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iXperience | Melissa Kroese
Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life when you are fresh out of high school is next to impossible. I thought I had it all figured out when I chose to pursue my studies in science. I was told that science was an in-demand field and that I was good at it, so I double majored in microbiology and biotechnology with the goal of becoming a successful microbiologist. Unfortunately, after several stress-filled years and just five months from graduating, I found myself unsure if this path was something that would make me happy.
I wanted to pursue something that would excite me again, so I decided to research other options. I began by looking at a list of popular, in-demand careers. To my surprise, I hardly ever found vacancies in the microbiology field like I had expected. Instead, I had to scroll past 30 computer programmer positions to find something even remotely different.
At this point, I had no idea what a C++ developer did, but seeing the title everywhere sparked some interest, so I decided to do some research.
While in this whirlwind of uncertainty, I attended a talk structured to help young adults make the right career choices. The speaker, a South African engineer running projects in Australia, kept mentioning how computer programming was the future and how he would recommend it as a career. He talked about his own experience letting an entire team go because a single machine coded by programmers could now do the work of 50 contractors in half the time.
It seems like technology is always one step ahead of us. Returning to university a few weeks later, this concept became all the more real. One of my head lecturers spoke about how things that took us five minutes to run in the lab took her five days since everything needed to be done without the help of computer code and programmed machines. This is when it dawned on me: Coding is the future and I need to learn how to do it!
It has not yet been a year since I graduated college and I am still a rookie coder, but I can confidently say that learning to code was one of the best decisions I’ve made. No matter what industry you plan on entering, the ability to code is a massive hiring advantage and can be applied to virtually anything. The possibilities are endless.
A friend of mine who studied accounting, took on the challenge of learning to code and discovered the benefits it held for his career in finance. He suddenly found himself looking at financial models and data with an entirely new perspective and solving problems more effectively.
Best of all, you don’t need a degree in computer science to learn how to code! There are a plethora of online courses and community forums that will teach you the key skills. Additionally, coding bootcamps or study abroad programs provide an immersive learning experience where you can cover a lot ground in a short space of time.
Coding is not always easy. You will face many challenges and spend countless hours attempting to master your code, but don’t give up. Learning to code is worth it in the end.