What is Coding Used For and Why Should You Learn It?

What is Coding Used For and Why Should You Learn It? | Disney Code powers much of our world. Whether you’re waking up to your phone’s alarm clock, scrolling through options on your smart TV, or playing a video game, there’s computer code in the background making sure your day goes according to plan.

Coding enables our devices to function—and not just those in our home. The world of business and commerce run on computer code, too. When teaching yourself to code, you will begin to understand the hidden language that makes so much of daily life possible. 

In this short guide, we’ll discuss what coding is used for and some of the reasons why you might want to pick up a coding language (or several!).

How We Encounter Code in Our Daily Lives

First, let’s talk a little bit more in depth about what coding is and what it does.

When we interact with computers, we benefit from the results of both front-end code and back-end code. 

  • Front-end code controls the way users see and interact with the computer, whether it’s the screen of your laptop, the temperature panel on your smart-oven, or the navigation screen in a car. 
  • Back-end code has to do with operations we can’t see, like storage and processing. It’s just as necessary for the smooth functioning and operating of the computer.

Different coding languages create the programs we interact with in day-to-day life and enable them to respond to our input, from clicked buttons to voice commands. After all, these computers can’t understand our direct, English-language input: their basic language is binary code, which is actually all zeros and ones.

Binary is less than intelligible to the human eye, but different coding languages give developers a way to communicate instructions to software and hardware.

  • Coding languages exist along a spectrum, with high-level coding languages closer to human language and low-level languages closer to machine language (binary).
  • High-level coding languages make it easy for humans to update, maintain, and debug software. 
  • Some specialists write in low-level languages to communicate directly with hardware.

In this guide, we’ll mostly focus on high-level coding languages that are for many people synonymous with “coding.” The people who develop apps, websites, and games use high-level languages like:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • C, C#, and C++
  • Processing
  • PHP

Which of these computer coding languages do we actually encounter in our day-to-day lives? Let’s take a look at a few examples.

The Web Runs on Code

Every time you open a website on your computer or tablet, you’re seeing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in action.

  • HTML enables web developers to create pages with text, images, tables, and graphics. One of the simplest languages to learn, it’s the backbone of every page you look at, telling the website to make this and that.
  • CSS and JavaScript help improve the functionality of websites. Using these languages, you can arrange the layout, animate images, and create a page that responds to a user’s actions. Every time you enter your email address in a listserv, you’re interacting with JavaScript.

Code in Animations and Video Games

Although some websites feature a few gifs and videos, the simple tools that let you create static pages don’t translate to animations and video games. When you’re enjoying an animated movie or playing a video game, you’re interacting with code.

Your favorite games might be programmed with:

  • Processing
  • JavaScript
  • C++

Computer Software, Apps, and More

Coding extends well beyond entertainment. Everytime you’re composing a document in Microsoft Word, opening an app on your phone, or streaming music, you have a team of coders to thank.

More complex software engineering programs and applications require more advanced coding languages (and often, several). 

Want to understand the technology behind your favorite music app or photography software? Get to know the basics of writing code and take the first step on your journey.

Why Learn to Code?

Many people dream of learning French so that they can communicate with the locals when they finally visit Paris. A common language opens the doorway to communication.

Likewise, code enables communication—but with computers and programs. While it might not help you order café et pain, computer coding can open up a new world of possibilities. If you’re an artist, student, or problem-solver looking to build your skillset, code begins a conversation. 

As you become more fluent in your chosen language, you can make more advanced requests. Eventually, you can create your own websites, applications, and more—all using your new language.

Some of the best reasons to learn to code are personal growth and development. 

Coding for Fun

When you learn to code, you gain the skills to create something from scratch—right from the comfort of your home. Anyone can learn to code, and many coders compare the process of writing code to creative writing—you immerse yourself in a world of your own making. Where you go with it is completely up to you.

Depending on your goals, you could use coding to:

  • Create your personal website
  • Build your own app
  • Turn your drawings into an animated short

With time and effort, these projects could become a source of income. No matter their fate, they’ll provide you with an on-demand outlet for creativity, experimentation, and fun.

