Coding Literacy Matters

by . November 17th, 2014

You wake up to a cacophonous chatter, gradually getting louder, permeating not only your ears but the layers of your skin. The floor where you lie feels like asphalt, rough and unyielding. You decided to open your eyes, only to see a sky of dancing neon lights depicting unfamiliar letters.

You get up, finally making out the words that you hear passers-by say, only to realize you don’t actually understand anything that they were saying. 

A stranger’s face peers at you, then goes on his way. A lot more paid you no mind. You try talking to one of them with your own language, but they would only shake their heads and go on their way.

You turn around, confused. Until finally, you tell yourself:

“I am lost.”


In a different world. (Photo credit: Danny Choo)

In so many ways, the world we live in now is an entirely different world compared to five, ten years ago. The world is no longer just built with bricks and mortar. Technology has shifted our way of living in a way that part of our world is composed of millions and millions of codes.

And with this shift comes the need to understand the language that it speaks.


The foundation of the new world. (Screenshot from The Matrix)

A few days ago, one of my colleagues taught us some basic HTML and CSS that we can use in blog posting. I picked a lot of great stuff from the tutorial, such as:

– Using other fonts aside from the default ones (such as this one)
– Resizing text
– And floating an image (of a floating person) to the left of this section


Within the few hours that I was listening along with the members of our team, I was lost.

I was lost in the way I described in the start of this post, confused and uncomprehending. But in the confusion the ensued, I found an opportunity to see the world in a different perspective.

The ubiquity of programming can be seen in almost all aspects of our lives that the image portrayed in The Matrix Trilogy is somewhat accurate. From buying merchandise to getting taxi cabs, coders have created an entirely new language, a new form of interaction with the world.


Confusion (Photo credit: See1,Do1,Teach1)

If your company does not have a digital arm, you will most likely be obsolete in the next few years. Majority of the market is online, active in one or more social media platform and not using the internet is (in most cases) a misstep.

As we see the escalating role of coding and digital literacy in general, what could we do better than equip ourselves with the necessary skills to understand the language that our new world speaks?


Conversation (Photo credit: Just Ard)

For now, a programmer is still a job title. But in the coming years, I could see basic programming knowledge written as a job requirement. CEOs and other founders be expected to have a working knowledge not only what their product or service does, but the mechanism behind them—the code. Programming is in an escalating role to become core in the entrepreneurial skillset.

I think it’s time for our education system to start teaching the fundamentals of coding at an early age, the same way it teaches the basics of language and mathematics.

Our current generation and the generation after us are so comfortable with new technology that we might as well be digital natives. But the way coding and programming is taught (or rather, insufficiently taught) can be akin to knowing how to read but not write.


Communication. (Photo credit: dotmatchbox)

The aim isn’t to breed a generation of programmers or coders. But rather, learning the language of programming could be a gateway towards the understanding of this uncharted digital world, something that would open entrepreneurial possibilities.

As for us who currently work on our business, we may think that it might be too late, but that isn’t the case.

I am not a coder. I’m sure that some of you aren’t, too. But the changing business landscape requires us to adapt. I’m not saying that we should go all out and take an advanced programming language. Just learn enough to understand and communicate, the same way that knowing はい (“Yes”) and いいえ (“No”) can be useful in communicating with the Japanese.

Then, eventually, work yourself upwards.

CHECK OUT: 5 Startup Pitch Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Any more thoughts on the future of programming in business? Tell us in the comment box below.


Kevin is a reader first, a writer second, and a gamer somewhere in between. When not rooting for Tyrion Lannister for the Iron Throne, he's probably writing some morbid short story. He enjoys some surreal art, clever advertising campaigns, and a warm cup of coffee while reading Murakami.