"I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think." ~ Steve Jobs
You might have guessed by now that I'm a huge advocate for coding — and not just for geeks or programmers, either!
Learning a programming language is becoming an invaluable life skill.
Just twenty years ago, could you have imagined coding being taught in some public schools? I mean, it was only in 1982 that the Commodore 64 came out! It seems like it must have been eons ago, but that's well within our lifetime and even our career, for many of us.
I wrote a column last year on 9 awesome places you can learn to code for free and was shocked at the interest in it. Month after month, people come to that column to find new places to learn a programming language. It was so popular that I wrote a sequel this year, with 7 more places you can learn to code for free.
Because that's the thing — coding is a completely and uniquely democratized skill. While you can certainly learn it in the most prestigious universities around the world, you can also learn how to code from your couch, or even on the bus or train with your smartphone.
Wherever and whenever you want, you can learn to code. Once you have a programming language or two under your belt, an entire world of career possibilities opens to you. IT jobs are expected to grow 22% by 2020, but that's just one area in which programming skills are useful.
Software is automating all kinds of jobs in every industry, but the opportunity looming largest on the horizon is in the Internet of Things. One report predicts that by 2020, we'll need 4.5 million developers to power the IoT — currently, there are only 350,000.
Think of learning a programming language as future-proofing your career. You don't have to worry about the machines putting you out of a job if you're the person powering the machines.
With all of this opportunity before you, how can you decide which programming language offers the greatest upside for Future-You?
The folks over at Udacity, a pioneer in open programming and computer sciences e-learning, created an infographic illustrating current and future trends in the industry and how to use them to your advantage.
Which languages offer the greatest flexibility? What should you study if you want to continue living in a particular region? Which language should you learn if you just want to make the best possible salary for your programming skills?
Check out their 4 ways to pick your first (or next) programming language:
Image credit: Udacity