12 Ways You Can Change The World With Code

Written by NEXT Academy
Posted on 15 July 2016 in Coding, Entrepreneurship

They say you can change the world with code, but how?

When President Barack Obama unveiled his “Computer Science For All” initiative (that aims to give every US student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job ready from day one) earlier this year, it was a clear sign to the world on the benefits of learning to code.

Coding is set to be an essential skill for the job market of the future.

He said:

“We live in a time of extraordinary change, change that’s affecting the way we live and the way we work. New technology replaces any job where work can be automated.  Workers need more skills to get ahead. These changes aren’t new, and they’re only going to accelerate.  So the question we have to ask ourselves is, ‘How can we make sure everyone has a fair shot at success in this new economy?’”

The answer, according to him, is coding and a computer science education.

So What Are The Benefits Of Learning To Code?

engineers change world
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Even today, many aspects of our modern lives are already being powered by software, which are in turn governed by code, a result made possible by people learning to code and applying their skills to build such software.

Our banking system, entertainment systems, tv-sets, social media accounts and mobile phones are all in some way or another powered by software written by people who’ve learnt how to code. Code plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, most of us just haven’t realised the immense impact it has on how we live our lives yet.

Knowing this, learning to code is one of the wisest choices you can make.

With the ability to code, you’ll have the power to change the world!

Here’s how:

1. Build Apps That Solve Simple Problems

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If you have an idea that could make your daily life simpler, you could probably build it once you’ve learnt how to code. So many successful apps and platforms out there have been built just because their builders wanted to solve a small problem they faced in their daily lives.

Getting Tasks Done

Concierge and services startups like Magic, GoGet and BeLaze help you get everyday tasks done. They allow you to get someone to run your errands or offer you much needed services just by a click of a button.

Order Goods Online

If you’re too lazy to do your groceries, you could also order them online from platforms such as HappyFresh or NeonRunner.

If you’re too lazy to get lunch or dinner, you could simply order them from food delivery startups like CookedApp, DahMakan or NakedLunchBox!

Organise Your Schedule

With our busy modern schedules, most of us probably wouldn’t be able to survive without a schedule planning app of some sort. Most of our meetings and appointments are likely synced across all our devices through something like Google Calendars.

All these amazing tools wouldn’t be possible without code and the people who’ve learnt how to code!

2. Build Apps That Provide Entertainment

If you’re bored or in desperate need of some entertainment, you could also build your own game, or whatever you think is fun!

Flappy Bird

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Apps like the highly addictive and viral phenomenon that is Flappy Bird is one such example! It’s actually a relatively simple app that you could build once you’ve started learning how to code!

There were even reports that the person who built Flappy Bird was making 50,000 USD a day off ads!

See, there are plenty of benefits to learning how to code!

Angry Birds

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Before Flappy Bird, Angry Birds was a another good example. The game even got made into a full length movie that was released this year! Not mentioning the merchandise that came along with it!

All Sorts Of Games

If you’re the sort who always has crazy game ideas “spawning” in your mind from time to time, perhaps it’s time to start learning how to code so you can turn your games into reality!

Who knows, one of them might be the next big hit!

3. Build Solutions That Solve Global Problems

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If you’re the kind who would truly like to change the world and make it a better place, then learning how to code will give you the chops to do it.

Rethinking Existing Solutions

Once you understand what can be done with code, software, and the various technologies that are coming up, you’ll be able to rethink existing solutions and find solutions that are much better.

Facebook – Connecting People

For example, Facebook changed the way we connect with people and stay in touch with our friends by building a social graph. In the past, we used to have to go to each other’s houses to look at each other’s photo albums.

Nowadays, all we have to do is to upload our photos and tag each other on facebook.

Google – Organising The World’s Information

In a past not too long ago, we used to have to look up thick directories to find where restaurants are located. Today, with google, we can, well, just google!

Uber – Transportation

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Just a few years ago, we would have to queue up or jostle to hail a cab. Today, with uber, you can do exactly that with just a few taps of a button.

That’s not all, you can also track your ride’s whereabouts and time your exit right to the T.

This, together with the advent of autonomous and electric cars, makes one wonder whether people will ever have the need to own cars anymore!

Airbnb – Accommodation

In the past, we had to put up at overpriced, over commercialised and overbooked hotels whenever we travelled. Today, with airbnb, you can stay at almost any neighbourhood you want and have a truly local experience!

Whatsapp, Snapchat & Virtual Reality – Communication

It wasn’t that long ago that people used to carry around beepers, or had to remember telephone numbers to make a call. Today, via the various communication tools that are available, we communicate in mediums and ways that allow us to express and share our experiences like never before!

4. Algorithms That Make Processes More Efficient

algo
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While learning how to code, you’ll naturally be exposed to writing algorithms.

Logistics Services

Algorithms can help streamline and make many tideous processes more efficient. An algorithm can calculate the shortest route for trucks to take and significantly lower the costs of logistic operations by calculating the most efficient way to deliver goods across the world.

The same can also done for sales processes and sorting mechanisms, and you can contribute to all these if you learn how to code.

5. Programs That Analyse Data & Discover Trends

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Many significant discoveries have been made in recent years by software that traverse vast amounts of data in search for trends or patterns that might point to a solution or give us clues to how complex global truths work.

Learning From Big Data

With the vast amount of user-generated data on the internet today and the troves of data collected over years of scientific research from various fields, there are plenty of secrets that have yet to be unlocked that could be unlocked with algorithms and code.

