Why everyone should learn to code

Developers are in hot demand almost everywhere, so it's no surprise Codecademy and its DIY lessons have taken off. Codecademy founder Zach Sims tells Fast Company why learning how to program is the best job security you can have, and how a knowledge of code is the best way to improve the economy and the planet.

Our economy is at an interesting juncture. After years of working with computers and technology, we’re finally hitting the point where technology has permeated nearly everything we work with on a daily basis. Law firms are using technology to speed up the discovery process, investors are using technology to source new investment opportunities, and companies like Google are using it to create self-driving cars. But as technology helps to increase the possibilities of automation in many industries, there’s the possibility of tech-driven job displacement.

In books like Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s Race Against the Machine, or Douglas Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed, the authors argue persuasively that as technology improves, white-collar jobs are going to be increasingly outsourced to machines. But if you’re worried about your job, there is an easy solution: Society’s increasing dependence on automation means it’s more important than ever to understand the systems that we depend on every day.

I recently talked to a journalist who, frustrated at his continued dependence on the “black box” that is GPS, insisted on relearning celestial navigation. A more practical way of taking control of the systems we use on an everyday basis is to understand how they function and gain control over them. How do you do that? Learn how to program.

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