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"Learn To Code, Get a Job" According To CNN 688

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-just-that-easy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNN is running an opinion article that talks about Michael Bloomberg's taking part in CodeAdacemy's CodeYear program, which aims to teach average people to learn enough to work as a Software Developer by year end. I'm trying to not be elitist in judging this article and those involved, but I'm curious as to what /. thinks of this questionable plan."
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"Learn To Code, Get a Job" According To CNN

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  • Whats the big deal? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:35PM (#38680926)

    How does Code Academy make it any easier to learn to code, Than say documentation or a book? This is hardly a big deal, and they're making silly promises.

    • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@b[ ].org ['eau' in gap]> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:46PM (#38681056)

      Exactly. A lame little site with twenty little lessons on Javascript and they have had two slashdot articles already plus a shedload of legacy media coverage just because they snuck Bloomy some preIPO stock or something. Meh.

      • by Weezul (52464) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:08PM (#38681274)

        There is an awful lot of need for javascript lackies so that real coders can do real work. bring em'. slap em' when they do badly.

        • by omarius (52253) <omar@NoSPaM.allwrong.com> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:10PM (#38681302) Homepage Journal

          Elitism: It's what Slashdot's serving for dinner.

          • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:33PM (#38681498)
            Mmmmmm, Tasty, tasty elitism. They do say that you are what you eat.
          • by Zmobie (2478450) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:34PM (#38681500)
            Call it what you will, but the bottom line is there is no way people can learn to be a software developer with this rubbish. It takes most people years to get even CLOSE to learning proper design techniques. Even then, I see people that are Computer Science majors about to graduate that still barely grasp the concept of object oriented design, let alone anything like logic or functional programming. Hell I have been programming for 8+ years and even when I finally got into the business world I am STILL learning a fair bit. Foundation is everything, and you're not going to lay a solid one for software development in a years time unless that person is a damn prodigy to begin with.
            • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:10PM (#38681834)

              You don't need people who know proper design techniques, just monkeys who can spew crappy code. And this isn't just for low-level positions either; you can get a bunch of them together and have them write totally brain-dead standards like CSS! Then they can do things like completely omit something as simple as a simple, direct way of centering something instead of having to use some weird hack with margins.

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Well I'd say this BS is just part of the greater lie which is "education will fix the economy" like you can take millions of 104 IQ workers, wave a magical education wand, and BAM! Suddenly they are all engineers. In the end we have to face the fact that we have millions of low skilled workers and no low skilled jobs that can actually feed and house a person in the USA, much less a family like in the days of the factory. Did you know we lost 42,400 factories [businessinsider.com] since 2001? That's NOT a typo folks, that's milli

          • Elitism (Score:5, Insightful)

            by omarius (52253) <omar@NoSPaM.allwrong.com> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:37PM (#38681544) Homepage Journal

            The above is NOT flamebait, o moderators. I meant it. I've been listening to, and reading, "blah, blah, stupid users never learn anything" since the 90's, and I think these criticisms are disingenuous as hell. Along comes an easy, fun set of lessons on the rudiments of programming, and people are deriding it for: too much media attention, too simple, too popular, et cetera. If your stance is, "I like being a computer geek because it allows me to look down on others," then that's your sad bag, but at least be honest about it. Only good can come from average people coming to realize that this stuff isn't some magic inborn to the 7th son of a rocket scientist; it just takes curiosity and persistence. I am calling bullshit on your defensive insecurity, and I have the Slashdot karma to burn doing it, tyvm.

            • Re:Elitism (Score:5, Insightful)

              by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:11PM (#38681838) Homepage Journal
              You seriously think that CodeAcademy is something even remotely unique? Here's a clue, it's not. These "teach yourself programming" things have been around for decades, and there is absolutely NOTHING unique about CodeAcademy save for it's buzz marketing campaign. Thats why people look down on it.
              • Re:Elitism (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Matheus (586080) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:34PM (#38682062) Homepage

                Mod Parent Up Please.

                Really, I'm currently in the position of needing to hire a couple-few good solid developers and am having a hard time finding applicants let alone qualified ones so the concept of increasing the developer pool sounds attractive... Except! 1) As you say these dealios have been around forever and they generally do NOT produce good developers. 2) Did everyone just forget about the tech bubble days?! Everyone and their freaking grandma tried to get into "computer stuff" clogging the market with many thousands of completely crap devs making it hard for those of us who actually knew the trade to rise above the mire until companies finally started to get a clue. 3) I'm currently dealing with a small handful of College trained, experienced developers who can't seem to code their way out of a wet paper bag which does not make me excited about the possibility of hiring someone who's programming knowledge is based on an online Java Script Tutorial.

