How Programming Makes for a Better You
It seems that just about every other week, a major news publication publishes an article or study on why children should learn how to code or why schools should be teaching programming to children. Often those articles tout the need to keep up with the ever-growing world of technological development or the ability to open doors for promising career paths as the reasons for learning to code.
However, the reality is that whether you are a child still in school or an adult on the back side of your business career, coding has something to teach everyone—about life. If you don’t believe that there are many great life habits, traits, and skills to be gained from learning to code, then consider just three of the many ways that coding can make for a better you.
Learn to Solve Problems: Programming can teach you to take a big, giant project and break it down into more digestible components that can be less overwhelming and more logical. Programming often forces you to plan out a project in visual form because the decisions for how your program will work in later stages all flow from the decisions made in the earlier ones.
How does this apply to real life? Think about the daunting tasks of paying off debt, leaving your current job, or moving to a new city. All of those can become better managed with conditional if-then logic and flow charts that allow you to visualize the likely outcomes of various actions. Even if the understanding of cause and effect evades you, programming will still teach you how to be a problem solver and to think critically.
Learn to Recycle: Programmers learn very quickly that it can pay to be resourceful by using certain blocks of code over and over. If a program needs the same function or task completed, then it can be a waste of time and effort to rewrite the code when inserting a program module will work just as well. Cut-and-paste code can save time and headaches, but more importantly it's a reasonable way to start new code. Programming can teach you not just to reuse what you already have, but also that most everything in your life can be used as a foundation for something greater.
Learn to Keep Notes: Remember when you were in school and would come back from summer vacation only to realize you forgot everything you learned the previous year? Well, coding can be the same way. But if you get in the habit of documenting how and why you are doing each step, you will be able to get up to speed quicker when you go back to an old project or start a new one with a similar purpose. Programming will make you better at keeping a calendar, writing notes to yourself, and—more importantly—not having to backtrack too much.
The life lessons learned by one person won’t necessarily be the same ones learned by another. Just as everyone’s lives and challenges are different, so are the programming languages and habits that come along with them. However, it's clear that there is a lot of benefit to learning programming—for both your career and your life.
What helpful life habits has programming taught you? Is there one programming language that comes to mind when you think of the residual knowledge and skills to be gained? Tell us in the comments below.