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You gotta learn to code?

by Aleister Duncan

Is being a programmer still the steady career direction it used to be with the rise of low-code technology development services?

The industrial world is dominated by digital goods and services and they are all underpinned by code. There has been a strong push over the past few years to broaden how computer programming is learned to make being a coder an enticing career option.

In the fundamental code that runs most of their operation, companies need engineers, but also workers who have knowledge and basic skills. Job specifications are also used to grasp simple HTML in order to fix a web page or JavaScript for more sophisticated web-based applications.

Technical skills have long been in high demand, but there is a growing interest in this field as millions of UK furloughed and newly redundant staff are trying in an unstable job market to develop their experience and improve their CVs.

Coding should be high on the agenda when it comes to what individuals should want to practise in. Out of the 10 most high-demand skills high LinkedIn work adverts, the top seven are programming languages, according to analysis by professional recruiting and appraisal company SHL.

PL/SQL is the ability rewarded with the highest average salary ($190,000AUD). Jobs that need knowledge of this favorite cloud-based design program Figma also provide an impressive average salary of $77,000.

At first sight, then, all seems rosey when it comes to learning to code and possibly making the leap into life as a coder. But life is rarely that easy and the growth of low-code/no-code for program development was calling into question the need for more specialised programmer skills long before the introduction of the coronavirus pandemic.

The dying art of programming?

Employment of computer programmers is projected to decline 9 percent from 2019 to 2029. (bls.gov)

Both firms need to be flexible in a post-COVID-19 trading environment. Software production must be done at speed, and to support this current urgency, the digital transition roadmaps that many businesses have been pursuing are now being drastically changed. And it’s low-code and no-code tactics that have been leading the way when it comes to fast change and growth.

Philip White, managing director of Audacia, a software development firm based in Leeds and London, explains: “No-code platforms not only enable workers to learn new skills and take charge of their job success through creativity, they also tend to be effective in raising firm efficiency and efficiency while reducing business costs.” As visibility grows, in the greater digital transformation wave, no-code and low-code platforms are becoming a common theme.


So, the question now is, is it really worth learning to code if you are trying to reskill or improve your current talent set?


The reaction, it seems, is yes.


As Carl Austin, CTO at BJSS software and company consultancy, explains: “Low code and no code don’t mean the end of code, both methods have plenty of space.” Of necessity, these structures themselves are underpinned by code. Even if mass adoption is assumed, though targeting the development of commodity software applications, there will always be a great need to develop innovative and exciting software that exists beyond the functionality of these services.

In addition, the area of coding is far wider than before, as Sean Farrington, SVP for EMEA at Pluralsight, notes.

In the 1950s, women comprised between 30 and 50 percent of programmers. (theatlantic.com)

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“Just two decades ago, only a handful of coding languages required developers to be qualified,” Farrington states. There are more than 250 languages today, and they change many times a year. It is difficult to keep up with this and it will be impractical to try to understand any language.


It’s important to choose the right languages to learn with so much options available. “Austin advises, in line with SHL ‘s research:” Python and JavaScript are the simple winners for me here. These are now in the ascendancy, with a wide region of surface where they can be seen. Python is also the de facto choice for computer engineering and data science, which is the most exciting and fast-growing field.


Like any skill, coding must be put into perspective. There is no doubt that it will continue to be in high demand for technological expertise and skills. Furthermore,


James Milligan, global head of technology at recruiting agency Hays, argues that by selecting the qualifications we learn or the preparation we take on to ensure that we are truly committed, we should both be given a preference.

Learning to code provides the software we use on a regular basis with critical understanding and meaning, and helps us ensure that there is a clear coding talent pipeline, says Milligan.

There is no doubt that even a simple understanding of how programming is designed, and an appreciation of how many applications organisations depend on programming every day, would be an asset in an even more demanding job market.


Although zero-code and no-code will help open the door to being a coder, standard programming languages will still shape the fabric underpinning our digital lives, and help companies develop apps at speed.

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