Do you speak Python and Java? 3 reasons you should!

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Day 551. Bob Lefsetz’ article on code struck a chord (struck a code?). Code is everywhere in our lives and most of us are at the mercy of coders. Whatever piece of technology any uses today contains some sort of code. Are you scratching your head at what I am saying? Let’s take three examples. You probably own a refrigerator. It probably has a digital display for temperature checking at least or more advanced features. Behind this display is a set of chips and some of it will have some basic intelligence in the form of a computer program, that’s been coded! Jump in your car. If it has been built-in the last ten years, it contains some form of computing power, and in this computer, there’s code. Embark on a plane. No computer, no modern plane. No code, no computer. And I could go on and on. As a matter of fact, it’s much more cost-effective and quicker to market to use generic hardware and code it with a purpose than to create specialized hardware. This is why the PC, the tablet and the phone are so popular and enable anybody to carry millions of different activities.

And behind all those “things”(ever hear about the Internet of Things, if not, hurry up) is code. Code is a way to give orders to electronic devices, through the use of a specific language: C, Python, Java, just to name a few, there are hundreds, if not thousands of programming languages, but a handful are really used nowadays. I used to “speak” C, Pascal, Basic, Prolog, Java and Assembly almost fluently. Some years ago, I had fun programming my other web properties in Javascript and HTML5, just to check if I was not too rusted, and like riding a bike, you never forget. It squeaks a little at the beginning, then habits kick in again. As a matter of fact, coding has three characteristics:

  1. It’s fun: the fun of building something. If you were into Lego or building a house in a tree when younger, coding feels the same.
  2. It’s challenging: it scratches your brain, it forces you to find new ways, it defies your logic, you need to think hard (beautiful brain plasticity).
  3. It’s rewarding: when you run your executable or open your web page, it feels good (even if sometimes it does not work).

I’m not even mentioning the fact that it can make you good money. Icing on the cake, coding is free. You can get development environment like Visual Studio or Eclipse for free, take online courses for free (you will find thousands of free courses on the web, like the ones available on coursera.org) and start coding for free. I am making sure my kids know how to code a computer. They may never be coding computers in the future (I bet Satya Nadella, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison do not code anymore), but they will have an edge over those who do not understand the power of the intricacies of computers. Ready to learn Ruby or Smalltalk?

 

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