Following on from my announcement yesterday that I am involved in writing a new book (Unix and Python to the Rescue!), my co-author Michelle has written a few words about it on her blog which I encourage you to read. She tackles the issue of why people in our field (the life-sciences) should learn to code:
It is my belief--based on my own experience--that using a prefabricated tool, such as a spreadsheet or graphing program, inherently limits you to someone else's idea of what analytical questions you should be asking about your data.
In today's scientific world, the amount and type of data we need to understand changes rapidly, and these programs can quickly become limiting. By taking the time to learn a set of basic tools that can be combined in limitless ways, you empower yourself to ask the kinds of analytical questions you want to ask about your data