Coding as a vocation is seen as a very recent phenomenon, but its roots lie back in the middle of the 19th century, when, in 1842, Ada Lovelace, the only child of the poet Lord Byron, is widely viewed to have written the first computer program. Lovelace spent two years translating an article by Charles Babbage, a renowned mathematician, who was honing a method for using punch cards to store ‘programs’ on a device he had created called the ‘Analytic Engine’.
When Ada’s notes were examined, they were determined to contain a description of the world’s first computer program, hence forth she had a programming language ‘Ada’ named after her!
In 1906, a man called Herman Hollerith used the punch cards that Lovelace had described in his ‘electric tabulating machine’ which could perform separate tasks without being reconstructed between them – one of the first computers was born, and Hollerith’s company went on to become IBM.
Up until the 1980s, computer programing was perceived as being the preserve of specialized companies or teams of individuals, and from an outsiders perspective, it was an opaque and somewhat impenetrable industry, compounded by the fact that most of the programs produced at the time were for industrial or military applications.
This all changed with the advent of the ‘home computer’, when, for the first time, programming platforms were available to households who could afford the relatively high cost of entry. Of course early PC coders had to be undaunted by the prospect of manually typing in pages and pages of ‘BASIC’ code when one misplaced ‘:’ would cause the program not to run, as well as watching a flickering screen for minutes at a time while programs were loaded via cassette tape.
Nevertheless, the computing generation had arrived and, nourished by a generation brought up in video game arcades starting to realize they could create and enjoy the same sort of experiences at home on their tv screens, it flourished and matured. The profusion of ‘open source’ software in the 2000’s and the (relatively) recent advent of the smart phone supercharged the industry and made it what it is today.
Talking of today, the industry demand for coders is skyrocketing as it is increasingly recognized as a rewarding, future-proof and truly flexible and democratic vocation. Unlike previous generations, we are living in a digitized world and are constantly surrounded by, and engaged with, the products that coders produce.
This has allowed coding to become a much more relatable and desirable career for many of us. Consequently, coders have gone from being yesterday’s low profile and detached specialists to today’s workplace Rockstar!
A snapshot of today’s coders:
419,000 active coders in the U.S. workplace
Average age of 42.5
Average Salary – $87,870 in 2017, which is $35,805 more than the average national salary of $52,065.
Almost a 25% of coders are female – a proportion that is rising exponentially as concerted efforts are made to encourage girls to code.
Education in Coding
To complement this coding ‘goldrush’, an abundance of great coding schools have sprung up that can quickly and efficiently furnish you with the necessary skills needed to join the digital revolution.
Unlike a traditional school vocational degree, Coding School courses typically last for just 12 weeks (but can vary from 6 to 28 weeks) and will suit those who prefer hands-on, project-based learning and feel a sense of accomplishment from mastering a real-world concept. In addition to instructor-based learning, students are encouraged to explore concepts with others and on their own volition.
Since students usually work in teams, much the same way as they would in the working world, participants learn first-hand the importance of effective communication and teamwork, as well as understanding the fundamentals and adopting best practices.
Coding Schools also offer individuals who have not got a background in coding, an affordable, efficient and accessible way to switch tracks and get involved – indeed many of today’s coders started their work lives in unrelated areas but decided to carve out a new direction and join the coding movement!
Source: The Top Coding Schools of 2019