1. It is the “foreign language” of the future.
Forget Chinese and Spanish as being the top two foreign languages students should learn. In a few years we will all be able to have our words be translated automatically to other languages. What we won’t be able to do is have our general thoughts and ideas translated into code. This “language” will be widespread and used by billions of people to actually build the framework and pathways of our future.
2. It will give you an edge in the global workforce.
Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat made us all aware of something that was already happening: people from across the globe competing for college spots and job positions. Learning how to code gives you a skill that employers love, because you can take their ideas and make them into reality. You’ll be able to identify the right pricing for development work, and understand the in’s and out’s of programs/software you may be selling or representing.
3. Make your own path.
If you learn how to code in school, you’ll have many possibilities open for you. But the best possibility is doing something that makes you happy. Maybe even starting your own business, startup, or non-profit. Don’t let others dictate to you what you should be doing with your life.
4. The ability to scratch your itch.
There are many times in high school, college, and at your job when you’ll have to do work that doesn’t particularly interest you. Learning how to code gives you the power to work on a side-project. Paul Graham wrote that he would “treat high school like a day job”. And maybe you’ll one day have that “day job” that doesn’t make your happy or let you follow your passions. Instead of dropping out of school, or quitting the job that is paying your bills, you can work to get something started in your free time. We all have an itch to scratch. A problem that we can solve if only we had to tools and ability. The web is your tool, and coding is your new ability.
If you want to get started coding I’d check out Code.org. It’s a nice jumping point for beginners. I recently started learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails.