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National Coding Week 2021 - Experts Reflect

National Coding Week is a time to celebrate the growing impact of coding across all organizations and encourage people of all ages to get involved and pick up a skill that can potentially be a crucial asset in the coming years.

Coding has been especially crucial in the past year and a half. The COVID-19 pandemic has further proven the importance of software, as organizations of all sizes have been working remotely. Professional coders work long hours to ensure that work can efficiently continue remotely.

Below are comments from established tech experts. Each expert shares their unique experiences with coding and how it has impacted their career. 

Agnes Schliebitz-Ponthus, VP, product, Fluent Commerce

"Code has become ubiquitous in all aspects of our lives. Scarcely any part of any human life is not dependent directly or indirectly on code. Beyond the traditional understanding of what code is, with the many programming languages, frameworks, underlying systems, connectedness, the variety of purpose and scale; the art of coding goes beyond the ability to write code in a skillful way. The multitude of domains now relying on software engineering, and thus coders, have dramatically expanded from infrastructure as code and machine learning to blockchain and cloud computing.

 In an ecommerce environment, which Fluent Commerce operates in, the competition to gain and keep online customers is high. The services provided by those in coding job roles have become a key success factor for retailers. The variety of problems to solve with code are boundless: tracking and keeping tally of physical inventory across a network of multi-regional physical locations, smart routing of orders leveraging machine learning, efficient User Interfaces for associates to pick pack and dispatch orders in store and real-time personalised availability visible on a multitude of sales and demand channels.

Coding skills can also complement another domain expertise you may have. For example as a UX/UI designer you can easily learn some Javascript and use the plethora of frameworks and low-code platforms out there to create a website, a web app or any other digital piece. Coding adds another string to your bow but ultimately it's the combination of your existing domain expertise and your ability to code which will make you so much more than the sum of your parts.

National Coding Week is an opportunity to shine a light on how important and how much fun it is to learn to code and take an interest in technology as the world around us constantly evolves. Learning to code is very much accessible to anyone willing to try."

Svenja de Vos, CTO, Leaseweb Global 

"Every year National Coding Week provides an opportunity for tech companies to do more to showcase the benefits of a career in software development. You're never too young or too old to code, and it is important to widen future pools of developers in order to help close the tech skills gap. 

The world needs talented coders and software professionals now more than ever.  Especially in the last year and a half, coding has become essential to daily life by allowing organizations to continue business operations in the face of the pandemic. Every single day, software developers come up with innovative apps that are helping to revolutionize a variety of industries. Dedicating a full week to promoting coding will hopefully influence many to further develop their skill."

Jeff Keyes, VP of product marketing and strategy, Plutora

"Earlier in my career, we were often criticized because every demo of ours included the line "with just a few lines of code." Ironically, that mentality is commonplace now, showing how far we've come in how we think about software development and its significance. Everything has a software defined component now, and it shows in the way the world operates today. None of that would be possible without the expert coders working tirelessly to provide top-of-the-line software and infrastructure to their organizations.

Written code has become the foundation of every organization, no matter the size, in a rapidly and constantly changing software landscape. A skilled team of coders is imperative to not only building that foundation, but also to put businesses in the best possible position to thrive. Coding has become much more than just the developer language of tech. It's the language of business and in turn, the language of success."

Paul Farrington, chief product officer, Glasswall

"There is an abundance of choice and diversity in how a developer can leverage software components, cloud services and deployment patterns today. There's probably never been a more exciting time to create software. Although, because there is so much freedom of choice for developers, with this comes a degree of security risk. 

Development teams will usually use open-source components or frameworks to help accelerate the speed at which software can be written. The good news is that according to Snyk, the number of open-source projects impacted by intentionally malicious vulnerabilities is relatively low. In comparison, 115,000 projects have been hit by only a very small handful of accidental vulnerabilities, named Prototype Pollution, which target JavaScript projects - nearly 27% overall. Malware authors are generally still targeting organisations with business document-based threats like PDF, Word or Excel. Of course, attackers will use any vector they can to breach the organisation.

For developers, a simple but crucial first step in securing code is to turn on automated scanning of third-party components, so that any vulnerable code is flagged immediately. There are plenty of cost-effective software composition analysis (SCA) solutions available for this, and some are free.

One of the most important aspects of software development when it comes to achieving 'secure by design,'  is to ensure developers have the tools they need at the time they are writing code, as they are still in-context. Deploying security tools sometime after, when a developer may have closed their laptop for the day, or even completed the whole project, is far too late. 

Where a vulnerability is detected, the developer should be given an immediate solution to address the issue. Development should demand this from their security tooling. This may seem obvious, but far too often, security solutions are great at identifying problems but don't always provide adequate help towards a resolution. During National Coding Week, my message to security teams is to be a solution architect, not a problem-architect. This is the heart of our philosophy at Glasswall. By giving users a ready-formed solution that returns files to a known-safe form, rather than just identifying a problem, you can minimise risk whilst avoiding being slowed down by security." 

Samantha Humphries, head of security strategy, EMEA at Exabeam

"Access to digital skills is a crucial enabler of digital transformation, fuelling increased demand for people with the skills to manage evolving technologies such as AI and cloud. Despite a growing reliance on digital skills, the industry continues to battle a stubborn skills gap, with the UK heading towards a ‘catastrophic' digital skills shortage disaster. This year, National Coding Week falls at a critical time. Experts suggest digital skills are vital to economic recovery following the pandemic, however, participation in digital skills training has fallen, with the number of young people taking IT A-Levels, further education courses and apprenticeships all declining. 

It is a responsibility the industry must shoulder as one, putting the spotlight on skills and working together to encourage the next generation of IT pros and coders. 

National Coding Week serves as a great way to promote the importance of coding skills and to help encourage young people, especially young women, to pursue a career in technology. Only 31% of UK tech jobs are held by women, which makes looking for skills in an all-but untapped female talent pool an obvious part of the solution. By encouraging women and girls with the possibilities of education and career in technology, we can help address the skills shortage by introducing new perspectives and problem-solving skills to the industry."

Published Friday, September 17, 2021 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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