Is there a language more important than English? In many ways, English is the global language of business: it is the dominant language on the internet, it is an official language shared by many major western economies, and it is the number one language that people around the world choose to learn.
But in a world of artificial intelligence and automation, are we forgetting about another essential form of language that influences modern business?
In this article, we consider the importance of coding languages to business success.
What Is a Coding Language?
In a recent article, we talked about binary code – the basis for all computer programming coding languages. It helps to understand how binary code works, because this is what your computer is ‘reading’ when it translates programming commands – it is breaking the coding language into pieces so that it can process the language’s commands.
These types of programming languages may not work exactly like a spoken language, but they do enable us to create websites, command our computers and communicate ideas online. You can even produce written text in a binary code format with the help of character encoding standards such as ASCII and UTF-8 – these enable a string of zeroes and ones to represent something other than a number!
For example, using ASCII:
house = 01101000 01101111 01110101 01110011 01100101
As you can see, this is indeed a long string of numbers: each eight-digit block of binary code stands for just one letter! Even more confusingly, HOUSE and house are different, so binary is definitely case sensitive:
HOUSE = 01001000 01001111 01010101 01010011 01000101
Coding languages go far beyond binary code, however. They are much easier for us to learn and use than trying to work with binary code itself, but they bear no real resemblance to binary (until it is ultimately processed into these manageable pieces by a computer). Coding languages provide user-friendly ways for us to do everything from building a simple website to running complex algorithms on a supercomputer.
Does Your Business Need Coders?
In today’s business world, we all rely on coding in some form or another – whether it is the VoIP technology we use to communicate online, the build of our websites, online stores or distribution networks, or the data storage that we use to keep our businesses running smoothly. We may not need to hire someone in-house to fulfil the role of a software developer or computer programmer, but at many stages of doing business, we will have to rely on the services of others.
A flourishing IT industry staffed by enthusiastic and innovative programmers benefits everyone in business in this digital age. The human element is at least as important as the technological expertise, however. All businesses rely on coding and programmers, but we rely on their very human ingenuity as much as their technical prowess. A coded message across a predictable system will always repeat its results because that is what it is meant to do; however, two different conversations from human to human may cover the same ground but yield wildly different outcomes. Human connection remains the key to creative idea generation, effective communication, and successful relationships.
The Future of Coding for Business
Coding jobs are on the rise: a recent study suggests that there are already 23 million software developers in the world, which is set to increase to 28 million within five years. Coding is also becoming a popular core subject in schools, with even primary school children learning the basics. The reality is that these kinds of IT skills are highly desirable, and it is predicted that in 2020 the EU will be short of around 800,000 skilled IT workers. Much like language skills, IT skills are in high demand.
With coding languages having come so far so fast, the future of running a successful business in an increasingly digital environment is hard to predict. What does seem to be undeniable, however, is the importance of human interaction – something that no amount of machine learning can hope to replace. In this sense, finding ways to communicate that are enhanced but not replaced by technology seems to be the optimal way forward, allowing people to engage on a personal level in a way that will deepen business relationships and develop customer loyalties that go beyond the bottom line.
Spoken Language is Still the Language of Human Connection
Despite our increasingly technological world, spoken languages continue to have their eternal power to connect people, captivate an audience and communicate ideas.
To find out more about how we can help develop your organisation’s international language prowess, please do get in touch.
Whether it is business English, a new language or some additional cross-cultural training, we can provide a bespoke solution to meet your needs.