Here's Why Anyone Will Be Able to Develop a Computer Program 5 Years from Now

These days, while our grandparents struggle endearingly to send a text message or compose an email, we struggle to remember that the use of computers and smartphones wasn’t always intuitive.

Though we understand on an intellectual level that such objects are foreign to them, it’s hard to internalize; after all, most of us caught on to laptops and smartphones as soon as they became the standard.

But a few decades from now, will we be those clueless grandparents? Just as it’s become so natural and intuitive to use computer software, will our children and our children’s children think it’s equally as natural and intuitive to build it?

Back in high school and college, most of us tended to distance ourselves from the field of coding, assuming that it required too much specialized knowledge to tackle on even an elementary level. But that’s no longer the case today. Coding could easily become mainstream in the next few years, and we’ll probably all need to jump onboard regardless of our levels of experience.

Coding is more accessible than ever

Although self-taught coding isn’t new, it’s become easier and more realistic for the everyday person. Decades ago, teaching yourself coding was tedious and required an enormous amount of effort. You had to sort through physical textbooks and copy problem sets by hand, without many resources or available mentors to help you if you got stuck.

Nowadays, it’s different. First, there are more online coding courses available than anyone could count. Since each has a different approach, it’s easy to find ones that are suited for particular learning styles. The ever-popular Khan Academy offers coding courses with periodic mini-quizzes that students can use to test themselves and stay on track. Another program, Skillcrush, offers one-on-one office hours with the professor, as well as a 10-day coding bootcamp for those short on time.

Many of these courses are also specialized for individual skill levels and needs. While there are always those that cater to advanced coders, more and more are serving beginning coders, including older folks and kids.

Second, there are plenty of online resources to facilitate the coding process and supplement these courses. With the explosion of social media and the popularity of online forums, it’s easier than ever to connect with other coders and potential mentors for help. There are even sites that are intended specifically for this. HackHands, for example, makes programming experts available for live online chats 24/7.

Third, the coding process itself is also easier. No longer is it necessary to create simple units of code from scratch. Instead, existing bits of commonly used code components are accessible through open-source platforms like Bit. This means that rather than create each individual piece of code by hand, developers of all levels can put together lego-like building blocks of code, share their code with others, and use it across different projects.

These tools can serve as the infrastructure for building new applications with a simple composition of existing components. Since code is easier than ever to learn and requires less and less specialized knowledge to build, anyone will be able to create their own computer programs in the next few years.

Coding as a practical skill

The significance of all this is not just that programming will be more convenient for developers or even aspiring coding hobbyists. Even more importantly, the availability, accessibility, and increasing popularity of programming means that coding soon will become a mainstream practical skill–one that doesn’t require a university education to acquire.

This is about employability as much as it is about convenience. In the United States, university tuition is notoriously expensive. These days, the cost of private university courses, room, and board can amount to $ 60,000 per year. At the same time, American jobs are increasingly outsourced to countries with cheap labor. The result is that many Americans lack the basic practical skills so important to the American workforce. Instead, they invest in a strictly academic education which, though valuable, is notoriously expensive.

Now that it’s particularly vital for Americans to develop practical skills and now that university education is more expensive than most can afford, widespread knowledge of coding as a basic practical skill is both beneficial and feasible. The gig economy has made modern jobs more fluid and flexible than they were a few decades ago; career shifts and alternative forms of education are not only easier to pursue, but they’re also more culturally acceptable than they once were.

This isn’t to say that self-taught coding should replace traditional forms of higher education. Rather, it’s to say that it could be a viable option for people who can’t afford the high cost of a formal university education, who don’t have access to institutions of higher education at all, or who simply want to eliminate the pressure of having to pursue a degree in a technical field.

Learning to code, after all, is just as inexpensive as it is accessible, and it’s becoming increasingly standard to pursue on the side. In just a few years, building a computer program will be as normal as using one.

Tech

Future Versions of the Apple iPhone Could Take a Cue From Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Apple’s iPad Pro might not be alone.

Future version of the Apple iPhone might have a feature you can only find in the company’s iPad Pro tablets.

The tech giant is planning to bring “digital pen” support to iPhones starting in 2019, Korean news outlet The Investor is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company’s plans. Apple is working on the feature now and has already held talks with digital stylus companies to see how the feature might work with a future iPhone update, according to the report, which was earlier discovered by 9to5Mac.

