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Coding Horror: Please Don’t Learn to Code

Clearly, the first thing Jeff Atwood wanted to do with the post is get your attention. He knew that by being a grumpy old contrarian, he was going to get some reactions. The problem though with the article is that the message is a bit muddy. His argument is that the “meme that everyone should learn to code has gone out of control.” He doesn’t see it as an essential life skill like reading, writing, or arithmetic. And that basically “learning to code for the sake of learning to code” is wrong. I understand his sentiment, but because of the harsh tone, most people are gonna read it as, “you shouldn’t learn x skill because you don’t need it.” That’s like saying you shouldn’t buy another pair of shoes because you really don’t need more than one pair for survival in the world.

Benjamin Stein’s rebuttal post, by way of Gina Trapani, explains how dumb Atwood’s argument is:

The article is conflating “coding” with “professional software development”. Learning to code teaches you, among lots of other things:

Divide and conquer
Boolean logic
Debugging
Analytical thinking
Logic flow
Details!

You don’t have to learn plumbing to understand that something is wrong with the toilet, but saying that wanting to understand what’s exactly wrong with the toilet is wrong, is just plain arrogant elitism. Understanding how toilets work aren’t going to stop you from being a Mayor.

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