In these days of intuitive applications and touch screens, it is debated in certain circles whether or not it is worth learning programming language.
In the UK, children will be taught at school from the age of five. This year the government launched a campaign, which included naming 2014 as the «year of the code.»
And while the stereotype paints young people as highly tech-savvy, there are many who can’t tell CSS from HTML.
«Code» is the language in which computer programs, applications, and websites are written.
Just as many languages are spoken in the world, there are a variety of computer programming languages.
While in some places it is possible to learn how to use them at school or through private lessons, several paid and free internet sites offer tutorials and instructions on the basic elements of different systems.
For those who want to learn to code, there are many ways to do it on your own. And also many reasons why that possibility is worth considering. BBC Newbeat collects some of them.
It is a source of money
Salaries for computer programmers in different fields, such as the video game industry, can be a juicy incentive for those considering a career in this world.
In the UK, for example, a person who is starting out can expect to earn up to US $ 40,000 a year.
Dedicating yourself to creating applications, or apps, can be riskier: there are many of free distribution, while many others never make money. On the other side of the scale, there are many that are very lucrative or that can attract the interest of companies willing to finance them, because they attract new audiences or offer an advertising platform.
And let’s not forget some of the big names in the tech industry, like Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook; Nick D’Alosio, who sold Summly to Yahoo, and Dong Nguyen, creator of Flappy Bird. They all amassed large sums of money coding.
Lets create something important to you
«I think the motivation to see an idea come true is incredible,» says Samantha Imafidon, a 17-year-old programmer who created an app called Vibe Music, who is looking for music appropriate to the mood.
The simplest applications can be created relatively quickly.
Nguyễn Hà Đông once said that he created the wildly successful game Flappy bird in a few days, the same one that he withdrew a year later because of the guilt that caused him to be so addictive.
In any case, knowing how to program provides the opportunity to create the applications that you think you need on your cell phone.
It’s the language of the future
«It is used on a daily basis and many more people should come into contact with it. It is said that Mandarin Chinese is the language that everyone should speak. They should add the programming language to the list,» says Samantha, a girl who wants to promote the learning of this language.
There are also voices calling for more young women to get involved with the world of programming, so they can participate in the conversation in the future.
As more jobs are created in the tech industry, learning to code will open up more opportunities for job seekers.
It can help improve performance in other areas
«It’s another platform for creativity,» says 17-year-old Eleanor Yung.
«Creativity is not limited to painting, music and theater. Creativity is now spreading to computers,» he says.
According to some studies, learning computer science helps people in other areas of knowledge.
According to Jason Togyer of the Carnagie Mellon University School of Computer Science, «computational thinking» can help solve problems, process large amounts of information, and can even be used when studying art-related subjects.
And if you can’t learn to program, at least find out
Let’s say that we have not yet persuaded you to go online and learn how to create your own applications. It might be worth at least understanding what it is about.
As with any language, having a basic understanding, even if it is not spoken fluently, will always make a good impression on those who do speak accurately.
As a «code year» slogan would say: «It’s really simple to learn and anyone can do it.»
Written by Amelia Butterfly, with interviews from BBC Newsbeat reporters James Waterhouse.