Apple AAPL offers a digital stylus already called the Apple Pencil. However, the accessory, which is about the size of a real pencil, is only compatible with the company’s iPad Pro. Apple Pencil allows users to digitally “write” on the iPad Pro’s screen to annotate and sign documents, and take notes. Apple Pencil costs $ 99.

Apple’s chief competitor in the smartphone market, Samsung, has offered a digital stylus with its Galaxy Note line of devices for years. Its most recent smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8, similarly comes with the company’s S Pen stylus.

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While some customers have called on Apple to offer a stylus, the company has been loath to do so after late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said when the iPhone was announced in 2007 that touch input is far superior to stylus input. And each time Apple has been called on to consider a stylus, the company has balked.

However, in recent years, Apple patents have surfaced that point to the company at least considering a stylus for its iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook also said last year in an interview with Apple-tracking site Daring Fireball that “if you’ve ever seen what can be created with that Pencil on an iPad or an iPhone, it’s really unbelievable.” His comment ignited speculation that Apple is testing a stylus for the iPhone

Still, Apple has remained silent on possible plans and hasn’t discussed bringing Apple Pencil to any other devices. And it’s also worth noting that two years is a long time in the technology industry. And although Apple might be considering iPhone stylus support for 2019, things can change and the concept could be scrapped without much notice.

Apple did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment on the report.

Tech

Former Equifax chief will face questions from U.S. Congress over hack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are due to question the former head of Equifax Inc (EFX.N) at a Tuesday hearing that could shed light on how hackers accessed the personal data of more than 140 million consumers.

Richard Smith retired last week but the 57-year-old executive will answer for the breach that the credit bureau acknowledged in early September.

Late Monday, Equifax said an independent review had boosted the number of potentially affected U.S. consumers by 2.5 million to 145.5 million.

In March, the U.S. Homeland Security Department alerted Equifax to an online gap in security but the company did nothing, said Smith.

“The vulnerability remained in an Equifax web application much longer than it should have,” Smith said in remarks prepared for delivery on Tuesday. “I am here today to apologize to the American people myself.”

Smith will face the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday but there will be three more such hearings this week.

Equifax keeps a trove of consumer data for banks and other creditors who want to know whether a customer is likely to default.

The cyber-hack has been a calamity for Equifax which has lost roughly a quarter of its stock market value and seen several top executives step down alongside Smith.

Smith’s replacement, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., has also apologized for the hack and said the company will help customers freeze their credit records and monitor any misuse.

There has been a public outcry about the breech but no more than 3.0 percent of consumers have frozen their credit reports, according to research firm Gartner, Inc.

Smith said hackers tapped sensitive information between mid-May and late-July.

Security personnel noticed suspicious activity on July 29 and disabled web application a day later, ending the hacking, Smith said. He said he was alerted the following day, but was not aware of the scope of the stolen data.

On Aug. 2, the company alerted the FBI and retained a law firm and consulting firm to provide advice. Smith notified the board’s lead director on Aug. 22.

Patrick Rucker contributed from Washington; editing by Clive McKeef.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Building A Smart Home From Scratch

Over on Wareable, for the last 20 weeks I’ve been documenting my experience with building a smart home from scratch. I bought a run-down house and, when it was being renovated and decorated, I also took the opportunity to seamlessly install as much smart tech as possible, while at the same time future-proofing it for what’s still to come with the connected home.


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Santa Rosa Consulting Achieves Recognition from Modern Healthcare as…

Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work recognizes in the healthcare industry outstanding employers like Santa Rosa, who nurture and sustain the very best working environments and growth opportunities…

(PRWeb July 15, 2016)

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Time Capsule Mystery From 1938 Solved With the Help of 93-Year-Old Man

Time capsules are usually pretty boring. And most people would probably call the latest time capsule that was unearthed in Ohio pretty dull. It contained just a single photo of a middle school class in 1938 and some lists of students. But for one 93-year-old man, that capsule is a reminder that life can be pretty ok sometimes.

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Nvidia chief downplays challenge from Google’s AI chip

Nvidia has staked a big chunk of its future on supplying powerful graphics chips used for artificial intelligence, so it wasn’t a great day for the company when Google announced two weeks ago that it had built its own AI chip for use in its data centers.

Google’s Tensor Processing Unit, or TPU, was built specifically for deep learning, a branch of AI through which software trains itself to get better at deciphering the world around it, so it can recognize objects or understand spoken language, for example.

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