TLDR; I have been to and hosted quite a few technology-related events and I keep seeing recurring myths that people seem to believe about code.
I’m tired of it.
Let’s talk about it.
Myth #1: Coding takes forever to learn.
Yes, mastering anything will take a lifetime. That doesn’t mean you can’t start to cultivate your skills and start to develop a deep appreciation and understanding of code. There’s tons of resources out there for you to learn – hackathons, websites, academic courses, etc. I can vouch for this: I started coding in eighth grade super reluctantly because I thought it’d take too long to learn, but after going through just one tutorial online about Google Chrome extension building, I’d already built my very own extension and understood a lot of what I’d done.
Myth #2: Coding is for college, not high school.
This argument basically says that college is where you actually start learning stuff, which is blatantly false. High school is arguably the best place to start learning code so you can determine whether you’re interested in code, and if so, what parts of code excite you (i.e. artificial intelligence, networking, data analytics, engineering, etc.). However, this mindset has created a really negative stigma that Midwestern academia has yet to win the battle against – most colleges have computer programming classes while a shockingly small proportion of high schools do. Out of high schools that do offer CS, their students are significantly more likely to end up majoring in CS and recognizing the career paths CS offered.
Myth #3: I’m not going into IT, so it’s not worth it.
This is the trickiest one of all, but it’s answered by two simple words: Technology literacy. Sure, you’re pursuing history or med school or law, but we’re still in the 21st century and the impending doom of a robot apocalypse is still a thing. As technology takes jobs, technology creates them, but only those who can work technology will be able to take these new, higher-paying jobs. Plus, you never know what your non-CS job will require of you. Maybe you’ll need to be able to work a SQL database to organize patents, students, or town hall complaints.
Push yourself and learn a thing or two before you graduate high school. I can’t promise that you’ll become a computer engineer, but I can guarantee that you’ll be better off than people who stayed within their comfort zones. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become the very next Bill Gates…