                I will qualify my statements: We live in different days than we did 10 years ago. The sea change that has occurred means that people of all ages are now, generally, more "aware" of computers. They get along with them and are less likely to find their inner workings completely alien so maybe some more cream may come out of a better primordial goo. That and the article, if you actually read through it, specifically says they don't expect everyone to learn to program... just to better understand what they now work with on a day-to-day basis... in between lines telling them they'll be able to learn to code in 3 weeks and below a title saying "learn to code, get a job". I'll give very partial credit there.

                • But what if it leads to few of the College trained developers you hire being able to code their way out of a wet paper bag precisely because before they enrolled they had already been coding as a hobby for years, an interest that was initially sparked by an online javascript course?

                • Really, I'm currently in the position of needing to hire a couple-few good solid developers and am having a hard time finding applicants

                  We found Open Source projects are the best way to find, and assess, good programmers. If people are talented, and dedicated, they produce. We advertise positions through the local Linux Users Group - if the applicants have contributed to Open Source projects it's easy to check their ability and character. As it's rare to find people with experience in exactly what we want done - it's preferable to hunt for people with a demonstrated ability to learn what's required. Resumes don't cover that the way a mailin

              • by SomePgmr (2021234)
                Yeah, the "teach yourself programming" things have been around. The problem is they've almost always been html versions of a horrible fucking textbook. And as anyone that learned to code outside academia will likely argue... learning out of a textbook isn't necessarily the best way anyways.

                CodeAcademy is a good attempt. Rails for Zombies and similar are better. I can't think of any reason I should have a problem with there being good, usable material at all levels.
              • maybe that is the 'unique' thing ? i have never heard a popularized attempt to teach coding to masses.
            • by Weezul (52464)

              I agree, that's actually my point, which you're taking the piss out of.

              There is an awful lot of room for "not the best coder in the world" out there, javascript, access, whatever. And the more "not the best" we have doing useful stuff the more gets done, the less stupid stuff we good ones must do, and the more important interfaces offer basic coding friendly APIs for us to exploit.

              In fact, I'm certainly "not the best" myself. I'm actually a mathematician by training. I love Haskell, C++, and Perl, but ba

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              It is flamebait, and it is in this context) wrong. People sell "learn to code" as "learn to program" and they aren't the same thing. A programmer is a "software engineer" who designs software that gets the desired result in the minimum footprint possible while also addressing security, extensibility, and portability (not just literal porting, but with the knowledge that any well used program will be run on some other platform at some point). Instead, we have people who learn a string of commands that wil
            • Re:Elitism (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Zmobie (2478450) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:35PM (#38682072)

              Personally it has nothing to do with me being able to 'look down on others' and has everything to do with this shit giving people a false impression of what it takes to actually become a software engineer. This shit attempts to trivialize the discipline in description. I am not looking to run around and say I am better than everyone, but I damn sure don't want people saying that what I do is something any moron can pick up in a year.

              Not only that, this shit is just attempting to exploit the HUGE buzz around the need for more engineers (especially software engineers), the high pay statistics associated with the discipline, and the fact that people think the job market is in absolute shambles (it isn't near as bad as the general perception, with the way people talk you would think half the country is unemployed). I don't really approve of people being taken advantage of in such a manner, though I know some would argue if they fall for it they deserve. I disagree that anyone would deserve that precisely because of how little understanding the general populace has of what a software engineer does.

              • This is pretty much exactly what I was going to say, but I wasn't about to do it so politely. Who hasn't had that boss who thinks that because he once worked as a trainer in a group that did Java work and puzzled out god awful VBScript and perl scripts while creating an abomination of a MySQL database where everything is a string, but we can't change anything because hey, it works (for some values of "work").

                In other words, until you've supported (and god help you had to modify) the hoary abominations cult

            • Re:Elitism (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Teancum (67324) <.robert_horning. .at. .netzero.net.> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @11:36PM (#38682472) Homepage Journal

              While I like what Code Academy is doing, I do not like their terms of service ("we own everything you do, including the software you write in these lessons and can exploit this mercilessly at our discretion without even giving you attribution. If you design a lesson for us, we own it and you automatically give us copyright and intellectual property rights without renumeration or even acknowledgement.") They also plan on charging visitors to their site eventually, so expect a "bait and switch" if you get into it.

              On top of that, what they have is useful for about the equivalent of the first week or so in an introductory computer science class. It is useful to get started and to "wet your feet", but by the time you are through all you can do is roughly the equivalent of writing a "Hello World" in Javascript.

