The Language of The Future
"I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, should learn a computer language, because it teaches you how to think. I view computer science as a liberal art. It should be something that everyone takes."
Language is what sets humans apart from other animals. Our ability to communicate with one another in detailed and complex ways is what has given us the edge over other species. But there is an entirely new type of language that is quickly gaining popularity and fame: computer languages. Programming (ˈprəʊɡramɪŋ) is defined as the process of writing computer programs in the previously mentioned computer languages. It is an incredibly diverse skill and has found its way to becoming a requirement for many jobs in today’s world. It has proven useful in thousands of fields outside those of computer science and is steadily gaining importance and relevance in today’s world.
What Is Programming?
Computers have taken over the world. The world has gone through a Digital Revolution, and now smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers are found wherever one goes. At the end of the day, these are still machines that operate on sets of instructions given by humans. These instructions are what is known as computer programs, that is, a set of lines of “code” that is “read” by the computer and then “executed”.
As a 17 year old studying in a university and trying to major in Computer Science, learning programming can sometimes be a bit disheartening, as there are many nuances that need careful attention, and it is very easy to be stuck on problems which have two line solutions for days at an end. Despite how scary it looks, programming really isn’t as complicated as it seems.
Programming can be broken into two components: designing an algorithm, and coding it. Algorithms are the set of instructions that a program must follow, which are then converted to code. But designing efficient and “to the point” algorithms is often more difficult than coding itself. As a student fluent in English, I am almost always able to convey an idea using the extensive vocabulary of English. However, if I am unable to think of an idea, having a language available to me becomes pointless.
Thus, it is my personal belief, that while learning a language can initially be tough, once learnt it becomes effortless to use. It is developing the thinking process for designing competent algorithms which is difficult, and can take years to develop.
Why The Need For Programming?
With the existence of over 700 programming languages, it is quite easy to wonder, what exactly makes them useful?
Computers have been the life of every company, with all the utilities they offer. The incredible ease of sharing resources, communicating ideas, as well as storing all sorts of data are only a few benefits of the many that are available. As time passes, more and more companies seek independence, and thus will start working on softwares of their own. Currently the world is dependent on a few major companies for its software, with thousands of minor applications and softwares in development.
This implies that there will be a void, ready to be filled by hundreds of thousands of developers who can write efficient algorithms and can design creative applications. This is a magnificent opportunity for the youth, but to seize this chance we must begin early. Acquiring skills from an early age gives us an edge over the rest.
But a massive question arises: Is it worth learning programming if one isn’t planning to go in the field of Computer Science?
“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe or pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.”
Programming is a quintessential tool in every field. You can create algorithms that predict the stock market with a high degree of accuracy, or design a program that analyses enormous amounts of data in mere seconds and gives back an ordered table of conclusions that can be drawn from the given data. You can have programs that read the structure of genes to find cures to genetic diseases. Code that instructs machines to search the open universe for traces of dark matter can be designed. Even in paintings can AI be used to create abstract art as well as for inspiration to create new pieces. A lot of these programs already exist, but they all can be improved upon in one way or another. The utility of programming is unimaginable, and it finds its way in every field from business to biology, and from astrophysics to even painting.
Everything about programming seems lucrative, and the benefits seem to be plentiful. But there is one final pro to learning how to program, which perhaps outshines all others.
Today we find ourselves in a place where problems reside everywhere we look. The need for solutions has never been greater. These problems are so enormous and difficult to deal with, that any singular solution cannot stifle the issue. A great example is global warming and climate change. This is where the youth come in. We hold the key to solving all the world’s issues. It is a responsibility that we gladly accepted, because this planet is ours and it is up to us to save it.
Solutions do not miraculously appear from thin air. They are a result of meticulous effort and radical thinking. This is the final benefit of programming: the ability to think out of the box. We need every bit of help we can get in this struggle against the issues of the world, and the potential to think out of the box lays dormant within each one of us, waiting to be awoken. Programming can be the key to saving the world by awakening this dormant potential, but it must all begin with us, the youth, and we must take initiative to save our planet.
Designed by Mahir Bhagtani