It's not too late to learn code and here's why you should

Words Amelia Butterly, interview James Waterhouse
Newsbeat reporters


There's been a lot of talk about people learning to code in the news this week.

Children as young as five are going to be taught how to do it in school and the government has been promoting its Year of Code since January.

And while the stereotype says that young people are supposedly tech savvy, there are plenty that don't know their CSS from their HTML.

If you're keen to learn there are many ways to teach yourself code and even more reasons why you probably should.

What is code?

image copyrightGetty Images

For those that don't know, code is a language in which computer programs, apps and websites are written.

Just as there are many languages spoken around the world, there are also a variety of different programming languages.

Classes are run at local colleges across the country and are also put on by private companies.

You can however learn from home, using paid-for and free instructional websites, which will teach you all the basics of a variety of systems.

Future earning potential

image copyrightAFP/Getty Images

According to the government's National Career Service, starting salaries for computer programmers in the games industry start at around £25,000, rising to between £30,000 and £50,000 with more experience and responsibility.

Apps can be very hit and miss, with plenty being given away for free, or failing to turn a profit. But there are plenty which do, or are funded by companies because they attract new audiences or provide a platform for advertising.

And let's not forget some of the big names of the tech industry - Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, Nick D'Aloisio, who sold Summly to Yahoo and Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird. They've all made the mega bucks.

Make apps that you care about

image copyrightOther

"I think the motivation to see something that's your idea come to life is pretty amazing," says 17-year-old Samantha Imafidon - a coder who has created an app called Vibe Music, which matches music to your mood.

Simpler apps can be made in a relatively short space of time - Nguyen said he made Flappy Bird in just a few days.

It can even give you the opportunity to make the app you think is missing from your phone.

It's the language of the future.

"It is used in everyday life and a lot more people need to be exposed to it. They say Chinese is the language everyone needs to know - they should add coding to that," says Samantha.

There are also calls for make sure more girls are getting involved in coding, so they can continue to participate in the conversation in the future.

As more and more jobs are created in the tech industry, learning to code will also open up more employment opportunities.

It might help you do better in other subjects

"It's another platform for creativity," says Eleanor Yung, 17.

"Creativity isn't only limited to painting, music and drama. Creativity is now branching out into computers."

Studying computer science has been reported in certain studies to help people in other areas of learning.

According to Jason Togyer, of the Carnagie Mellon University School of Computer Science, "computational thinking" can aid problem solving, help with understanding large amounts of information and can be even used when studying arts-based subjects.

And if you can't learn to code, just get code literate

OK, so even if you aren't persuaded to get online and learn to code your own apps, it might be worth considering getting literate with code.

As with any language, having a basic understanding, even if you aren't fluent, will always impress someone who knows how to speak it.

And, according to the Year of Code: "It is really simple to learn and anyone can do it - not just rocket scientists."

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter and Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube

Related Topics

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.