjust the intensity and frequency of lessons as required.

To find the best tutor for you, simply enter Python in the search area of the Superprof site and you will find dozens of teachers with different experiences and backgrounds. You can compare tutors to determine who will be the best fit, and even compare pricing. The Superprof site has an easy-to-use messaging system that will enable you to contact who you want without leaving the platform. You can even organize pay through the app, so you can ensure that every transaction is safe.

Find your Python tutor on Supeprof today!

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Colleen

Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.