Posted on

Why you should start programming

If you’re an audio professional, and you don’t know how to write a single line of code – I’m going to start helping you out in the very near future.

Before I get into that, though — I recognize that even the idea of starting to code is daunting if you’re new to it.  Even if you’ve been coding a while, Reascript (what I’ll be covering soon) is a whole new set of resources to learn.

So we start with the foundation: Why should you even start?

Why should you start learning to code?

There are so many reasons why you should learn to code, that there’s no way I can cover them all.  As computers are ubiquitous, everyone should know how to write programs — just like you learn to write and type.

1. You can take control of the machine, and make your life easier

IFTT is a great resource that can instantly teach you one of the most basic foundations of programming logic, and give you that “oooohhh” moment where you begin to realize the potential programming can have in your life.

The name IFTT stands for IThis, Then That.  It allows you to hook a ridiculous amount of websites and services together, where if you get a trigger action (it’s 7am) then something automatically happens (you’re texted today’s weather).  Now imagine if you didn’t have to wait for a service to be added to IFTTT to do something like that.  What if a program you use is never going to show up on IFTTT — now we’re talking.

By looking at something as simple as texting and the weather, you can get an idea how routine things can be knocked out with some simple programming.  Or, you can get more complex too — like I’m working on a program to bring a type of audio workflow to software where it doesn’t currently exist.  That will make at least a handful of people’s lives easier!

2. You learn more about how the world around you works

So I know it seems like it, but the smartphone in your hand or next to you isn’t actually voodoo magic.  It’s complicated, sure.  It took a lot of minds working together to make it real — but it’s not magic.

When you learn to program, you also learn the basics of how things are currently processed around you.  Most people are in agreement about some sort of doomsday scenario where robots take over (thanks, Terminator).  Regardless of if that specific scenario is real — what is real is that technology is quickly becoming the backbone of everything.

I used to help design infrastructure for buildings, and one of the hottest groups in that sector today is technology simply due to the fact that tech is now the brain that runs the building.  A building’s AC, communications, video, phone, emergency systems — they all rely on telecommunications infrastructure.  Someone somewhere has programmed software that tells the building how to function.

If you know just even basic programming — you’ll begin to see how it connects you, and the rest of the world around you.

3. It helps your communication

As more and more people around you are becoming programmers, by learning basic programming you gain the ability to communicate better with those people.

I’m no super engineer.  I spent a bit of time in school, but mostly I’ve compiled tons of resources over many years and learned what I needed to in order to make what I wanted to make.  I started with websites, and today I’m interpreting API’s from my favorite programs and I’m trying to make them talk to each other.

Simply because of my effort, I have a basic vocabulary where I can turn to a legitimate software engineer and clearly express that I could use their help in getting something built.  Not only that, but I don’t become a loss for words when we start talking about the details of user interaction.  With a few conversations, I suddenly become very valuable, stress reducing for the engineer, and a part of building something special — even if I’m not programming it.

You can also become a “translator” or liaison of sorts.  If someone you work with knows you “speak code” but can’t find a common language with an engineer, you become incredibly indispensable for your teammates.

4. You can build cool shit

You’ve played with Legos, right?  Or colored by numbers?

So how fun is it to simply follow the instructions or color within the lines?  Sure, it starts out neat – you get a pretty cool sculpture or piece of art at the end.  But once you do that a few times it gets really boring.

If you learn how to code — the instructions go away.  If you can envision it or someone comes at you with a problem, you can solve it.

That’s incredibly powerful and exciting.

All that being said.  Tomorrow I’m going to argue why Reascript is the perfect thing to start coding if you’re into audio and have limited or zero knowledge.  From there, we’ll actually get into writing the code itself.

Hope you come along!

Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.