This week is National Coding Week – a charitable, volunteer-led attempt to get more people into the digital world by giving them the skills to get into coding.

We recruit for a wide variety of roles that involve a highly-skilled, senior professional level of coding. And with coding being touted as one of the major skills that we should all learn, and with an increasing number of courses available that teach adults to code, it’s clear that the issues around how coding is taught and how it is applied in the workplace are not far removed.

The people behind the initiative neatly represent some of the typical stories that come up when we discuss coding careers. Richard Rolfe, is a web designer who entered the industry in later life – at 49 years old. And Jonathan Channing, left school with no qualifications and was diagnosed with autism aged 19. His life changed when he attended a coding course, and he now owns a web design business. They are the lead volunteers for National Coding Week.

Programmed to code

It’s clear, then, that people from a lot of different backgrounds learn programming languages and end up in the digital world. 

But with some sources saying that only 2% of the world population knowing how to code, and given how integral the skill is to so much of how the world works, it seems that it’s likely that it will soon no longer be a niche skill and will instead become a part of the mainstream education system.

That’s one of the aims of the National Coding Week organisers. Part of their campaign is to bring coding classes to schools, libraries, businesses, meet-ups and everything in between. That, the organiser’s hope, will prompt people to learn how to code properly – well enough to use it in a job. 

Many argue that coding education should be prioritised more than it already is, and taught as part of the school curriculum. And Accenture has said that the tech industry’s struggle to fill job vacancies could cost the UK economy £141 billion in GDP growth. 

But others argue that further education is the wrong solution. Verdict quotes David Wells, vice president and managing director, EMEA at Pegasystems, as saying that there are “not enough teachers, courses, course programmes globally to teach enough people fast enough to keep up with the demand”.

“Think about what could be done if we spent just some of that effort coding software into something that empowers creative thinkers with tools to streamline the time between generating an idea and translating it to an application. Low-code technology makes this possible. Advances in AI make this approach even more powerful,” Wells said.

Most valuable languages

Whatever your take on that debate, for those on the frontline, it seems fairly obvious that for the time being, coding is a supremely useful skill, and that companies value it highly. There are obviously different languages that are preferred for certain uses, but it’s worth looking at the trends and seeing which codes are associated with the highest salaries worldwide. 

According to a Stack Overflow survey, respondents who use Clojure, F#, Elixir, and Rust earn the highest salaries, with median salaries above $70,000 USD. There are regional variations in which languages are associated with the highest pay. Scala developers in the US are among the highest paid, while Clojure and Rust developers earn the most in India.

Stack Overflow found that at the lower end of the scale, Java, C and Assembly were all associated with salaries of $52,000 USD. This is not prescriptive, of course, but it’s worth considering that some languages can earn students more. It’s also worth considering which are the most common and therefore which are most likely to get you a job in the first place.

The team at RedCat Digital know the answers to these questions – they know what big companies use, what they’re looking for, and how to get your foot in the door. 

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