I grew up with computers.
I started playing Reader Rabbit when I was five and was using MS-DOS-based PCs from before Windows 3.1 was even released (totally just dated myself with that one…). I started using the internet in the mid-90s, and by the time I hit college, I had taught myself the basics of how to code.
But not everyone dives into learning tech skills quite as readily as I did. It's probably safe to say that a lot of people don't.
The great thing about tech skills, though, is that learning begets learning. Once you figure out how one part works, it gets easier and easier to dive into other parts and figure out how things work.
Check out these seven ways that coding and other tech skills can improve your life outside of the tech industry.
1. They make you a better problem solver
Coding is all about problem solving. You start with a user problem that needs to be solved and come up with a solution. Then you test that solution to find bugs or possible improvements, and you create a better solution. Every step of the way is about solving problems.
Problem-solving skills are universal and can be applied to virtually every part of your life and work, regardless of industry. From identifying an issue and breaking it down into its parts to creating, testing, and improving solutions, you'll never regret learning how to efficiently handle problems.
2. Technology is much less frustrating when you understand it
How many times have you gotten completely frustrated because your smartphone did something unexpected and you had no idea how to fix it? Or when you couldn't figure out how to make your computer do something that seems like it should be so simple?
Technology is way less frustrating if you understand how it works. And while coding skills won't teach you how to build and program your own smartphone from scratch, understanding some tech basics makes virtually everything in tech make a bit more sense. Once you understand one thing, you can better understand the rest.
3. Save money by solving tech problems yourself
When was the last time you had to hire someone to fix your computer? Or gotten frustrated when tech support told you to reboot your computer (btw, that actually does fix some problems)?
With tech skills, you can learn to diagnose and fix a lot of problems yourself. If you get the basics, and more importantly, if you're comfortable with technology, the solution to a lot of your tech problems is just a Google search away.
4. They make you a better leader
So many companies are now reliant on technology in one way or another. As a manager or CEO, it's important to be able to work effectively with either a department that handles web development or with an outside agency that handles those things. And if you don't know the first thing about the jobs those departments or agencies do, it makes it a lot harder to work with them in a way that's both efficient and productive.
You'll probably find you get looped into the decision-making process and be seen as a helpful part of the company rather than a constant headache and hindrance by those who handle the design and dev for your company.
5. They make you a better collaborator
Yes, there are still standalone web designers and developers out there. But as the web grows more complex, more and more people are working as part of design and development teams rather than solo operations.
Collaborating on design and development projects is commonplace in the tech world. And the collaboration skills you learn on these projects will do wonders for your collaboration in other areas. When you can troubleshoot code with another developer, or manage a project with half a dozen designers and developers working on it, then working as part of a team outside of tech will only get easier (and be less likely to resemble this).
6. They future-proof your career
Virtually every career and industry is becoming more tech-focused and tech-reliant. Industries from agriculture to education are integrating tech into their day-to-day operations. It's clear: those who have tech skills and are comfortable working with technology will have a much easier time adapting to changing expectations.
How many teachers who were used to doing all of their grading and record keeping by hand had a very hard transition when everything became digital? How many farmers have seen improvements in their business because they adopted things like soil and crop sensors, bookkeeping software, or GPS and mapping technologies for keeping track of their equipment and operations?
Learning to code isn't going to make you a master of every career-related technology out there. But what it will do is make you more confident in your tech abilities and make it easier to learn more specific technology you need to do your job.
7. They make you more well-rounded
Having a well-rounded set of skills and knowledge will serve you well both professionally and personally. Being able to list basic tech skills on your resume will make you more attractive to virtually every employer out there, regardless of industry.
And as more and more people become involved in the tech industry, having at least a passing knowledge of what it's all about can come in handy when networking personally or professionally.