Coding can future proof careers

As the rate of technological change advances, it’s becoming increasingly important for professionals to learn coding to future proof their careers and plug existing skills gaps, says recruiting experts Hays.

Every machine or device used in people’s day to day lives relies on coding in some way and as job roles become more digitised, its importance is growing in the world of work. According to data from Gartner, connected ‘things’ (such as mobiles, tablets and smart watches) will far outstrip the world’s population by 2020, with the expectation that we’ll see over 20 billion devices in use.

Coding translates actions into a language that a computer will understand, helping to create apps, software and websites and much more.

Steve Weston, Chief Information Officer, Hays, recently said professionals must prioritise learning coding, as jobs will become more automated and the need for a basic understanding of the programming language will become increasingly important in many roles. He also stated that it is a good way for professionals to future proof their careers, no matter their age or background.

Steve explained, “It’s not just young people, yet to enter the workforce, that should put coding at the top of their ‘must learn’ list – it’s all of us. From the freelancer needing to make website edits, to the finance team wrapping their heads around budget models – coding is for everyone.”

Demand for professionals with coding skills is outstripping supply, meaning many companies do not have the skills readily available. Therefore, companies should also be actively encouraging the upskilling of their workforce in order to tackle the skills gap through personalised training and lifelong learning. This will also help businesses with their attraction and retention strategies, as they provide their workforce with the opportunity to learn additional skills.

Steve says, “It’s becoming increasingly important that organisations actively support their employees need to upskill – not only will they be thankful for the job security it provides, they’ll become a hugely valuable resource for your team, now and in the future.”

Steve added, “Clever businesses show a dedication to upskilling their existing workforce and tackling the skills gap through personalised training and the encouragement of lifelong learning.”

Steve also explained as the world of work continues to evolve it is important that professionals learn to co-exist with machines, rather than fear them. Businesses should help their employees to understand that machines take tasks, not jobs. While it is true that machines are automating many routine tasks in the workplace, it allows professionals to spend more time on the tasks which add more value to their role.

Steve states, “This future of technology doesn’t mean a death knell to the workforce – it simply emphasises the need to learn new skills and to consider where technology will play a role alongside your current skillset over the next 5, 10 or 15 years. Once you know how your role may change, you can learn the skills that will see you remain employable.”

Steve closed by saying, “The key take-home from this is simply, learn the language of coding. Whether you’re running a business or working for one, the key skills you’ll pick up by learning coding will set you up for the future. So next time you think about taking up a new language, immersing yourself in phrases and grammar, pick coding and find yourself communicating in the language of the world.”

This content was originally published on Hays’ career advice blog, Viewpoint.