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Lots of students who don’t think of themselves as future programmers may ask, why do I have to learn coding? What is coding for? As our world continues to digitize – and it is, rapidly – having the skills to work with computer code is becoming more important and, thus, more valuable in the job market.

It’s not that everybody needs to become a programmer, but if you can do at least a little coding, you’re going to be more valuable to a growing number of employers.

One example is Salesforce, a cloud-based application that helps companies organize their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) processes. CRMs have become essential tools for sales and marketing. In essence, Salesforce helps salespeople organize their contacts and their outreach efforts, making it faster and easier to track and contact prospects, orchestrate campaigns, track where various prospects are in the pipeline and keep those prospects interested. Companies now post specific job titles for Salesforce-related skills.

As an indication of where coding is heading, the latest iteration of Salesforce offers a way for non-developers – salespeople, managers, and so on – to assemble pre-made chunks of code into applications that can be useful to people in sales and the business world.

That’s why, as our research shows, the demand for coding skills is spreading throughout jobs far beyond IT. In fact, nearly half of all jobs in the top income quartile now request coding skills.  The data contained in our report are drawn from 26 million U.S. online job postings collected in 2015 and have been analyzed to determine the specific jobs and skills that employers are seeking.

The report, which we prepared for Oracle Academy, shows that coding skills are reshaping the job market in multiple ways:

They’re more in demand: Seven million job openings in 2015 were in occupations that value coding skills. This corresponds to 20% of “career track” jobs, defined as those which pay a national living wage of at least $15 per hour.

Coding is particular valuable to candidates across five major job categories:

  • Data Analysis
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Programming and Information Technology

Coding provides a salary premium: Jobs requiring coding skills pay $22,000 per year more than jobs that don’t: $84,000 vs $62,000 per year. (This analysis includes only “career track” jobs.)

Demand for coding skills is growing faster than the job market overall: In general, programming jobs are growing 50% faster than the market overall.

This has implications for people in the job market, college students and colleges themselves, and for school counselors and K-12 students alike.

To learn more about the demand for coding skills and the answers to the question “what is coding for?” download our report.

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