If only everyone learnt to code and worked on these algorithms together, we could potentially discover groundbreaking things that could help us better understand global warming, future population trends and social behaviour.

6. Software That Makes Automation Possible

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Another benefit of learning how to code is that you would be able to write programs for machines that would help automate a lot of things that we humans would otherwise have to do.

Robotics

Robotic arms and processing lines in factories all rely on code and software for instructions on how to operate. Code governs how data from sensors are interpreted and how the machine maneuvers and performs tasks depending on the circumstances.

Freeing Up Our Time

Such automation will free up more time for us humans to spend on cooking up new innovations that would catapult the human race forward. It would also free us from being bogged down by hard manual labour that we’d otherwise have to do.

This would give us more free time and a better quality of life.

7. Write Programs That Work With Hardware

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Imagine having the power to control the objects around you.

Well, after learning how to code, you’ll be able to do just that.

Internet Of Things

The world of technology is now moving towards this new sector known as the Internet Of Things, or IoT, which is basically the integration of software and the internet into everyday objects like watches, tv-sets, home appliances as well as various industrial grade machines.

NEST & Smart Home Concepts

The engineers at NEST (that was acquired by Google) are hard at work to make smart home concepts a reality. Imagine your home appliances adjusting to your mood and schedules, playing the right music and tv shows as you enter your house and pre-heating your food for you while you’re still on your way back from work.

Self-Driving Cars

Tesla and Google have already proven the viability of the self-driving car. The last we heard, Uber wants in on the game too. As more and more people learn how to code and work on these problems, these systems will just get better and better.

Efficient Production Lines

Connecting heavy industrial machinery to the cloud to optimise their output would also make production lines more efficient and keep manufacturing costs of goods low.

Drones

If you’re serious about learning how to code, you might one day be able to write software for drones that can deliver packages, serve on search and rescue missions or keep track on progress on huge construction sites.

8. Write Software That Contribute To Advancements In Biotechnology

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Code is also revolutionising the field of medicine and helping to prolong life and make life better for those with disabilities.

Bionics & Prosthetics

Paired with neurosensors and advanced robotics, patients can now have bionic limbs that they can control and perform tasks with. To decipher the complex electrical signals from our nervous system and turn them into clear instructions that could be understood and performed by a bionic arm, plenty of code is required.

DNA Sequencing

Once, you’ve learnt to code, you can also change the world by performing more research on the human genome, which is essentially the code that controls how our biological body works, to see if you can find any medical breakthroughs or cures for diseases.

9. Write Software That Contribute To Major Advancements In Physics

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Software and code also plays a pivotal role in the advancement of fields such as nanotechnology as code is being used to simulate physical models at a nano level with hopes of learning more about how things work at that level.

Any breakthroughs at that level could lead to amazing things such as teleportation or the technology to harness more energy from atoms.

10. Help Advance Rocket & Space Technology

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Without code and algorithms, Elon Musk wouldn’t be able to reduce the price of sending payloads into space so significantly by bringing rockets back to earth safely.

Re-live that historical moment again here: 

 

Space X

Cutting edge companies like Space X use a lot of code to optimise the design and manufacturing process of their Falcon 9 rockets, including 3D printing certain components from scratch.

Reusable Rockets

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Once they have successfully manufactured the rockets, there is still the extremely difficult task of steering and manoeuvring the rocket safely back to earth and landing it precisely on a floating boat in the ocean.

That would take a lot of computing power and advanced code to constantly make millions of minor adjustments to steer the rocket safely back to earth’s surface without crashing.

11. Advance Our Understanding Of The Universe

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If you’re interested in space exploration and understanding the cosmos, you can also venture into astronomy after learning how to code. Of course, you would have to be one of the best to get into institutions like NASA or research labs who use code to model constellations and calculate distances between celestial objects or nuclear activity on the surface of stars.

12. Advance A.I. & Machine Learning

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Although this field can turn out to be slightly dangerous if not approached with caution and appropriate safeguards, artificial intelligence and machine learning could help accelerate human knowledge by a significant margin. This is because they would expedite data analysis and the process making potentially game-changing discoveries.

Companies with huge amounts of data like Google and Facebook are already investing heavily in it. One of the many benefits of learning how to code is that you might one day be good enough to join them in the endeavour.

BONUS UPDATE: Build The Next Pokemon Go App

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Unless you’ve been living under a tree, you’ll know that Pokemon Go has taken over the world just days after it was launched.

It broke all records by being the fastest app to hit the No.1 spot in download charts. It took only 5 hours to do so compared to the super popular and addictive game Clash Royale which took 3 times as long!

Pokemon Go is also now the top grossing game app by daily revenue and is already making 1.6million USD daily just days after it launched! The app managed to hit the No.1 spot on iOS in less than a day compared to Supercell’s Clash Royale which took 2 days.

With the Pokemon Go app and it’s AR technology, pokemons have now truly come to life. You can literally see and catch them on the street and battle with other pokemons!

poke2
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Although it took 20 years for the main guy behind the app to acquire the skills and teams to build it, it wouldn’t be possible for him to build the app if he hadn’t started his journey as a coder.

If you knew how to code, you might be the one who will be building the next Pokemon Go app in the next 5-10 years!

Explore Your Full Potential

As you can see, after learning how to code, there are plenty of things you could do or be involved in that could eventually change the world, or at least have a significant impact on it.

Learning how to code is only the first step to unlocking your full potential to be part of such endeavours. And I guess this is why many people quit their high-paying job to pick up coding skill.

Read next: People Are Quitting High-Paying Jobs To Join Programming Bootcamps. Why?


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