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By Chloe Fisher

Should YOU be learning to code?

Here at reInteractive it is my full time job to help people in any way I can to get more involved in the Ruby Community and to help new developers get set up, started and learn as much as they can about Ruby on Rails. So, with that said I guess it’s my job to say "yes, let’s learn to code!" But, I have a little more to say...

Since you clicked through to read this article, I’m going to assume that you take some kind of interest in development and programming. So, if you’re not already a developer then you should be learning to code, right?

I think sometimes people underestimate the gap between the first step of learning the basics of how to code and how it works, to doing work like that of our professional team of developers here at reInteractive.

When attending startup events or talking to friends, it seems as if deciding to learn how to code is a split second decision, “Oh yeah, I think I’ll learn to code.” And yes, that does sound great! You get to cut out the middle man, which is a huge expense and you don’t have to rely on anyone else to get your application built, but is it as easy as that? Is that really how it works? Do you know what you’re in for when you set yourself this challenge?

In today’s world, everyone expects to be given results in an instant. There is an expectation that developers and engineers can create new technologies with ease, there will be no bumps in the road or hoops to jump through. It’s as if it just happens, just like that, magic! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard the words “you’re a good developer, can’t you just build that app in a weekend?”

Many of us have a lot more to learn than we might think! Of course, you should learn to code, but maybe we should learn how it all works first. Have you heard anybody say, “you’re a good builder, can’t you build that house in a weekend?” Maybe they can build a house in a weekend, but I very much doubt it would be one that you’d like to live in. We should be learning the basics, getting an understanding of what goes into developing software, understanding the need for developing the proper architecture, and ensuring proper robustness and scalability.

Maybe we can take what we know and hack something together in a short time, but if we could all just program with ease, there would be no need for a company like reInteractive. But, we can’t and there is! It takes a huge amount of commitment, practice and learning to become a great developer.

Our Developer Geoff Hodgson compares learning to program with learning another latin-based language. He says, "you can learn the basics and get by, but to use it in a professional manner requires an immersive experience. Working as a programmer is like going to live in the country using the foreign language. Somewhere between 'this is impossible' and 'this is easy' are many moments of forcible practicality where understanding is the only path in front of you."

So, should YOU be learning to code? Yes, everyone should be! With more and more of our daily lives spent using technology, I think it’s extremely important for us to know what actually goes into the products we’re using and how they actually work. We've even made it easy for you to get started with our InstallFest tutorials guides. Should YOU become a Developer? Now, that’s a different question.

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