              It looks like they are planning on taking it much further, so I do reserve judgement on the rest of what they are going to do, and apparently they have several series of lessons in the wings that they are planning on releasing about one each week through the rest of the year, at least if I can read between the lines. It could be useful though.

          • by russotto (537200) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:37PM (#38681546) Journal

            Elitism: It's what Slashdot's serving for dinner.

            The recognition that some people are better than others at certain tasks is not elitism, it is merely recognition of reality.

            Elitism is the idea that those better people ought to rule over the other ones.

          • by bfandreas (603438) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:52PM (#38681706)
            I do remember the dot com bust. Before that everybody and his uncle claimed to be a coder after having read HTML for Dummies and Java for Dummies. It was terrible.

            Why did they do it? Because there was gold in the hills. Proper coding takes a special kind of structured thinking. You've got a goal, you've got requirements and you need to break it down into subproblems of subproblems while not forgetting the overall goal. Not everybody is cut out to be a lawyer. Not everybody is cut out to be an artisan. Not everybody is cut out to be a business owner. Not everybody is cut out to be a coder.
            And coders are not all the same. Some thrive in the front end and are very very good anticipating how users willl use the system(which is never how they told you). Others are very good in layers that involve logic. Others are optimization wizards. Others are very good when it comes to communicating with interface owners. And so on.

            I really, really hate it when news outlets publish that there is gold in the hills when there isn't. Everybody rushes out and most of those that rush out will never make it.
          • by shentino (1139071) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:41PM (#38682110)

            Elitism I don't mind so much.

            It's the exclusiveness, keeping others down.

            Someone on top should be reaching down with a hand, not shoving down with a boot.

    • by next_ghost (1868792) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:09PM (#38681292)
      Pretty much yeah. Learn enough to be a software developer in a year? Not a chance. You might learn some programming language pretty well in a year but there's no way you can learn the essential skills for professional software development - debugging and breaking down even simple problems to elementary tasks. That takes years of practice because it requires your brain to rewire to allow completely new way of thinking. After a year, you won't be qualified even to work as an assistant to a code monkey, much less a real software developer.
      • by nbauman (624611) on Friday January 13, 2012 @01:47AM (#38683102) Homepage Journal

        I'm a science nerd, and I've learned a little bit of computer programming over the years.

        Learn to code, get a job? Ridiculous.

        I programmed some scientific formulas in FORTRAN in college.

        I wrote a program in Business BASIC to replace my bookkeeping system. (It was more trouble than paper. I went back to paper.)

        During the DOS days, I programmed elaborate batch files to zip and save my backup files on floppy disks. I wrote elaborate macros for XyWrite and WordPerfect, which worked pretty well. I wrote Lotus 123 macros to finally automate my bookkeeping system.

        When the Internet came, I created my own web site in HTML.

        Even during the hottest computer bubbles, I've never heard anybody say, "We're desperate! We need somebody who knows a little bit of HTML!" Or any other program you could pick up in a week of all-nighters.

        I looked into computer programming because it would have been fun (and some people were getting really rich). But I couldn't get a job with my introductory skills.

        I figure that it would have taken me at least six months to a year to learn some programming-related skills well enough to earn my keep as you trained me.

        If you paid my expenses for a year, gave me the hardware I needed, gave me access to people who knew how to teach computer concepts and guide me in self-instruction, surrounded me with people who were obsessed with doing the same thing, and we spent all our time working on computers, talking about computers, meeting smart computer people, and helping each other with our problems (with an occasional break for a party) -- I think I would have been a competent programmer at the end. I might even have been good. Maybe very good.

        That sounds a lot like what a college is supposed to do. The main difference is that in the U.S., you pay your own (exhorbitant) college expenses, and your own living expenses besides. If you want to make a mid-career transition, you have to spend your retirement fund. That's in contrast to many other countries. Maybe that's why Linus Torvalds came from Finland. Maybe that's why German workers are making twice as much as U.S. workers.

        (NYC Mayor Bloomberg is really hypocritical. He's talking up these low-budget old-fashioned online textbooks at the same time that he's raising tuition and cutting staff salaries at the City University of New York, which is NYC's real engine of innovation, science, technology, engineering, high-tech industry, economic development, all that good stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_laureates_affiliated_with_the_City_University_of_New_York [wikipedia.org] . His MBA-style educational fads are also destroying the public education system. He's destroying the neighborhood public library. Lesson for Bloomberg: When you've got something working very well, don't destroy it.)

        Fortunately I have science skills in other areas (biomedical) that were also fun, where I could advance my skills and make a living. Unfortunately, I'll never have the satisfaction of writing a really good computer program. But I did learn how the cell works, and the cell nucleus, the cell membrane,
        DNA, and what causes cancer. I've met Nobel laureates and cancer researchers. That's a good life too.

