6 views on the significance of National Coding Week

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The digital economy seems to be in a constant state of growth and change these days. That being said, a significant skills gap still plagues the industry.

With this in mind, it is more pertinent than ever that people come together to learn and grow from each other’s experiences in this particular field. One way to do that is to celebrate National Coding Week.

Dating back to September 2014, this holiday was initially created in an effort to alleviate the rising skills shortage in the UK. Five years on, the observance has gone global, and it allows for the sharing of experiences amongst fellow coders, welcoming events and training sessions to encourage knowledge about coding, even down to the basics.

With this goal in mind, five industry experts share their views below on the significance of National Coding Week, and the critical role of software professionals in general.

Coding skills are the cornerstone of a data-driven age

“We are entering a new age driven by big data, machine learning and edge computing, so what does this mean for today’s developers? During National Coding Week, it’s important to recognize the value of coding skills in today’s data-driven world. Within the job market, the ability to code is powerful, and in the coming days, it will continue to push our digital world to new levels of innovation.

“For instance, developers today are turning to technology that can self-heal, designed to eliminate some of the familiar complexities of identifying, mitigating and correcting infrastructure problems is now being built into the design of forward-thinking companies.

“The addition of machine intelligence is also growing, enabling developers to manage their workloads on a daily basis, allowing them to re-focus on tasks, which are of much greater benefit to the individuals and business overall. With the world currently generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, for those seeking a career in technology, the need for developers will only increase, and the technologies that better equip them with the tools to succeed in their careers will continue to be embraced as well.”

- Alan Conboy, office of the CTO, Scale Computing

More women in coding will greatly help ease the skills gap

"This National Coding Week, businesses need to highlight the importance of women in technology by educating young women. More companies are moving to support and educate females at a younger age about their prospects within the technology industry. By supporting organizations and non-profits like Girls Who Code, you equip young women with the necessary tools and opportunities to succeed in the competitive tech industry.

“As technology continues to infiltrate projects and daily assignments as early as elementary school, young women learn how to deploy the skills necessary to build confidence and authority within the space. Remember this when hiring recent grads who have most likely grown up around technology. To educate women already in the workforce, invest in seminars, training, and conferences that will build upon existing knowledge while also forging connections and empower them to break glass ceilings."

- Jen Locklear, chief talent officer, ConnectWise

Creativity is as important as technical prowess for today’s coders

“Events such as National Coding Week are a great opportunity to bring tech to more people, regardless of their age, and illustrate that you’re never too old or too young to learn to code. The week reminds us of the importance of keeping a balanced range of talent in the technology sector, and shines a light on the benefits of a career in coding – which will hopefully widen future pools of developers and help close the tech skills gap.

“Technical accuracy and creativity go hand in hand when it comes to coding and programming – much more than people think. It’s thanks to coding that our technology has come so far over the years and will only continue to evolve.

“Every day, coders create innovative apps, games and software that are helping to revolutionize a variety of industries, including healthcare, gaming and manufacturing. Their work is being used to secure our daily lives and provide solutions to some of today’s biggest problems. The industry coming together around National Coding Week exposes all these interesting facets of the job, and helps prepare people for the reality of the career.”

- Svenja de Vos, chief technology officer, Leaseweb Global

Demand for developers with security skills has never been greater

“With cybercrime growing globally, the demand for developers, especially those with security expertise, has grown to combat the ever-increasing threat. Fortunately in today’s world, coding accessibility has grown and it’s much easier to become a security-minded developer today.

“During National Coding Week, for those interested in becoming a developer, I’d encourage students to dedicate themselves to a project and self-teach as a starting point. A great place to learn the basics of programming is through online communities, such as the ‘/r/learnprogramming’ subreddit. Contributing to open source projects, even minimally, is also a great experience and gives you the chance to work with code written by people with much more experience.

“For security experience, I would recommend checking out the OWASP website, the ‘/r/netsecstudents’ subreddit, or one of the many beginner challenges online. By integrating security into your developer training, it will absolutely set you apart in the job market and also help combat the growing daily threat of today’s data breaches."

- Bryan Becker, DAST security researcher, WhiteHat Security

AI, machine learning and automation skills will set coders apart

“Automation is enabling businesses to get things done faster and with greater efficiency. In the case of machine learning processing, data infrastructure automation is the key to ensuring organizations are leveraging trusted data, by generating repeatable code and metadata that provides strong data governance and transparent lineage.

“By utilizing automation in this and other ways, organizations are also able to lift the mundane and repetitive coding off of the plates of its developers and instead provide opportunities to contribute within other aspects of development that will greatly impact the bottom line and be personally rewarding."

- Neil Barton, chief technology officer, WhereScape

Coding is at the heart of everything IT does

“National Coding Week is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on and show appreciation to the coders who work so diligently behind the scenes. Coders provide the backbone for every website, application and technical project and are therefore also responsible for fixing any issues or bugs as soon as they appear. With so many organizations undergoing digital transformations these days, it’s not just convenient to have a coder on staff; it’s necessary.

“As technology continues to progress – especially with the advances in AI, ML and edge computing – the demand for highly skilled coders will continue to increase. For that reason, it’s important to begin teaching coding to students at a young age. Coding is a language that should be offered as commonly as Spanish or French, and it’s a skill that will serve students well into their careers.”

- Henry Jewkes, software engineer at Split.io

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