Is coding dying? Many people have debated whether to encourage youth to pursue computer programming as a valuable asset to their education, or whether coding is a dying skill that will be unnecessary in the future. A recent article in Newsweek argued as programs such as the MUSE project teach computers to speak our language, it will no longer be necessary to invest time and energy learning how to speak theirs.

The article expresses the belief that as computer programs continue to evolve, the skill of knowing how to code will be less important in the future. However, coding isn’t dying at all. Want to know why?

 

People who know how to code will never be entirely unnecessary.

As long as there are computers, there will still be people who will need to know how to program them. Programmers are more than people who understand how to speak a coding language – they are problem-solving designers and creative thinkers, which is more than a computer is capable of becoming. Programming is not simply technically translating specifications to programming language, but rather a full logical process of translating an abstract problem into well-designed instructions to solve it. For this reason, while a specific coding language may go out of date, programming itself will never die, because computers will not have the capacity to complete this type of thinking.

Google Translate has not replaced the need for translators because language translation is rarely literal, and in a similar way, speaking a computer’s language is much more than word-for-word or code-for-code translation – it’s subtle, creative, and dynamic.

 

You cannot base present education on future hypotheses.

While in ten or twenty years, it may be true that a certain coding language will not be the primary way to communicate with computers, right now, coding is our sole way of creating, designing, and talking with the technological tools we rely on and use on a daily basis. Learning how to code is one of the most important skills to invest in today. Just as you wouldn’t tell youth not to learn how to drive because driver-less cars may be the cars of the next decade, why tell youth not to learn how to code because it may less important in the future?

 

Computer programming teaches more than hard skills.

Learning how to code teaches students how to think in a different way, which will be valuable even if a certain programming language is irrelevant in the future. Many influential people, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, joined together in a video funded by Code.org to encourage youth to learn how to code under the encouragement that coding teaches more than just how to code, but how to think.

Even Barack Obama has stressed the importance of young Americans learning coding, emphasizing the impact of computer science knowledge on individuals and on a nation.

 

Coding is easier than ever to learn.

With the rise of the open source movement and coding collaboration platforms such as GitHub and StackOverflow, there are now countless resources available for developers to learn from.

While it’s still challenging to utilize this vast amount of code to get the right code examples, a new breed of specialized search engines, such as Codota, are now able to mine practical knowledge from code. By analyzing huge amount of code and aggregating it to find repeating coding patterns, these code-search engines are making it easy to find the best-practice code examples.

 

For all these reasons and many more, coding isn’t a dying art. In fact, it’s more important than ever to equip our youth with computer programming skills and encourage them to study their interests, whether that is coding, literature, art, or history. Education in any sector is valuable, as it teaches students more than what they are learning, but how to learn.