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Why are coding skills essential in today’s tech-driven world?

Office space at Manchester Science Park

National Coding Week is all about raising awareness of the opportunities and career paths that can come through learning new digital skills, especially when it comes to learning and using code. 

Code is used across all industries; from the building blocks of apps and websites to the creation of new software, digital services and medical devices.

Across the Bruntwood SciTech network, our campuses are home to many pioneering and disruptive businesses, from startups through to global names, mastering and leading the way with code in ways that will change and shape the future of the science and tech sector. 

We caught up with some of these coders are techies to hear their thoughts on why coding and digital skills are so important… 

1. Why is coding such an exciting part of the tech industry? 

Ruth Ng from multi-award winning coding school Northcoders said: “We're at a time in history where technology is defining what it means to be human. What better industry is there to help play a part in building our future? 

“Tech is constantly moving and evolving, which makes it a genuinely exciting place to work in. And, more than ever, it's crucial that the tech that defines us is built by people from all walks of life. In a post-COVID world, the tech industry is one of the few set to continue thriving, and it isn't hard to see why given how central it is for progression in all industries, everywhere.”

2. So why is coding and programming such an important skill to have today?

Misbah Gedal - Head of Partnerships at Manchester-based Wakelet said: “Coding is a great skill to have. In today’s world, it’s the foundation of all forms of technology and requires plenty of creativity, persistence and resourcefulness. 

“Amongst the obvious benefits, coding also empowers you to explore other elements of tech. It helps you become more digitally fluent, allows you to pursue a passion, and boosts problem solving and logical skills. The required collaboration with different team members and stakeholders also improves interpersonal skills!“If you're a talented developer and are prepared to put the hard work in, you should be excited – you’re in very high demand!”

3. Coders must have a team of people behind them to help get to the end product. How many skills and roles are required in getting to a  final app or service?

Wakelet’s Misbah commented: “At Wakelet we have a diverse team of people with different skill sets and backgrounds working together to build the best platform for our users. These include product owners, business analysts, project managers, UI & UX designers, front-end and backend developers, app developers, infrastructure engineers, quality assurance engineers and marketing specialists. 

“Solid skill sets are only one aspect of building great products. Strong teams also need effective communication skills, a strong culture, shared goals, clear roles and responsibilities, and creative freedom and independence. All of this needs to be coordinated and orchestrated to make sure we work together as efficiently as possible to build the best platform possible!” 

4. What are the most important skills to consider in coding?

Located at Alderley Park in Cheshire, Ciaran Jessup - Head of Engineering at Lokulus says: “One of the most important qualities in a coder is an enquiring mind. It's not enough to accept that something is broken, you need to have a burning desire to find out why something is broken (or how to create something from a blank page) and a want to make it work better.

“At times coding can be a frustrating profession where you're challenging your mind against the unknown but if you've got the determination to succeed, when success comes (and it always does) the feeling of achieving something with your team-mates is unrivalled. Taking an idea from someone's imagination and making it real is a truly empowering experience.”

5. How can the city you're located in and the communities around you help to get more people coding?

Al Dossetter, Managing Director of Medchemica at Alderley Park said: “There is a great history of computing in the North West. Manchester is a magnet for internet based companies and high performance banking and security computing. We often ask experts in these areas for pointers if we have a system to optimise and they are very willing to help.” 

Ruth Ng from Northcoders added: “In Manchester and Leeds we're right in the centre of the beating heart of the city – and we love it. We've built a cutting-edge campus at Circle Square and Platform, surrounded by other extremely creative tech businesses, so there's no better place to feel inspired. It all feels very symbiotic.”

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