The wonderful PBS Off Book series on the art of visual coding. Some trippy stuff.
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.
The article is conflating “coding” with “professional software development”. Learning to code teaches you, among lots of other things:
Divide and conquer
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.
It’s funny, but it’s true. It’s been happening for a while now. The whole startup world has attracted a different kind programmer. A more extroverted untypical person that you wouldn’t think would be interested in coding.
Tech’s latest boom has generated a new, more testosterone-fueled breed of coder. Sure, the job still requires enormous brainpower, but today’s engineers are drawn from diverse backgrounds, and many eschew the laboratory intellectualism that prevailed when semiconductors ruled Silicon Valley. “I don’t need to wear a pocket protector to be a programmer,” says John Manoogian III, a software engineer and entrepreneur.
Douglas Rushkoff on why everyone should learn to code.
…[W]e now live in a world with apps, networks, and stock market trading algorithms that we use, even though desperately few of us understand how they work. And while learning to code may have once been an arduous or expensive process, the college dropouts who developed Codecademy have democratized coding as surely as Gutenberg democratized text. Anyone can go to Codecademy and start learning and creating code through their simple, fun, interactive window, for free.
I’m on the second week taking the Code Year courses and I’m loving every minute of it.