In today’s tech-savvy world, computing is regarded as a form of literacy, and it isn’t limited to programmers. “Learn to Code” is n ow a common mantra at all levels of education. But, have you ever taken a moment to understand the importance of learning to code? Where exactly does coding take us?
It’s a no-brainer that not everyone can be a software engineer or cybersecurity expert. Every modern office has a computer or laptop, which it uses to run daily operations. Computers have become a significant productivity booster due to their ability to support a range of apps and products. Nevertheless, open-source and commercial software programs come with an inherent “last mile” problem; they cannot automate every conceivable task.
Lots of chores require repetitive tasks such as typing and clicking. Such tasks require all hands on deck due to the lack of software to automate them. Furthermore, these tasks tend to be too specific to the organization’s workflow, thus requiring you to have a custom solution.
Programming and Automation
Programming skills can help you come up with custom solutions to tasks that require automation. Gaining some basic coding knowledge will allow you to write small scripts for undertaking these tasks, thus saving you hours of effort. Although software programs such as Excel come with programmable macros, they can’t help you fully automate workplace tasks.
Coding in an advanced programming language such as Python puts you in a better position to automate tasks. Despite having a hard-to-understand reputation, programming is akin to driving a car. Indeed, you will be a little nervous when taking your license examination, but soon enough, you’ll get the hang of it and become a master programmer.
Tasks that You Can Automate Using Programming Languages
Here are the six categories of tasks that you can automate if you have coding skills.
1. Gathering and Formatting Data
You can use a programming language to program computers in the office to do text pattern matching. Regardless of how long you’ve been manually collecting and formatting data, you’ll always make mistakes. On the other hand, a laptop can easily gather the data you need faster than manually perusing a document. For instance, Python comes with several modules for gathering data from Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, websites, and CSV files. Using it to collect and format data is much better than copying and pasting the data manually.
2. Customizing Instructions
After using a computer for a while, you’ll get to learn several keyboard shortcuts. However, these shortcuts tend to be fixed. Now, imagine how awesome it would be to create your keyboard shortcuts. This is possible if you can write a program that can execute existing programs to control the mouse and keyboard for you. When you have such a trick in the bag, you’ll save a lot of time and effort in the long run.
3. Mass File Operations
It’s easy to copy files to a flash drive. However, not all file operations are straightforward. For instance, if you’re asked to rename hundreds of files and add a prefix to the file name, the task will undoubtedly be challenging. However, you can effortlessly perform such tasks if you understand a programming language. You can write programs to copy, rename, move, compress, or delete files according to specific criteria with basic programming knowledge.
4. Automated Checking
Checking text for typos may sound like a simple task. However, it won’t be easy if you have hundreds of files to peruse. Eyeballing large volumes of text is not only error-prone but also tedious. With a programming language, you can automate this task by writing scripts for the missing data or any data that does not fit the valid text pattern. This way, you can free yourself from the tedious chores.
Everyone has had the experience of refreshing their browsers while waiting for webpages to update the information they need. Computers can perform such waiting-in-line tasks and send you email or SMS notifications when the data is ready. You can develop a program to read the webpage every few seconds to check for updates without your input.
Compiling reports is a tedious chore. Fortunately, you can automate the gathering and formatting of information using a report-generating program. The program can create regular reports, while your code can email the reports to those who need them. This way, you will have fully automated the process of creating and sending reports within the organization.
Your computer is a powerful tool that you can leverage to automate tasks if you understand a programming language. If the idea of automation excites you, but you feel a little underprepared, consider learning Python. It’s one of the most popular coding languages for beginners to learn. Check out coding boot camps and courses, but don’t forget to search for financial aid and discounts before you pay. Scholarships are available for everyone, from college students to veterans.