Coding! A necessary 21st-century skill

The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone is the lawgiver. No playwright, no stage director, no emperor, however powerful, has ever exercised such absolute authority to arrange a stage or field of battle and to command such unswervingly dutiful actors or troops.

Joseph Weizenbaum, German-American computer scientist

Coding a word we hear about a lot. But what is coding in the context of computing? What benefit does it bring us?

Based on one of the definitions, coding is the process of transforming ideas, solutions, and instructions into a language that the computer can understand, meaning binary-machine code.

What is coding used for? According to some write-ups it creates a set of instructions for computers to follow. These instructions then determine what actions a computer can and cannot take.

Coding further allows programmers to build programs, such as websites and applications (popularly known as apps). Basically, coding is the method by which humans can talk with computers.

I will not delve into the technical nature of coding here as I don’t know how to do it. As a promoter of life-long learning, I would just like to share some opinions on it.

I decided to do this short write-up about coding because one of my daughters, who was back home in Miri on her semester break said she had been invited to Kuching to emcee an event on coding.

After she came back from this one-day coding event, she said it was amazing how the kids had learned what was more or less another language and used it to build websites and games.

They continuously fixed the applications and enhanced them for a better user experience. The kids aged between 10 and 15 came from all across Sarawak.

I must say that I have no experience in coding. Many years ago, I dabbled in an introductory online coding class for a few hours. 

This was after a Sarawak Tribune colleague, M Rajah contacted me to trace a kid in Miri who had won a NASA coding competition.

After that, I thought I would like to know more about coding. However, along the way, I got caught up in the usual humdrum of life and did not pursue it further. I think I will be picking up an introductory class again just to keep the brain cells ticking over.

While browsing the internet to see the types of coding and the levels available, I came across some local learning centre offering coding courses starting with the Beginner Track, Intermediate Track, Advance Track and Professional Track at reasonable cost.

For those who do not want to commit financially first, can always find a free website providing you with the opportunity to learn coding.

There are various coding forms, and I am sure you can find one suitable for you to learn.

Coding is a skill that can enable you to develop applications of all nature to help your organisation or the public. Over the years, I have come across some people who have become invaluable to their company due to their coding skills.

It is stating the obvious by saying that coding and software development is critical to the development and growth of Sarawak. Its necessity is accepted and acknowledged by all levels of society.

However, more young people need to be exposed to it to appreciate its importance in our fast-changing environment. Our youth also need to be actively encouraged by those surrounding them to learn and enhance their skills in Coding.

Promoting coding and programming skills is also part of the Sarawak governments’ efforts to propel Sarawak towards a high-income economy.

The coding event called ‘Bugcrusher’ that my daughter emceed was organised by Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) and Realfun Learning Centre. It was supported by Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Sarawak with Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) as an event partner.

It is good to see the GPS government strongly advocating a digital revolution in Sarawak and setting up the necessary framework to implement it.

This is just one piece of evidence of the commitment to implementing Sarawak’s digital economy initiatives.

Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has rolled out numerous other digital economy initiatives.

These are opportunities Sarawakians should capitalise on for their own benefit to build their careers and, at the same time, build up Sarawak.

I would say that for those who have the time to take up coding or those with youngsters in the family, do encourage them to take it up.

You would be helping them in their future growth and Sarawak’s success.

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.  

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