What is Coding?
Coding is basically the computer language used to develop apps, websites and software. Without it, we’d have none of the major technology we’ve come to rely on such as Facebook, our smartphones, the browser we choose to view our favorite blogs or even the blogs themselves. It all runs on code.
How does coding work?
To put it very simply, the code is what tells your computer what to do. To go a bit deeper, computers don’t understand words. They only understand the concepts of on and off. The capabilities of a computer are guided by on and off switches or transistors. Binary code represents these on and off transistors as the digits 1 and 0. An infinite number of combinations of these codes make your computer work. In order to make binary code manageable, computer programming languages were formed. These languages each serve different purposes, but they all allow programmers to translate important commands into binary code.
Why should we learn coding?
Learning computer programming is a great way to develop your problem-solving skills. But the languages used to write computer code can be tough to learn. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that can help you understand the basics of coding in a visual way.
A popular one is Scratch, an online, visual language. Developed by the Media Lab at MIT, Scratch lets you program your own animations, games, and stories.
Instead of typing out code, you drag colored blocks into a sequence. Each block represents a set of coded instructions. For example, one block might tell a character to turn left. Another might control the color of the background. With the code already written, you can concentrate on building a program, step by step!
Tynker is another online tool that teaches through do-it-yourself projects. Inspired by Scratch, Tynker lets you build games and stories with coding blocks. You can take quizzes, earn badges, and share your projects online. You can even build lessons to teach your newly-learned skills to friends.
The benefits of learning to code are actually quite vast. No longer do we live in a time when only tech professionals are using this useful language. Being able to utilize the commands of code yourself will enable you to have more control of the technology you depend upon.
If you find you have a passion for technology and a talent for navigating the in-depth nature of computer languages, you could go on to become a professional coder and work for a tech company or even start your own business venture or launch a best-selling idea. The job market is opening up for technologically savvy professionals.
Having a basic knowledge of coding can simply help you to have a better understanding of how the technology you use every day works. It’s an empowering feeling.
Computer programming might seem hopelessly complicated, but it's actually a lot like walking--you just have to take it one step at a time! In this BrainPOP movie, Tim and Moby explain how programming is just like giving instructions. Discover how people write commands in computer languages called code, and how code is broken down into step-by-step procedures called algorithms. Then, see how patience, attention to detail, and the ability to foresee different circumstances and outcomes can turn a lines of text into useful programs and activities!