Tshering Cigay Dorji leads Thimphu TechPark, Bhutan’s first IT Park, and Bhutan Innovation & Technology Center, Bhutan’s first incubation center, as the Chief Executive Officer. He joined Thimphu TechPark in early 2012 to launch its operations after the construction was completed. Business Bhutan reporter Thukten Zangpo talks to him about coding for beginners.

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  1. What is coding and who all can learn it?

The process of writing a computer program is called coding. All the mobile apps and computer applications we use are built using computer programs. Just like we build a house with bricks and construction materials, computer applications and mobile apps are built using computer programs.

Take for instance, Microsoft Word, Facebook Wechat, MBoB or Druktrace that most of us use daily. These are all computer applications built through coding by software engineers and software architects.

Anybody with interest in computer applications can learn coding. But to become a good coder, you need to have a good sense of logic and analytical skills.

  1. Why is coding necessary?

In this digital age, the demand for computer applications and mobile apps is huge. Therefore, the demand for coders is high everywhere. So, a good coder has no problem to get a job. And also a good coder gets relatively high salary.

In Bhutan, right now, we have many projects under Digital Drukyul Flagship program. These projects need good coders. If our country is not able to produce good coders, we have to depend on other countries to develop computer applications for us.

If you learn coding, you can improve your skills for logical thinking and analysis. They can also then understand how computers and computer applications work. So, coding is important for all people to learn, even if they are not computer engineers or programmers.

  1. What coding languages can beginners learn?

Understanding the concept of coding is important, not the language. Therefore, you can start with any language. These days, Python is very popular. Java is another language that is used widely. You may start learning either Python or Java. There are many good websites with great tutorials to learn coding.

  1. What are the platforms through which beginners can learn coding?

One of the best platforms to learn coding in Bhutan is provided by ‘Code for Bhutan’, an initiative started by Ms Sonam Pelden. You can also learn coding by enrolling in relevant online courses through so called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) such as Coursera.org, Khan Academy etc. The Ministry of Labour and Human Resources has made it possible for Bhutanese to take Coursera courses for free (see link: https://www.molhr.gov.bt/molhr/?p=5029 ). Once you get the hang of how to code a little, you may use platforms such as Pycharm, IDLE etc. to try out your skills and learn.

  1. Could you also comment on the opportunities of coding, nationally and globally?

Once you become a good coder, you can develop your own computer applications, mobile apps or websites. You can do it for hobby or for customers who would pay you.  Coding can open up a whole new world of opportunities for you.

I know of at least two people who studied Commerce at college, but later learnt coding and became computer professionals. Likewise, I know two civil engineers who learnt coding and are now ardent programmers. Likewise, there are electrical engineers who have become great software engineers.

  1. Any additional comments?

In this digital age, coding is an important skill to have. Many schools and some colleges have started teaching basic coding to all students, whether they are law students or business students.

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