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Coding: 21st Century Skill For Smarter India

Programming skills will play a significant role in our progress towards a smarter India.

Today's age can be aptly described as the digital age. Not only for high-end technologies such as autonomous driving or space exploration, but we also depend on digital applications and services even for simple day-to-day living, such as using the aadhar card or a CCTV camera or a kitchen appliance, a video chat with a distant relative and booking a cab or a hotel room over a smartphone app. Directly or indirectly, all these applications and services require coding. 

Especially in a country like India, programming skills will play a significant role in our progress towards a smarter India. Consider the workflow of a researcher ten years ago, a researcher could not easily manage multiple computing systems such as a mobile device, a personal laptop, and a server. This was because any work done on one of the devices had to be copied to the other device using hard-disk or pen-drives. The whole workflow was very slow and created issues such as duplication or loss of work. Now, with the proliferation of applications such as file-sharing platforms (e.g. Dropbox), version control systems (e.g. Git), remote desktop software (e.g. TeamViewer), and many other tools for online collaboration and communication, a researcher can work seamlessly with a large, globally-spread team. International collaboration has become a reality. 

There are a plethora of other examples also. Consider how the use of sensors allows waste management workers to gauge the fill levels in garbage bins and send automatic notifications to the city services. How the automatic electronic meter reading equipment has removed the human-error in the reading. How sensors for soil, water, temperature, and humidity have allowed increasing the quality and quantity of agricultural production. How surveillance of rugged terrains will require technologies such as drones.   

Evidently, improvements in crucial infrastructure such as defense, transportation, communication, and healthcare will require software technologies. In fact, if anything, the COVID pandemic has further highlighted the need to have a digital platform for providing every essential service, such as education, financial, utilities, e-commerce, and even medical services. These points underscore the importance of coding as a vital skill for next-generation smart India.  From the perspective of the economy, India's software industry is expected to cross $80 billion by 2025, and thus, the software industry can create a large number of jobs. The software industry will require professionals with coding skills. Indian software professionals are in high demand globally because of their strong programming skills.  

Coding also has another advantage to offer: personal growth. Coding encourages a student to think analytically and pay attention to every detail. It teaches them to separate peripheral or irrelevant details from the core logic and translate them into a disciplined form of expression that a computer can understand. In fact, coding was previously assumed to be a skill useful only for computer science students. But now, a whole range of industry and research-fields demand coding as the must-have skill.   

No wonder all these factors have already promoted coding as the fourth cornerstone to education, after reading, writing and arithmetic.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house



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