Popular media has given audiences the perception that coders are mega geniuses, sitting in a basement, locked away from the rest of the world as they type away furiously in a stained t-shirt.

For the most case, this isn’t true… In all reality, computer programmers and the other people who use coding on a daily basis are just like you and me. They got to where they are by taking the initial steps necessary to develop coding skills, and in the process become a smarter person.

So how does coding make you smarter?

You Get Better at Math

For students in school, math is either one of two things; the best friend your report card could ever have, or the most vile, evil force on the planet. For those who love math, they discover just how much power lies in its tech applications. Those that hate math learn that, well, he’s not such a bad guy. Over the course of your coding education, you will be exposed to many situations that require basic arithmetic. The more you practice coding, the better you’ll get at math; that’s what we call a “win-win” situation.

You Improve Your Analytical Skills

Since much of coding requires handling language that really doesn’t make sense to the average person, it will require a fair amount of attention to detail. Your ability to read a line of code and determine where there’s an error, or how to manipulate the code in your favor, says volumes about your analytical skills. Once you have practice with analyzing often confusing and nonsensical code, you’ll do better in classes like English that involve heavy reading comprehension.

You Get More Creative

You will do a lot of problem solving when you learn and work with code. In fact, many of the jobs that are performed by coding professionals involve solving problems in some way or fashion. But, as the technology we use evolves, so do the problems. Therefore, the solutions for problems that arise will not always work, and new solutions will continuously have to be developed for us to move forward. Learning new ways to solve problems makes you a more creative person, and it’s that creativity that allows coders to continue changing the world we live in.

You don’t have to be a straight-A student to learn coding, you just need to take an active interest in the material. As we’ve demonstrated, coding can have life changing benefits for those who learn to wield its power. Don’t be surprised when your new coding skills begin to have a positive effect on your grades, and you become that straight-A student after all.

Coding can be tiring.

There are moments of unmeasurable joy mixed in between moments of confusion, and as a result, feelings of fatigue. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to what you’re eating while you code — what you put in your body could mean the difference between perfect source code or a choppy line full of errors.

Give these snacks a try next time you find yourself yawning at your computer.

Jerky

Jerky contains large amounts of protein, which is mostly beneficial for physical activity but can be useful if you’re up all night on an exceptionally difficult coding project. If you want a healthy option, choose turkey jerky instead of beef.

Blueberries

Blueberries are considered a major brain food because the antioxidants they contain help keep your memory working. If you have a hard time remembering things, maybe you should eat more blueberries.

Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

It’s best to save the coffee for when you start hitting your late teens, but it doesn’t mean you can’t munch on little boosts of caffeine. Espresso beans will keep you awake, while the dark chocolate will do wonders for your memory and your mood.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is one of those snacks you don’t have to think about while you’re eating, you just keep scooping more into your hand as you stare at the screen. You can buy trail mix pre-made but you can also just customize a mix yourself by using your favorite nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate.

Peanuts

Peanuts are another snack that you can go to town on and not even realize it; but have no worries. Peanuts contain natural oils, fats, and protein your body needs so you don’t have to feel bad about overindulging.

Banana Chips

Bananas are full of vitamins and minerals essential for healthy brain function, and chips are delicious. Combine the two and what do you get? A snack that will keep you coding and full.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds contain B vitamins that affect your mood and your brain’s cognitive functions. If you want to avoid the messy shells, you can also just purchase sunflower kernels.

Granola

Along with protein and vitamins, your body also needs a certain amount of carbs a day. Granola is an excellent source of both carbohydrates and fiber necessary for storing energy and keeping away sugar crashes, plus it usually comes in a variety of flavors.

Oh, and one more thing

Be sure to always hydrate before, during, and after you’re working on a coding project. Remember, even though you’re not outside, you need to stay hydrated. When a dehydrated person meets a bright screen with small letters scrolling up and down, the results are never good. You’ll also want to make sure you get 8 hours of sleep each night so that you can tackle the coding challenges that await you at the keyboard!

 

Technology has always looked good on film, since the days of D.W. Griffith’s Metropolis filmmakers have showcased their vision for the future. Up until the 1980’s, the technology shown on film was from the future, but at some point, our actual technology began to catch up to what was being shown on screen.

Pretty soon life began imitating art, and in the world of movies the opposite became the case.  Computer programming provided inspiration for new heroes on screen and also villains who would use their knowledge of technology for evil. As a result, some movies have given us a glimpse into the world of computer programming and the lives of the coders who make it happen.

GOOD: Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

There’s no better portrayal of computer technology than a movie about the men who gave us the computers we use to this day. This 1999 television film tells the fascinating story behind the birth of Microsoft and Apple.

