When you work in the design and communication industry, inevitably, you are confronted with the question: Should I maybe learn how to code? I am going straight ahead and answer this for you: Yes, you should!

Machines shouldn’t run our lives, we should run the machines

Maybe the most important reason why you should learn to code is the simple fact that technology is everywhere. It already affects almost every aspect of our lives. We use computers for education and work, we need technology to search and distribute information and thanks to Tinder and co., even our dating lives heavily depend on it as well.

And hey, I hope it doesn’t come as a surprise to you but forget about politicians, it’s Google who’s running the world. Computers and algorithms are impacting our world, the way we perceive it and the way we communicate with one another, thus they are dominating our industry. We as marketing and communication experts should at least be able to understand the basics of computer science. It’s not enough just to use digital tools, we should be able to go beyond that and create them ourselves. And that is only possible if we enter the world of programming.

A five-year-old could take away your job

Kids growing up today are certainly pushed to engage with computer sciences. Colouring and crafting paper flowers was yesterday. Nowadays, five-year-olds learn basic programming in school on a Raspberry Pi Computer with Tynker or Hello Ruby. This is another important reason why everyone – especially millennials – should learn computational skills now: These five-year-olds will enter the job market in the foreseeable future – ok 10 to 15 years but still – and they will probably be much better prepared for the market than you are. They will already have an understanding of technology built into their brains. If you wanna climb the ladder of success, think ahead and start cracking that code.

Why is coding important for designers working in a digital environment?

Rather than just learning a new graphic design tool, I think It’s important to understand the basics, the system of this cryptic language. In the beginning I thought it is important not just to design a product but to create it from scratch - literally. After investing hours of work, days of sweat and frustration, I realised that actually it’s much more important that as a designer I understand the principles of programming such as the workflow and tools? What makes a good digital product? What are the challenges when programmers and designers come together? Because I took some time to make myself familiar with the world of coding I am the perfect middleman (/woman). A good product can only be made when the people collaborating are at eye level. It makes it so much easier when everyone is on the same page and shares the same vision. This also means seeing trends ahead and understand them.

Coding is sexy

Which brings me to another point. Right now, coding is sexy and in high demand. No matter if you are a marketing expert, a journalist or a designer: If you can impress people with building an html page or creating beautiful data visualisations or programming bots on top of your other skills, it will help you edge out the competition during the hiring process.

If you have a knowledge in programming you are in high demand as it will increase your potential in becoming a valuable asset at any company, regardless of your role. Let’s face it, data scientists are the new Rockstars of Digital Marketing and Communications.

Avoid a future “Westworld”

We are entering a time when computers are beginning to teach themselves. This development is called Cognitive Computing. Essentially, it comes down to the idea of training a computer to think like a human brain. Some argue that it is therefore already too late to learn to code and – as computers will be doing everything for us – there won’t be any need for programmers. I argue against that: I believe the more computers can do, the more we need to understand what, why and how they are doing it. Maybe you have heard of the series “Westworld” ? If not, I suggest you check it out.

I am not saying we should all become web developers, coding cracks and software engineers but we should at least know the basics. So again I am asking, should we all learn how to code? Yes you should, so go for it!

I am sure you are fully motivated to give coding a go after reading this article. check, and