Coding is the new literacy

Every business now requires technology. Technology means hardware and the software to make it run and all of this requires instructions and that requires coding. Earlier heads of companies would work up their way in a company and would probably be proficient in one or more aspects of its functions. Then there was a trend where anybody could be a Chief Executive and that person did not necessarily have the expertise in that particular industry. So we witnessed an electronics company being led by a journalist and the head of a company making automobile engines take over as the CEO of a software major.

The trend now has changed – with technology becoming the driving force of all businesses, it is essential that business leaders and top executives have to be technically literate as well. Retailing companies are not merely selling stuff; they are using software to manage their inventories, streamline their distribution and logistics and increase the productivity of their staff.

Taxi services companies are using software and technology massively so that passengers are able to avail rides wherever they are and whenever they want. If the executives in charge do not have a deep understanding of technology and what drives it, it would not be possible for businesses to innovate. It is critical for managers to be technically literate if they want to become future leaders.

Coding Literacy

At one point it looked as if coding was strictly for the geeky, back-room boys who were totally immersed in their software world. It is becoming clear now that coding has to be a skill taught mandatorily at management schools as part of their repertoire. It can even be introduced at school and college levels and be made part of the curriculum much like numeracy and language skills.

It is not merely in the world of business that we need to be aware of and use technology. As a user of technological products and use it effectively we need to have some amount of technical skills. While all of us learn how to use a smart phone and download apps how many of us go beyond the basic functionalities and get deeper into it? How many of us have the skills to play around with the software and customise it to our benefit?

Open source technology formats does encourage tinkering around with the basic software by those who are inclined.

Programming is Easy

Over the years programming has become progressively easy. Most people have the feeling that programming requires math skills. Programming is about logical thinking and using that creatively to create a set of instructions. Once you get the hang of that it makes it easier to code. In fact if people are taught the ability to think logically at a young age and create programming instructions it becomes a habit with them. Programming is more to do with your mind than anything else.

There’s no age to learn coding or programming however. Like any other skill such as learning a new language, swimming or cycling it can be learnt at any age. It doesn’t also require years of experience for a person to turn into an expert coder. Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel and Instagram’s Kevin Systrom had only a couple of years of coding experience when they built their companies.

A caveat at this point seems imperative. Learning to code is of curse a good skill but along with that it is necessary that they should be taught computer literacy with a special emphasis on computer security. Creating a program is not of much use if it is not secure from threats.