Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Coding Literacy

Jeff Atwood (via Slashdot):

If someone tells you “coding is the new literacy” because “computers are everywhere today,” ask them how fuel injection works. By teaching low-level coding, I worry that we are effectively teaching our children the art of automobile repair. A valuable skill — but if automobile manufacturers and engineers are doing their jobs correctly, one that shouldn’t be much concern for average people, who happily use their cars as tools to get things done without ever needing to worry about rebuilding the transmission or even change the oil.

Matt Weinberger (via Slashdot):

According to GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath, in conversation with Business Insider at Thursday’s GitHub Universe event, the game plan is pretty straightforward.

If most of the world’s developers already use and love GitHub, then the company needs to help more people become developers.

“We’re thinking about the new developers,” Wanstrath says. “We want to lower the barriers to entry.”

Update (2015-10-13): See some good Twitter replies.

Alfred Thompson (via Hacker News):

Lastly if you don’t know what it is like to be a computer science teacher, don’t understand why and how being a computer science teacher is different from any other teaching job or if you want to understand more about how complicated it is to “create” more computer science teachers you really need to read these articles.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Cars don't rule our world. Computers literally do. Code is now more important than law, and governs your life more than your country's laws do.

If you don't understand how computers work, you can't understand how voting works, how your laws and rights work (e.g. copyright, surveillance, data collected and stored by the government, encryption), etc. You can no longer function as a mature citizen in a modern democracy.

The quickest rebuttal to Lukas' comment above here is nobody ever told people they must learn to be lawyers to survive in society, even though it governs everyone's life apparently just a little bit less than code does. And I find it quite absurd to think people who can't code can't figure out what is what in the above comment any more than if they could.

Actually, people *are* told to be lawyers. That's why there used to be public trials, so people could understand what the laws were that govern their lives. We even have that today; the media reports on changes to the law, we have Judge shows where people can follow trials plaid out live on TV, and so on. So your "rebuttal" makes it quite obvious that I'm right. Laws were deemed important enough to understand for everybody, so people created systems that allowed normal people to learn about them. There's something seriously wrong with what's happening today, because nothing similar exists for the code that governs our lives.

"trials plaid out live"

(Not sure what plaid trials look like, but it sounds like an improvement over the normal Judge shows.)

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