Until recently, I thought of computer coding as being pretty much limited to turtleneck-clad, vegan geniuses in Silicon Valley, or enigmatic hackers bent on overthrowing corrupt governments. Obviously, anyone who hasn’t spent the majority of the past five years watching every season of ‘Real Housewives’ knows this is not the case. Businesses in every field rely on computer code, and there are a wide variety of jobs you can explore with a basic knowledge of coding.
Basic coding skills can make you a more competitive candidate for jobs in nearly every industry. A report by the job market analytics firm BurningDoor found that in 2015, seven million job openings required computer coding skills, and they weren’t all programming positions: the five major job categories that called for coding skills were IT workers, data analysts, artists and designers, engineers, and scientists. Plus, jobs that require coding skills generally pay up to $22,000 more per year.
Coding can also give you the tools to strengthen and expand whatever job or hobby you may currently have, whether it’s revamping your blog, or streamlining your workload. According to Astrid Countee, an anthropologist and web developer, “The most exciting part is I can now build my own brand for any of my interests. I never would have felt I could do that on my own before I learned how to code.”
And while incorporating coding into your hobbies may not seem related to your career, it can in fact give you much greater professional flexibility. When you’re more marketable, have a diverse set of skills, and maybe one or two side-hustles, you are free to take more risks, and can bounce back faster if things go wrong. Once Countee learned to code, for example, she started freelancing in addition to her full-time job. “That meant that when I experienced a layoff, I didn’t have to immediately run to the next open position,” she told Forbes. “I had the option of continuing with my freelance work.”