Coding is not only for computer scientists. It is for the researchers, artists, farmers, musicians, citizens and politicians of the future.
The financial publication I worked on until November was started before the internet was a common way of distributing information. This is not so anymore. Now the company is developing new digital platforms, and its future is online. This transformation may seem obvious and intuitive to you, even if the implications for society and your own future employment are unsettling.
Technology increasingly surrounds us. However the most important question is: What are you passionate about? Macalester is the perfect place to combine your passion with a basic understanding of coding. Learning to code has never been easier, and here are five examples of how learning to code today will help you follow your passion and accelerate your career after graduation.
Farmer or health food company
As consumers look to eat healthier food, they are discovering new producers online. However, if they can’t find your website, you are stuck dealing with grocery stores and large buyers who charge for distribution. With a basic understanding of HTML and CSS, you can update your company’s website, as well as research options to launch a mobile version to directly reach your consumers.
Winning a political campaign and advancing social interests requires the focused participation of a large group of volunteers and donors. Using HTML, CSS and Google Analytics, you can quickly build a “landing page” to register volunteers, collect donations and harness energy to make meaningful change, measuring your impact every step of the way.
Scientist, consultant or engineer
As a scientist, your research results in data. Combining these results with existing data sets should produce a more meaningful result. Fluidity with R, a programming language for statistical computing and graphics, allows you to quickly analyze and present your data to cost-effectively advance the mission of your work.
Artist or designer
Artists have a profound role to play in our digital society, creating experiences around their art and influencing how we see the world. You can deliver brilliant work and maximize your impact by understanding how ideas are translated from a drawing into a website, and how new technology, such as 3D video, changes our expectations.
Businesses need to improve every year, but you will encounter many people resistant to change. A grasp of programming languages gives you the tools to be an agent for change. You can do data analysis to identify opportunities for low-cost improvements, building the trust needed to take larger leaps and advance your career.
Regardless of your background, combining your passion with an understanding of computer programming allows you to maximize your impact, helping your friends, fellow students and colleagues change the world. I encourage you to bring the benefit of coding into the domain of every major, rather than leave it at the doors of the computer science department.
Here is a short list of tips to get you started:
Find friendly alumni in your field of interest on MacDirect, introduce yourself, start a discussion and then ask how technology is changing their field.
Sign up for a free MOOC. Harvard and MIT combine to offer an amazing introductory computer science course, CS50. It comes Highly recommended! Find it at www.cs50.harvard.edu.
Sign up for a free online course at www.freecodecamp.com, which teaches you to code and provides opportunities to help nonprofits.
Build momentum by scheduling 30 minutes to code with a friend twice a week.
Are you just starting on your journey or stuck part way through? Email me with questions at the address below.