GOOD: TRON (1982)

We still haven’t found a way to get transported into computers like Jeff Bridge’s character in TRON, but the film did a good job of giving seemingly abstract computer terms a face. It’s also the first film to use a large amount of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in production.

GOOD: The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

The film series that inspired a whole generation of filmmakers also inspired a new wave of computer programmers. While source code is usually portrayed unrealistically on the screen, there is a scene in the second Matrix film in which Trinity hacks into a system using a real method for SSH exploitation.

GOOD: The Social Network (2010)

Social media started off in the form of AOL Instant Messages and Myspace profiles, then Facebook entered our lives. This film takes inspiration from the story of Facebook’s creation, and the legal battles that followed.

GOOD: Office Space (1999)

Working as a computer programmer is a fun and interesting job, but sometimes it can get repetitive and mundane. No film parodies the perils of falling into a coding rut than Mike Judge’s Office Space.

As you can see, some movies get it right, and others… well, not so much.

But, it’s not entirely the writer or the director’s fault. While coding can lead to some pretty exciting things, many aspects of programming just don’t look that exciting on screen. That is why Hollywood has had to take some liberties with how computer programming is portrayed. Here are a few movies that, while they had good intentions, missed the mark when it comes to coding.

NOT-SO-GOOD: Weird Science (1985)

Coding can do some amazing things, but it can’t bring a Barbie doll to life.

NOT-SO-GOOD: Hackers (1995)

While this film is semi-inspired by some prominent events in the world of hacking, most of the things portrayed on screen are more comical than accurate.

NOT-SO-GOOD: Jurassic Park (1993)

This 1993 movie is a classic and there’s no arguing with that, but scene where John Hammond’s granddaughter hacks a Unix system is so bad that it’s inspired hundreds of memes.

NOT-SO-GOOD: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Kevin Smith is great, but a hacker named “The Warlock” who has access to the nation’s security systems just isn’t realistic.

NOT-SO-GOOD: Independence Day (1996)

It only took Jeff Goldblum’s character a couple of hours to figure out how to upload a computer virus into the alien’s spacecraft that would bring down the whole defense system and save the day. Welcome to Earth.

Just because a film depicts coding and programming in an unrealistic fashion, doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed! These films spark our imagination, and inspire many to learn the truth about coding, hacking, and computer programming.

After all, what is unrealistic today, may not be in the future.

 

When you think about the future, where do you see yourself?

Maybe you’re making tackles in front of thousands of cheering fans, or creating breathtaking dishes at your restaurant, or you’re in your home playing hide and seek with your kids; the possibilities are endless.

For many of you, your passion for computers and technology has led you to learn more about coding. Now that you’ve taken the steps to harness the power of coding, let’s discuss what you can do with your new powers in the future.

Web Developer

Programmers who work almost exclusively with websites are web developers. They design, maintain, and modify websites with a variety of programming languages. A 2016 survey conducted by Free Code Camp found that 39% of respondents saw “Full Stack Web Developer” as their ideal job; in fact, web development jobs held the top 3 spots in the survey.

Video Game Programmer/Designer

Your parent’s old Nintendo games may not look like much, but they required whole teams of coders to create what was then, a groundbreaking feat. Today, the video game industry is massive and a huge part of our culture. As a result, companies are constantly looking for new talented and created individuals to design and program the next wave of video games.

Software Developer

If you like being picked as “team captain” then this job is for you. Software developers help teams of coders through every stage of the software creation process. This is also one of the many coding jobs that allow you to work from home.

Network Administrator

As a network administrator, you will oversee an organization’s computer networks. Large companies, universities, and government entities all require network administrators on their staff.

Mobile App Developer

Take one look at your phone’s App Store and you can see just how big mobile app development is. On top of that, iTunes is expected to have 5 million apps by the time we hit 2020. That’s good news for the next generation of coders.

Coding Cosmologist

That’s right, coding is even being used in the study of our galaxy. You can apply your love of space and coding towards a career in coding cosmology and use programs to track stars and learn secrets about the planets in our solar system.

Systems Analyst

If you like getting lost in the details, then a career as a systems analyst may be right up your alley. Systems analysts pour over multiple lines of code in order to find ways to improve systems and the processes carried out by the programming.

IT Manager

It’s hard to find a business that doesn’t need some sort of IT department, and the embrace of technology by companies from all over ensures that we’ll always need knowledgeable individuals to keep the computers running and the internet working.

As you can see there lots of great jobs you can get with a coding education, but that’s not even all of them!

You will also find yourself capable of getting other jobs that are not traditionally thought to be coding related. That’s because coding is growing even more important across many industries. Coding knowledge can lead to careers in engineering, AutoCAD drafting, architecture, medical systems, and business.

So, what we should really be asking is “what jobs aren’t available to coders?”