Coding is fast becoming a must-have skill in the job market, and not just because it opens up applicants to a range of different job opportunities. Learning to code or program helps people develop a host of 21st-century skills including language skills, persistence, teamwork, and problem-solving. For these reasons, many countries are expanding the curriculum in schools to include coding, and from a very young age.
The good news for both children and adults who want to learn to code is, thanks to advancements in technology, learning how to code and even the practice of writing and testing code is easier than it ever has been. This article looks at just four ways technology is making it easier to code so that even people with only the most basic computer skills can learn this vital skill.
The Right Tools for the Job
Thanks to the invention of software tools, coders now have access to several programs that can assist in completing complex or time-consuming tasks that they used to have to do manually. Software development tools such as Linx, Quixy, and Atom allow programmers the ability to easily create, edit, maintain, and debug code. One such tool is the popular and trusted source-code editor Notepad++, a free Windows-specific text and source code editor that is so popular that it has been downloaded over 28 million times since its release in 2003, and not just by Windows users.
While Notepad++ was written for use in Microsoft Windows, programmers working on Apple Mac devices can also have access to the tool with just a bit of a workaround. For a full breakdown of how to get Notepad++ working on a Mac, check out this in-depth guide on notepad++ for Mac by Setapp, a company dedicated to offering its clients a curated selection of Mac and iOS apps for both their personal and business needs. Setapp’s extensive list of How To articles covers a range of different topics relating to coding, so be sure to check them out for more guides and advice.
Another extremely popular collaboration tool and development platform that is used by millions of users is GitHub. This powerful, open-source, free-to-use platform can help programmers build applications and software from the ground-up, manage projects, host their code, and more. GitHub also gives programmers access to the knowledge of an immense community of other programmers and hobbyists who can help review, evaluate, and improve their work. It is also very intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for even beginner programmers to get started on their first project. This brings us to the second way in which technology is making coding easier – advances in communication technology and how access to information is changing the way people learn.
Communities Ensure No Question Is Left Unanswered
Thanks to advances in technology that have made communication and collaboration easier than ever before, programmers looking to learn the ropes have access to massive repositories of information regarding programming topics ranging from the extremely basic to the most sophisticated. Even if a programmer cannot find the information that they need by Googling what the issue is, there are huge communities of fellow programmers that operate forums who can answer any questions that a beginner or even a confused veteran may have.
Learning to Code is Easier than Ever Before
In the past, before the majority of people had access to a computer as well as a reliable internet connection, programmers looking to learn their trade were forced to teach themselves how to code and rely on underground networks of likeminded people to get help when something went wrong. Fast forward further into the digital age and not only do coders have access to a huge repository of knowledge online, but children are being taught how to code from a very young age, which means that there is educational material available for programmers of every level.
Aside from schools and resources such as YouTube, there are also online platforms that offer courses that teach every aspect of coding. Some of the most popular sites that offer users the chance to learn how to code for free include BitDegree, a platform that offers standard and gamified courses for a range of popular programming languages; Coursera, an open online course provider that specializes in offering tutorials, resources, and courses taught by professors of leading universities to users looking to learn how to code; and Code Academy, an interactive platform that is perfect for beginners who are still trying to learn the basics of coding and decide what coding language they want to learn.
AI Technology is Freeing Up Programmers for More Important Tasks
Last but not least, one particular type of technology that has made a huge impact on coding is artificial intelligence, or AI. While AI development came about as a result of coding, its impact on the very technology that made it what it is, is fast coming full circle, with AI now allowing software developers the ability to assign some of the mundane work involved in coding to AI programs. Programmers can use AI to write and review basic code, detect bugs, test software, and even optimize development projects, which is making projects run more efficiently while also freeing up those coders up for more interesting and groundbreaking work.
Some of the most common AI-assisted tools perform in a similar way to spell-checkers, checking code as it is being written for bugs and other issues so that programmers can fix their mistakes as they happen. AI-assisted coding is useful for beginners as it means that the programmer does not need to be skilled in all aspects of coding to complete tasks that previously they may have needed training for.
Coding is a vital tool of the 21st century and, thanks to advances in technology, people can now learn to code in a variety of different ways. As more people learn how to code, they will be able to improve the tools that are designed to make the coding process more efficient, which will in turn make coding even easier in the future. This kind of cyclical pattern has already been seen in the development of AI technology, so it is exciting to think what further advancements in technology will bring to programming.
Ella Woodward, contributing writer