Here's why not learning to code was the biggest mistake of this successful executive's life

Senior vice president of Salesforce Leyla Seka, is a bubbly, vibrant mother of two and is considered one of the most important people in cloud computing in the world.

It’s not often you speak to C-level executives who say they have made mistakes in their careers that they still regret. Most prefer: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without learning from that mistake” or “failing fast was a part of the journey”. Not Seka – she told Business Insider there is one thing she still regrets as the “biggest mistake of my life”.

Learning how to write code.

“I talked myself out of doing it. I told myself that it would be too hard and that I wasn’t good enough at this and I wasn’t good enough at that,” she said, clearly annoyed with her self-doubt all those years ago.

Now she feels like she is missing out on being able to speak a language.

“It’s how you talk to the computer and I would just love to be able to do that. To actually be able to code I think I would be even better at my job,” she says.

“I have a deep understanding of it from being around it my whole professional life, but I think I would be stronger and better at my job if I could do it.”

But it’s never too late to learn, and Seka is going to get up to speed with her kids.

“They’re already doing it. We bought them this robot that you can code on, so we’ve been kind of playing around with it, but when the four year old hits seven then we’re all going to go to coding camp for the summer,” she says.

“They will code, that is just not an option. I would like them to be able to code and speak a foreign language. But if I was forced to choose, I would rather that they know how to code.

“It’s that important for the youth. If they can code then they can talk to everything.

“I’m not saying my children have to be developers, it’s just the same way my mom wanted me to speak French, I want my children to know how to code.”

As technology and software continue to seep deeper into our lives – the latest being this week’s unveiling of the Apple Watch – coding has become a popular course in studies across the world.

Just as there was the belief that children should learn Mandarin as their second language, because “China was going to take over the world”, it’s now coding that many are arguing is more important.

The reality is that no matter who is ruling the world, our lives are much more likely to involve software than speaking Chinese.

“The whole world is now basically coding in some way,” Seka says .”It’s on my bucket list.”

The writer was a guest of Saleforce on the Salesforce World Tour in Melbourne.

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