Learn to code? But I heard that’s .. There are lots of myths surrounding coding but most of them are simply incorrect. It doesn’t help that the media always portrays programmers as odd and freaky people like the geeks in War Games or the kids in Hackers. Then on TV there’s the weird gang from Mr. Robot and the strange people from Halt and Catch Fire. But programmers are – for the most parts – nothing like what the media wants us to believe. In this post, we’ll debunk a few of those myths.
But before we dive into the most common myths, let’s have a look at what coding actually is to clarify some misconceptions straight away.
As Makeuseof puts it in their post on What Is Coding and How Does It Work?, “Coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer to behave how you want it to.”
Essentially, someone who codes writes instructions in languages that computers can understand. What they create becomes the programs that run every electronic device we have, including our computers and phones but even cars and refrigerators.
Being able to speak one of these languages – a.k.a. coding – opens up a ton of possibilities for you. Maybe you won’t become the next superhero, but we can guarantee that writing code sometimes feels like having superpowers.
Here are the seven biggest myths about coding that are wrong:
It’s really not. In fact, learning to code is not that hard at all. If you can read and write, you already have the foundation of what you need to know. Most computer languages aren’t too different from natural languages like English. They’re just abbreviated versions of natural languages. They represent a bridge between a natural language (English) that you speak and the language computers understand (like 01010101111110000). Some introductions make coding look more complicated than it is and that might give you the impression that it’s hard to learn. That’s why it’s crucial to pick good materials to start with that are targeted to beginners and not overwhelming.
Not really. Every language has its own use cases. Some coding languages are built for specific tasks and perform better than others at those tasks. But it’s hard to say that one language is generally better than another one. What’s certainly true is that there are languages that are easier to pick up when you are just starting your coding journey, though. If you’re wondering which language might be a good first pick, check out our post on Learn to Code: Where to Start and Which Language to Learn?.
The opposite is true: everything you see – in video games, on websites, and on your mobile phone – was created by a programmer. And writing code involves a lot of creativity. Some tasks require more creativity than others, but if you want to make use of your creative streak, coding is a great way to do so.
Wrong. If you can write a sentence, you can learn how to write code. It’s that simple. At some point you might need to use some math to solve a specific problem, but if you made it through primary school, you should be equipped with the math skills you need to code.
Coding is not just a young person’s game. In fact, the experience and discipline of being a bit older can really help you get the job done well and quickly. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you want to start coding, go for it!
Also not true. If you can type and read, you can learn to code. In fact, learning it early makes it just like a second (or third or fourth) language. But as stated above already, you can take your age out of the equation. What matters is your passion and your determination.
Sure, some programmers are geeks. Others are also accomplished athletes, musicians, like to party, or have vibrant social lives. As with every other profession or hobby, it takes all kinds. Again, don’t believe the portrayals of coders that’s drawn by the media.
There are many more myths; and again, most of them are wrong. They’re based on a misunderstanding of coding or coders. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this: you don’t need to be afraid of starting to learn to code. Coding is not that complicated or math-heavy as you might have thought. But why should you learn to code? That question needs a post of its own. But we got you covered: check out our post on Coding: 5 Reasons You Need to Learn to Code Now to learn more about it.
Hannah from Pittsburgh shares the profound impact learning to code has had on her life.