Software programming or computing programming involves writing instructions to communicate with machines. All devices –– laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets –– rely on code to operate.  Coding also runs cities. Computers operate traffic signals that have been programmed to perform certain operations. Even astronauts on the International Space Station need to know how to code. Coding offers many career opportunities in technology and elsewhere.

What is coding?

Coding is the process of transforming computer instructions into a form a computer can understand. Every website and app operates because programmers write code. However, you do not have to work in technology to use coding. In fact, job hunters can find most coding jobs outside of the tech industry. What can you do with coding? Learning to code serves as the foundation for lucrative career opportunities. Graduates of bootcamps may need to gain experience as junior developers before securing six-figure salaries.  What coding career you secure depends on your work experience, education, and knowledge of programming languages. Coding prepares you to launch a career as a web developer, game developer, computer network architect, and computer system analyst. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer information and technology jobs to grow at a rate of 13% from 2020-2030.  However, job growth varies by specific occupation. Computer programmers, who make a median annual salary of $89,190, will see a projected 10% decline in jobs. Candidates who hold bachelor’s degrees or higher will have a better chance of securing employment.

How does coding work?

All code tells a machine to perform a specific task. Whenever you use the Internet, your device uses binary code –– a sequence of “1s” and “0s” that tells your computer what switches to turn on or off. This serves as a reliable way to store data and process information.  This process works quicker with high-level programming languages, such as Python, Java, and JavaScript. Each programming language serves a different purpose, but they all take code that reflects human speech and translate it into machine code, or a low-level language. Programmers and developers write instructions for computers using high-level programming languages. 

What are the benefits of coding?

When bootcamps first opened in 2011, only tech junkies learned to code. Now industries outside of technology recognize the benefits of coding, and it’s even taught at elementary schools –– from Alabama to Florida. Coding can teach important concepts applicable to a career in technology or to an entirely different field. 

Why learn coding?

Learning to code provides the training needed for well-paying tech jobs. The most common career routes after bootcamp are: junior web developer, junior web designer, or data analyst. Coding teaches problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creativity, and persistence. These skills also prepare you for jobs outside of tech, such as healthcare, finance, and marketing.

Careers where learning code is helpful

Software developerWeb developerCybersecurity specialistUX/UI designer Machine learning engineerFront-end engineerInstructional designerDigital marketing analyst

What types of coders are there?

Front-end, back-end, and mobile developers all write code that serves different functions.  Front-end developers handle a website’s layout and functionality. They use front-end programming languages –– such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript –– to write code to design a website. Their responsibilities also include optimizing SEO by improving a webpage’s load time and mobile performance.  Back-end developers work on server-side development. They write code for web apps that control a website. Without this code, you could not log into a website such as LinkedIn or Facebook and create a user profile. Programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, Java, and Ruby allow back-end developers to write code that allows browsers to communicate with databases.  Mobile developers learn programming languages such as Java, C++, C#, SQL, and Python. The specific language used depends on if developers build apps for iOS or Android devices. Mobile developers often work with graphic artists and data scientists.

Low-Level vs. high-level

Programming languages come in two forms: low-level and high-level languages. Low-level programming languages, or binary code, look like a sequence of “1s” and “0s”. Computers understand low-level programming code and can process it quicker. However, programmers can learn and use high-level programming languages faster since it looks like a human language. 

How can you learn coding?

People learn to code through different paths. Some are self-taught, and others go to college or bootcamp. Each route has advantages and disadvantages. 


Websites such as Treehouse or GitHub offer the opportunity to learn to code for less money than bootcamps. Websites also offer limited free courses for a short time. Students can watch videos for free during a trial period to learn Python, front-end web development, full-stack JavaScript, and UX design.  You can also teach yourself to code for free with free tutorials on websites. This helps beginners to gain the foundation needed before enrolling in a full-time intensive bootcamp.


You can also learn the basics of coding through your smartphone. Apps available through Codecademy and Mimo allow beginners to practice coding through video and online exercises. Many apps can be downloaded for free. 


Coding bootcamps train both beginners and advanced students. Popular bootcamps –– such as Flatiron School, Fullstack Academy, Bloc, and Thinkful –– require intensive training. Bootcamps run for weeks or up to six months, and often students must study full time.  Bootcamps require a large investment of both time and money. However, bootcamps, unlike apps or websites, also offer career services. Some bootcamps even provide job guarantees.