Honing Critical Thinking Skills

From top to bottom, code is driven by logic. In their deepest core, computers communicate only in binary code. As we’ve noted, this is a series of zeros and ones that essentially stand for “no” and “yes.” With this as their base language, they don’t understand ambiguities. 

While high-end languages allow you to create complex instructions, clarity is still key. Any gap in the logic or grammar of your code can result in a program that functions differently than intended—or not at all! (We’ve all seen more than one 404 error while visiting a website.)

As a result, you may also notice an improvement in the following areas while learning to code:

  • Math
  • Logical reasoning
  • Technological knowledge
  • Ability to focus on details

Working through the challenges that arise when coding errors appear can have additional perks.

Careers with Coding

Aside from their personal benefits, coding skills can help improve your resume. Young students learning coding for the first time can lay the groundwork for advanced skills. Likewise, adults seeking career advancements or changes can open up their options with coding.

Why is a coding education such a helpful skill for job seekers?

Coding skills are some of the most desired qualifications in today’s job market. It’s easy to understand why:

  • Just about every company hires a coder or developer at some point. While massive tech corporations need a constant supply of coders to make their new ideas a reality, even mom-and-pop stores need to hire freelancers to build their websites.
  • Technology is still the fastest-growing sector of the economy. The “digital economy” is growing about two and half times the rate of the rest of the economy. This refers to all goods and services sold and purchased online and through apps.
  • In an increasingly competitive tech market, quality is key. To maintain their growth, tech companies must refine their products, making them fun and easy-to-use for their customers.

Are you dreaming of a career that seems miles away from programming? You’d be surprised by how often coding skills come in handy.

  • From code-based animation to interactive robotic sculptures, artists are embracing technology more than ever before. 
  • Even writers and scholars are getting in on the trend with the rise of the “Digital Humanities,” a field of study that investigates classic and contemporary texts and paintings with tools built from code.  
  • Likewise, doctors, scientists, and accountants can all analyze information with the help of computer science.

How to Learn to Code

We all have a friend or acquaintance who speaks several languages. The processing of learning one new language makes it easier to learn a second. You’ll develop skills to memorize vocabulary, learn grammar, and of course, overcome self-consciousness and work through errors. 

At Disney Codeillusion, we recommend starting with easy-to-learn languages so you can grow your skill set and boost your confidence as a beginner coder.

While some coding academies and websites start with advanced, back-end languages, front-end web development languages are approachable for people of all ages, making the process of teaching coding to kids a doable undertaking. 

Disney Codeillusion: It All Starts Here

If you’re interested in adding coding to your repertoire of skills, Disney Codeillusion is a fun, interactive way to practice your skills. You’ll start with accessible languages and begin to build skills that can benefit you in the short-term, or on a longer journey towards a career that involves a more comprehensive coding education. As you become more experienced in one language, you can begin to tackle more complex scenarios where you will distinguish the difference between coding and programming.

Whether you are looking for a program that has computer coding for kids, or you are looking to learn coding for yourself in an interactive way, with Disney Codeillusion, you’ll begin to tackle the following four languages:

  • HTML is an excellent building-block language. New learners can quickly start to learn the basics of websites.

  • CSS builds on the skills from HTML, helping learners expand their knowledge and create more advanced website elements.

  • JavaScript further develops web development prowess. Once you’re proficient in these first three languages, you’ll have a set of web development skills that are attractive to many employers.

  • Processing is a more visual language, popular with artists and creatives. It’s ideal for design, and lends itself to experimentation.

  • The role-playing game (RPG) style adventure invites you on a journey alongside some of your favorite Disney characters. Through web design, game development, and digital media art projects, you’ll begin to develop coding skills, logical thinking skills, and tenacity.

    If you’re looking for a gateway into the world of coding, take advantage of Disney Codeillusion’s free trial today.


    Sources:

    Brookings. Trends in the Information Technology sector. https://www.brookings.edu/research/trends-in-the-information-technology-sector/

    Sifted. Developers still kings and queens of tech jobs through Covid. https://sifted.eu/articles/coding-skills-lockdown/