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6 benefits of learning to code for non-programmers

“Learning how to code is beneficial for everyone,” says Zoe, a Curriculum Product Manager here at Codecademy. “You don’t have to want to be a software engineer or a data scientist.” Outside of her work on the Codecademy Curriculum Team, Zoe is an artist that uses programming in the art she creates — and believes there are all sorts of ways programming can be incorporated into interests outside of engineering and web development.

“Maybe you’re a mathematician and you decide to write programs based on what you’re studying. Or maybe you’re a biologist that wants to speed up data analysis. No matter what your interest is, there’s always the opportunity to bring coding into it.”

In this article, we’ll take a look at six ways that learning to code can benefit you, whether or not you have aspirations of coding as a career.

Expanding your problem-solving skills

One of the biggest benefits to learning how to code is that it will help you learn and practice problem-solving skills. Part of learning how to code is learning how to think like a programmer. This means you’ll gain practice in taking a fundamental approach to problem solving — thinking about problems from a high level, breaking them down into smaller pieces, and addressing each piece once at a time.

These skills aren’t only useful when it comes to programming, but they are useful in day to day life as well. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by a task at hand, you can use your problem-solving skills to break things down into small, manageable steps. If you’re trying to explain to someone else how to do a task, you can use what you’ve learned to explain in a way that’s clear and easy to understand.

Check out the following video with Stephanie, a software developer based in Baltimore, for more insight into what it means to “think like a programmer.”

Communicating with engineers

If you’re an entrepreneur or creative that works with engineering teams, learning the basics of coding can go a long way. When you understand what goes into building a product, you can more effectively collaborate, understand timelines, and be a more effective partner.

We recently spoke with Lucious, a student at the University of Texas. Lucious and some classmates have created their own startup — Phly.co — and Lucious has been learning to code with Codecademy. Learning to code has enabled him to more effectively work with the engineers that are building Phly.co, and he tells us, “it has helped me tremendously when it comes to making product decisions.”

Analyzing and visualizing data

When it comes to data, there are a ton of benefits to learning how to effectively analyze and visualize it, even if you’re not a data scientist. Understanding languages like SQL, R, and Python can make it easier to find answers to questions you have involving data.

Betty is a student at the University of Melbourne, planning to major in Biotechnology that’s learning to code with Codecademy. She’s found coding to be beneficial in her work as a research scientist. “In biology, even though most of my day to day revolves around lab work and doing experiments, data analysis is really crucial. There’s so much data that’s coming out of biology experiments now and knowing your way around R and Python has become really crucial to becoming a good biologist and scientist.”

Coding is also beneficial for marketing and sales teams looking to find answers to questions about customer behavior or to understand how specific campaigns are performing. It can be useful for analyzing financial data as well. Really, the possibilities are endless.

If you’re interested in data analysis and visualization, we recommend getting started with our Data Science Career Path or one of our Data Science skill paths. You can learn more about all our Data Science curriculum here.

Customizing your online presence

If you’re a small business owner, blogger, or have your own personal website, learning to code can also help you easily customize it and make it your own. Learning the basics of HTML & CSS will allow you to easily personalize your site without having to hire someone to help.

Automating tasks

Learning to program can also help make your life easier by helping you understand task automation. In line with our first benefit — thinking like a programmer — you’ll be more easily able to understand the steps necessary to automate your day to day and make your life easier. Plus, understanding the fundamentals of coding will help you more easily pick up on how to set up automations with tools like Slack, Zapier, Airtable, and beyond.

Not sure which language to start with? Python is commonly used to automate tasks and spreadsheet tasks can be automated with a bit of JavaScript. However, if you’re looking to do basic automations, understanding the fundamentals of any programming language will come in handy.

Understanding how technology functions

Last but not least, one of the benefits of learning to code is simply understanding how the technology we use everyday functions. We chatted with Zoe as part of the launch of our Pro Student membership. In response to the question of what non-Computer Science majors might get out of learning to code she told us, “Technology is becoming a really important part of our lives. As we’ve seen over the past few months, technology is the way that we can continue staying connected to one another. It’s the way that we can continue learning and it’s the way that we can keep having fun.”

“I think what’s really important is understanding how that technology also works. So even if you don’t want to go into a career in coding, you can understand how technology functions and how the things that you use every day are actually built.” And who knows — you just might fall in love with coding and discover ways to incorporate it into your own interests.

Getting started

Interested in learning to code but not sure where to start? We recommend getting started with our Code Foundations course — an overview of important concepts and applications of code. From there, you can decide the right path for yourself, whether it’s learning basic HTML & CSS, diving into Data Science, diving deeper into Web Development, or learning to code for a specific skill.

Get more practice, more projects, and more guidance.

6 benefits of learning to code for non-programmers
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