Excelling in code and programming can equip students to handle crises

A career in programming will help the next generation solve everyday problems
Boy student programming at computer in dark classroom

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution ushers in a new chapter in human history – and given the on-going advancements of modern smart systems – jobs could become scarce and potentially obsolete.

According to the World Economic Forum, 85 million jobs will be replaced by automation by the year 2025, spearheaded by the Fourth Industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. There are two crucial approaches that form industry 4.0 in the software development industry: coding and programming. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to operate our phones or locate our favourite restaurants.

It is important, however, to understand the difference between coding and programming. Coding is the process of translating and writing codes from one language to another, forming a link between humans and machinery. Whereas programming is a broader concept that essentially uses computer languages to communicate with machines to perform specific tasks. Both are necessary in the technological world as they complement each other – setting one apart from the competition.

With the employment in computer and information technology expected to grow by 11 per cent between now and 2029 – faster than the average projected growth rate in comparison to other occupations, as predicted by America's Bureau of Labour Statistics projects – it is clear that the 21st century requires students to excel in core competencies of computer coding and programming to stay relevant for their current or future professional career.

Countries such as the UAE have launched initiatives to support computer programmers in creating a favourable environment for their studies. The National Programme for Coders is an example of an initiative recently launched to train coders, with the goal of establishing 1,000 digital companies within the next five years.

Globally, many countries have already launched various coding initiatives to aid coders in progressing their technological creativity. China, for example, has launched bootcamps such as “le wagon” that assists coders in perfecting skills such as web development and data sciences.

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Students who pursue this field can better deal with ambiguity and gain persistence in handling difficult situations

There are advantages that the right knowledge in computer programming can impart:

The aim of computer programming is not only to teach students to think like computer scientists, but rather to aid them in gaining computational techniques to identify new innovations of the future.

In other words, potential coders and programmers will start to seek algorithmic approaches to find solutions to real life problems more effectively. A career in programming thus helps the next generation of coders to solve problems in the same way that a computer can. Furthermore, the complexity of coding is also what makes its education so important, as students who pursue this field can better deal with ambiguity and gain persistence in handling difficult situations.

Today’s technologies have created a significant growth of creative mediums. While computer programming follows a specific brief, that however does not eliminate the creativity quotient it requires within those boundaries. For example, developing a website requires data visualisation where coders are required to engage page visitors and display information in a creative and innovative way. Coders and programmers need to take raw and dry subjects and make them look great and this requires creativity, gathering structured databases and bringing them to life. The best computer programmers are the ones that go beyond the technicality and enhance the creative potentials of the overall project.

The most in-demand skills in 2020 according to LinkedIn were in the Blockchain, AI and Cloud computing industries – all of which require a reasonably high level of analytical reasoning. Traditional job roles such as graphic artists and business analysts are also starting to require coding and programming expertise. The design industry needs the use of digital tools to create attractive websites and design the products we purchase. As for business analysts, common coding tasks are increasingly becoming essential to estimate the revenues and expenses of firms, and to forecast inventory and manage supply chain functions.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 02 MAY 2018. General show floor images of the Future Blockchain Summit held at the Trade Center. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Sarmad Khan. Section: Business.

PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study estimated that AI will lead to a 26 per cent increase in global GDP. A career in coding grants individuals a diverse range of opportunities – specifically job roles that involve newer technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. These technologies are constantly seeping into our lives, and will increasingly become more important than ever.

Ultimately, computer programming provides the learner with a unique language that defines the very existence of technological innovation. As modern technology continues to expand and envelop everything we know, we will have to adapt accordingly. Creating more opportunities for students, and future generations to learn and expand their knowledge into the endless language of code is crucial as they start to embark on their career paths and work towards preparing for and thriving in their future workplace.

Published: August 31st 2021, 9:00 AM
Mohamed Salem

Mohamed Salem

Professor Mohamed Salem is president of University of Wollongong in Dubai