There’s no denying that web development is one of today’s most sought-after careers. With a median salary of more than $60,000 and demand expected to grow 27% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, web development is a smart career path for many individuals.
But even if you’re not planning on becoming a full-time programmer, learning how to code can have substantial benefits for your career. In today’s competitive job economy, the smartest workers are those who are able to leverage technology to their advantage — no matter their job title.
Not sure if you want to tackle the challenge? Here are five reasons why cashing in your coding chips will add serious value to your career.
1. Become versatile and indispensable.
Learning a skill such as coding signals to your employer that you are resourceful, tech-savvy, and versatile. They will lean on you for tasks beyond the scope of your current position, and this will lead to opportunities within your career you never knew existed.
What if you work in finance? Manufacturing? Agriculture? Entertainment? Medicine? Code is powering technology in virtually every industry across the globe. Understanding how these technologies work will help you become your team’s most valuable employee. Your supervisor and co-workers can rely on you to help manage the website, build promotional emails, navigate or debug a new software — the possibilities are endless.
Monopolizing a skill at work is a surefire way to become indispensable, and coding will help you do just that.
2. Communicate effectively with technical teammates.
Understanding code is crucial if you frequently collaborate with the technical members of your team. Without a basic understanding of how various technologies work, no engineer will take you seriously, and — let’s face it — you need them.
Marketing, HR, finance — no matter your department, you rely on software to help you do your job. And who gets these programs up and running? Engineers.
Speaking their language will win you respect, make conversations more effective, plus enable you to evaluate technology solutions and understand the resources necessary to complete a certain project. Ultimately, it will allow you to do your job more effectively. Promotion, anyone?
3. Change careers altogether.
Perhaps what started as a way to become more versatile and tech-savvy has lead to a full-blown passion for programming. If that’s the case, you’re in luck.
There have been more than 100,000 job openings in web and mobile development reported in the last 12 months alone, according to Blurring Lines, a report by GA and Burning Glass Technologies (PDF).
Beyond that, it’s challenging work that will keep you engaged. You’ll be solving real challenges that affect the direction and bottom line of every business.
4. Get started with startups.
If you have dreams of entrepreneurship, coding is an invaluable skill to pick up along the way.
Have an idea for a new app? You’ll be able to create an early prototype to demonstrate exactly what you have in mind. With your prototype, you can more effectively raise funds and hire well-qualified developers who will know exactly what you have in mind. You’ll also be able to more accurately estimate how long each stage of development will take, and what resources will be required.
Say you just want to work for a startup, not build one from scratch. You will likely be working in a technical space with engineers, product managers, and web designers. Understanding code will make you a valued member of the team, and give you the opportunity to wear many hats (remember, you’ll be versatile AND indispensable).
5. You’ll improve your logical thinking.
In the words of the indelible Steve Jobs, “Everyone should know how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
In order to communicate with the computer, you need to order your thoughts in a logical, structured way. This way of thinking will sharpen your reasoning and problem-solving skills. You’ll suddenly find that you see problems in a whole new way, and logical solutions will become more easily apparent.
Learning to code is a truly versatile skill that will add value to a number of career paths in any industry. And with all of the learning resources available online and in-person, learning programming skills may not be as difficult as you think.