Computer code as the next universal language

Programming shouldn’t be reserved for geeks and is beneficial for a variety of fields

Programming code as the next lingua franca

Just as the majority of Earth’s inhabitants start to learn English -- the veritable lingua franca we have all adopted -- there is a new set of languages that are becoming even more useful in communicating with modern entities, such as machines, websites and apps, and that is of course, computer or programming code. Today you need not speak many other languages if you manage to master at least a few modern computer languages.

Some argue that computer code is much more like math or science than human language but in the end it is, like any language, a mode of communication between entities, albeit much more structured and rule-based than worldly tongues.

Practical sides of machine code

While spoken and written languages help us communicate better, computer languages help us communicate with machine processors to accomplish tedious, time-consuming tasks which would have otherwise taken us ages to manually fulfill. Scripts can help us analyse huge amounts of data (i.e. big data), scrape websites for contacts, set up cloud networking architecture, repeat long manual processes, verify the completeness of data, forms and procedures, generate and submit reports, generate, fulfill and track orders, manage projects, automate customer service, quality control, shipping and returns, find, view and download product information, specify complex procurement projects, optimise costs, expenses and budgets, track and reward human resource performance, physically locate goods and plan for timing, routes and delivery, take care of invoicing, accounting and taxes, allow us to communicate efficiently, manage stock inventory, warehouses and logistics, market and sell products and services, run remote and online businesses, and endless other items.

In a nutshell, no limits exist to what we can automate by putting together lines of code in the correct programming language.

For each use, its computer language

C++/C#, Java, Javascript, J query, node.js, Angular, Python, Ruby on Rails, Shell, HTML, XML, PHP, … the abbreviations and the modern programming languages and frameworks out there are endless and sometimes difficult to grasp. Which one(s) you need to know to a varying extend depends, of course, on which area of computer code you want to get into. Whether it’s web frontend, backend, software or mobile app development, your skillset would certainly benefit from knowing, or at least having notions of as many as possible. Just like with human languages, the more you ‘’speak’’ (or can write in), the easier it gets as many contemporary coding languages are based on others and share rules, libraries, even syntax.

Software developer brains

Related studies have shown that programmers have enhanced working memory capacity, heightened language processing skills, stronger analytical skills, and enhanced hippocampus capacity, which are all benefits that would certainly help with issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia at an older age. It isn’t unnatural that if you are or want to be a coder, you need to work with your brain and in doing so, you develop it even further towards the fulfillment of its full potential.

Intellectual benefits of knowing how to code

Aside from the obvious monetary benefits, bragging rights in the company of non-digital natives and respect among the initiated, learning how to speak to machines in a specific language has tangible benefits for your brain. It has been proven that learning to code activates your brain’s language centres, which in physiological terms is the same as what happens when you speak a language different than your own. In the end, computer code, just like all other languages, is a network of neural associations that allows us to build and retrieve meaningful connections between words, concepts and a pre-established set of rules/vocabulary.

Whether choosing to be a brogrammer or it choosing you (chicken and egg dilemma), there are certain skills and qualities that programmers either possess from the get-go, or get to learn while on the job, which can be useful in many different fields and would come in handy whatever your career path. Among them, the most notable include: analytic ability, logical thinking, people skills, creativity, attention to detail, the ability to look at the big picture, math and abstract deduction skills.

Future of code

Thanks to developments in AI and machine learning, many manual coding tasks that used to be programmed by humans previously are now being automated too. Frontend developers are rightfully concerned about their future job prospects as software applications like Stack make it very easy to create any website or plugin within minutes and a few mouse clicks. However, more sophisticated functions where a higher degree of variability and complex decision-making apply, are bound to be harder to replace by artificial intelligence, and are thus a better bet in terms of a learning curriculum for wannabe coders.

The internet is ripe with stories of one-time teachers, marketers, writers, athletes and many other traditionally non-digital professions who have resorted to learning code, lest they get left behind in their careers or motivated by the higher-earning prospects this field offers. Whether you will be full-time programmer or an occasional script writer, learning a simple programming language will benefit your brain, career prospects and most notably perhaps, your self- esteem.

Copywriter: Ina Danova
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