According to Computerworld’s “10 Hottest Tech Skills for 2017,” coding is the number one most sought after skill in employees. In today’s digital universe, speaking “code” is often more valuable than speaking a traditional second language.

Coding is a highly specialized skill that allows one to communicate across barriers and build things on a universal platform. Surprisingly, the reasons this skill is so highly valued go far beyond the simple act of coding.

Just like learning a second language heightens other skills, employees who learn how to code unknowingly sharpen several other valuable skills as well. These skills translate to employees who stand out from the crowd and make a real difference!

To put it in the words of San Antonio Coding Academy, “It’s not just about hiring someone who knows how to code… It’s about hiring someone who knows how to solve problems, work on a team, and add value to the bottom line.”

1. Advanced critical thinking skills

The Critical Thinking Community defines critical thinking as “that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it.”

As any developer will tell you, this is the very nature of coding! Writing code requires one to analyze every aspect of the problem, assess what actions they wish the technology to make and not make, and then reconstruct it all again based on trial and error.

Coding teaches one to dig deeper than the surface and examine both the intended and the unintended consequences of even the smallest detail. That’s the kind of thinking that breaks down barriers and gets things done!

2. Impeccable attention to details

Every character of code has to be right in order for it to work. The smallest typo and a line of code could have a completely unintended result. The very repetitive and trial and error nature of coding trains your brain to look for these details, to notice when even the slightest error presents itself. When translated to everyday situations, this type of attention to detail can be a huge cost and time saver!

3. Better collaborators

Now, more than ever, the world doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It’s abuzz with interaction and coding is no different. Whether it’s working to incorporate code into an existing structure or to work with another program, developers learn to collaborate on an extensive level, building strong communication and cooperative skills. This really sets them apart in a team environment because these skills shine through even when they aren’t coding.

So, you see, it’s not just numbers, letters, and special characters; it’s a culture, a way of looking at the world that changes it! To quote Mitchel Resnick, a Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, “The biggest challenges for the future are not technological but cultural and educational.

Ultimately, what is needed is a shift in mindsets, so that people begin to see coding not only as a pathway to good jobs, but as a new form of expression and a new context for learning.” That’s a second language worth knowing!