SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
As a psychology major, people expect me to be taking mainly psychology courses along with other social science classes such as sociology or philosophy. So when I tell people in my computer science classes my major, they tend to react with raise eyebrows in surprise and disbelief. When they ask why I put myself through these classes in spite of my major, I shrug and say “For the fun of it.” And despite the exasperation my peers and I shared over the coding exercises, taking that first step into the world of computers and apps surrounding us has been eye-opening and empowering. While computer science may seem like a vast, impenetrable field, this knowledge is surprisingly natural to acquire and can also present its recipients with ample opportunities.
The connections these devices and the internet established new marketing techniques and software created to take advantage of this far-reaching, fast-paced culture of information. With this new emphasis on online capability and software, companies pursuing this newfound area of influence were rewarded with growth and were able to push their innovations out more successfully. Startups by young and ambitious men and women are the most prominent example of this tech-savvy approach.
But the influence of this technology spans farther than the startup world, supplementing and even supplanting many existing business practices and tasks. IT departments are in charge of all of the behind the scenes work and infrastructure: this intimacy with the programs leads to a familiarity with its purpose, and their expertise can often be called upon by other departments. With the ability to create customized programs to suit your needs, you can ease unnecessary workload and eliminate menial tasks and prove yourself as an productive asset to any company. Having the means to understand and even create one’s own programs is another tool that can make any employee more versatile, and thus more attractive, to potential employers.
An summary of the growth tech jobs are having (Dice Tech)
Programming can also be an essential skill for individual projects and hobbies that require connecting to large audiences. Blogs, such as this and many other articles on the Prosky page, are maintained by an efficient framework that appeals to its viewers aesthetically. Building sites like these require using HTML along with other languages such as Java for additional features and designs. While there exists many tools that streamline the website creation and design process, at least understanding the mechanics behind it grants you the clarity to choose or even create what suits your needs specifically. With this comprehension, you can pursue your passion project while also presenting your products or ideas in a pleasing package to a broad audience.
Given the sheer scale of technology in our everyday lives, it’s no wonder that many people balk at the idea of delving underneath the surface of the apps they use in everyday life. However, like any other field, the amount of knowledge you are required to learn depends only on what you plan to do with it. Every tool available to use in programming is geared towards a specific task, with its own specialty and purpose.
For this reason, jobs involving programming emphasize traditional education less than many other jobs, instead seeking portfolios and physical evidence of your ability to get the job done. This flexibility encourages self-learning and focusing on whatever programming field pertains to your interests, not the other way around. And while programming can seem as intimidating as learning another language, the specific language used is just a syntax to express the logical operations of a computer. Learning the first language is often the biggest hurdle, with subsequent languages and techniques coming more easily. All these languages are tied together by the computer’s limitations, and understanding this enables us to adapt to any new language. For example, I took computer science classes to learn C while also self-teaching enough C# to try making games with a game engine. The class taught me the basics to good and efficient programming, while my game projects gave me an application of both languages and an outlet of my own interests and passion.
Developing games is one type of personal projects I enjoy when I began to learn how to code. (Image from Appsolutions.com)
Outside of the traditional classroom setting, there exist many resources able to teach a variety of languages to anyone with an internet connection for little to no cost. The first step is to determine the appropriate language to acquire first. This graphic is a good starting point to learn about the basic languages and to decide where to start. From here, you can browse the internet and libraries to find books and tutorials to practice with. The most popular sites include Codecademy and Code.org with its breadth of free tutorials and subscription-based classroom programs, to more narrow, specialized sources like Google’s Python book and the Introduction to Programming Using Java, Seventh Edition online textbook.
The importance of learning how to coding can’t be understated in a society and economy driven by technology. Industries far beyond just the technological sector are affected and benefit from new software being pumped by either internal IT departments or third-party developers. Businesses can live and thrive based on the applications streamlining their tasks and routines. Individuals also can’t ignore the impact programming can have on independent success with the chance to engage more people with their passions and work. This connectivity and tech can evoke both efficiency and creativity in big companies and smaller developers and individuals like you.
So don’t let this chance go by. If you can think of a way your life and your work can be improved if you added programming to your arsenal of skills, then pick up a language and see what you can accomplish from your computer.