What makes a great novelist, musician or entrepreneur? Without a doubt, there’s more to success than the ability to read and write, play guitar or think of a business idea. Similarly, becoming a successful programmer takes a little more talent than merely understanding how to write code. Here, Carl Plant explains the importance of creative thinking when learning to code
Over the past few years, we’ve been bombarded with an endless stream of positive media coverage for coding and programming. Whether it’s in school classrooms, workshops, boot camps or online courses, everybody seems to be doing it. In fact, a record number of people are now learning coding languages. Many are learning to make money – it’s no secret that computer programmers can rake in the cash – others hope to gain a competitive edge in today’s busy job market and some, well, they just don’t want to get left behind. But is coding really all it’s cracked up to be?
While it’s true that understanding coding languages is a valuable skill, it’s important not to get dazzled by the headlines. Media coverage is misleading many into thinking that learning to code is all you need to know to succeed in the digital job market. Don’t get me wrong, that a six week boot camp will certainly teach you your Java from your Ruby, but there’s a stark difference between having the ability to code and becoming a successful programmer.
Writing code is just one element in a complex and creative process. What’s important is not learning how to code but how to make coding work for you.
Before throwing yourself in at the deep end and starting to develop a website or mobile app you must first understand your market, your objectives and most importantly, your desired outcome. A new coding project is essentially a blank canvas. Just like a novelist, musician or entrepreneur, your job is to create something out of nothing, a process that relies on creativity, confidence and a willingness to experiment.
Each year, bITjAM takes in between six and eight work experience students from schools, sixth forms and colleges to give them hands-on experience of programming. As opposed to simply learning the basics of coding languages, aspiring coders are instilled with a thirst for knowledge and give increasingly complex problems to solve using coding. Today, coders must become masters of researching, presenting and ultimately, creating. The programmer of the future will do far more than simply write code.
Carl Plant is CEO of digital technology expert bITjAM.