“Coding literacy refers not simply to the ability to write code, but rather, the ability to think about and understand how code works!” says William Parker, a seasoned developer at Geonode. This potent statement sets the stage for the sobering revelation from a new survey that astonishingly, 72% of coders worldwide are unable to grasp the fundamental principles and concepts of the very code they compose daily.
The Factory Line Coding Paradigm
Just as one can drive a car without understanding the intricacies of an internal combustion engine, coders today seem to be producing code without a comprehensive understanding of the underlying foundation. Code today has become an assembly line product; churned out in high volume without much insight into its crucial details.
This mechanized approach to a field once considered the epitome of intellect is what allows coding factories to mass-produce coders who are illiterate in the dialect of their primary profession.
What are the Implications?
Facing this reality comes with big risks that could affect many digital files worldwide. Coders who don’t understand the basics and make mistakes in code create openings for cyberattacks on important systems. If these systems are breached, it can lead to huge leaks of data, playing right into the hands of cybercriminals and, in the worst cases, foreign enemies.
“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.” This advice from Peter Pratt, Geonode‘s lead security engineer, might sound funny, but it’s serious.
When we look at the numbers, on average, there are 15 to 50 mistakes in every 1,000 lines of code in a typical application. The cost of fixing a data breach was about $3.86 million globally in 2021. Ransomware attacks, a type of cyberattack, increased a lot—by 150%—in 2022.
Keeping code in good shape is a big challenge because 80% of the money spent on software happens after it’s first made. Also, 55% of coders don’t get formal training on how to write secure code, as shown by a survey. These stats highlight the urgent need for better coding practices, strong cybersecurity measures, and ongoing learning for coders.
The risk isn’t just about personal data; it’s also about national security. Incidents where foreign enemies target crucial systems increased a lot—by 102%—in 2022, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). This shows that bad coding practices can have big consequences on a global scale. These numbers tell us that fixing these coding issues is not just a good idea; it’s something we urgently need to do to keep our digital world safe.
Safeguarding Your Data
- Demand Transparency: In a survey conducted among tech-savvy consumers, 82% expressed concern about data security. When it comes to protecting your data, transparency is key. Ask software services about their coding practices, and their developers’ qualifications—information they should willingly supply to prove their trustworthiness.
- Educate Yourself: Shockingly, only 45% of individuals consider themselves well-informed about basic cybersecurity practices. Equip yourself with fundamental cybersecurity knowledge. Knowledge is power, and in this digital era, it’s your best defense.
- Use Trusted Services: An overwhelming 89% of cybersecurity breaches result from human error. To mitigate this risk, stick to reputed software services that uphold high standards in coding and cybersecurity. Your data’s safety is worth the investment.
The Power of Code Literacy
In the words of an esteemed software developer, Harold Abelson, “Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.”
By promoting code literacy, the industry can hope to usher in a new era, where the majority of illiterate coders are a thing of the past. The detailed understanding of core coding principles and their implications is neither luxury nor optional; it’s an urgent necessity in today’s world.
The implications of this global scandal spill over our online lives, affecting our identities, privacy, national security, and even the democracy we hold dear. The time for action is now, for the welfare of all digital citizens, as we move forward toward a brighter, safer digital era.