        And there are more girls in biology.

  • Lean? (Score:5, Funny)

    by poet (8021) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:37PM (#38680950) Homepage

    Don't we want all of our code lean?

    • Re:Lean? (Score:5, Funny)

      by sunderland56 (621843) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:45PM (#38681040)
      No, it says lean-to code. As in coding while in a lean-to.

      Maybe CNN should lean to speak English?
      • Lean-to (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've been in this business for 30 years. Most code I've seen does indeed look like it was designed and written like a "lean-to".... and I have great faith that it will continue to do so as long as I live, and long after I'm gone too.

      • Re:Lean? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:05PM (#38681236) Homepage Journal
        It's a reference to Lean manufacturing [wikipedia.org], with the idea that anything more than a few lines of rudimentary Javascript is not value-added and therefore unnecessary for customer satisfaction.

        I can see the job interviews now:

        What's your alma mater?
        Codecademy.
        What projects have you worked on in the past?
        At my last gig, I wrote a program to determine if a number was even or odd...in only ten lines!
        Wow! So what can you bring to FizzBuzz industries as a software engineer?
        Fizzbuzz.
        Hired.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)
          Sadly, 10 lines would probably give them a leg up on some of the people I've seen in the industry. I really don't think it can get any worse. Anyone that will stick through a year-long "teach yourself to code" series may actually have more skill than someone who stayed in a training program that they paid for.
      • Re:Lean? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by anubi (640541) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:12PM (#38681312) Journal
        Yes.

        The code produced will the architectural equivalent of a "lean-to".

        Its like practicing medicine after a first-aid course. Practicing law after watching Judge Judy.

        These are the "handymen" of the IT industry.

        Relax, guys.

        These guys will get the moneymeisters to invest, as they will promise and deliver an inexpensive job.

        Once the moneymeister has money invested, he will be easier to talk to as he will now have a vested interest in his investment actually being viable.

        You know the story: Haircuts, $1.00. Across the street: We fix bad haircuts, $10.00.

        But it gets better. The guy didn't need service at all until he got the buck job.
      • CTRL + a then CTRL + i?

    • Re:Lean? (Score:5, Funny)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:49PM (#38681088)

      Lean to spel, get a job as a slasdot editor!

    • Re:Lean? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:53PM (#38681132)

      Don't we want all of our code lean?

      Not really - I've run into too many coders that think "lean" code is the same as "terse code". They skip comments, compress loops into a single line or use all sorts of other tricks to compress code into a single line, etc. Anything they can do to make their code "lean". Which of course, makes their code write-only.

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        Comments? What are those?

  • BT,TD,GTTS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:38PM (#38680964) Homepage

    You can get a job as a software developer in the same sense as a lot of people could go through HTML For Dummies and get jobs as Web Developers. That's great when companies are hungry for anyone even minimally qualified, but it's not going to do much for keeping your job when they start having to actually work with and maintain your work product.

  • That's all we need (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multiben (1916126) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:40PM (#38680990)
    One of my pet hates is working with programmers who are doing it only because they need a job. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be here if I didn't get paid, but programmers without passion for what they do write lousy and uninspired software. People with passion are unlikely to end up in such a scheme, so I don't really see a big benefit.
    • by guspasho (941623)

      Judging by my experience as a regular software user, lousy and uninspired software is exactly what companies want.

  • seems feasible to me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bugs2squash (1132591) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:40PM (#38680992)
    Lots of people learn to code on their own from books, online articles and magazines (I did). Surely even a little guidance could kickstart the process the process for a reasonable and motivated candidate.
  • by Narcocide (102829) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:40PM (#38681006) Homepage

    I've worked with plenty of people who had 5+ years of "experience" who perform at the competency level of a 1st year coder. Especially in very large companies I've found that the day-to-day tasks are usually designed to shield the employees from any apparent consequences of their own incompetence or any risk of becoming competent. Typically, 90% of the job is just being attractive and good-smelling enough that your co-workers can be nice to you without trying hard.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:45PM (#38681044) Homepage

    Someone making promises that are fake but will reinforce uneducated PHB's

    "Why should we pay you more? anyone can become a expert coder by studying at home part time for a year."

    • Learn to write in one year through a free interactive web site, and get a job at CNN. That's what I did!! Even billionaire-politician Michael Bloomberg, my hero, is learning his letters as we speak. Rumor has it, he'll become a proficient Bloomberg journalist by next week.
      - Rushkoff

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:45PM (#38681046) Journal
    I remember first semester freshman year. The weed-out EE course was full of bright-faced eager kids convinced they were gonna get a good paying job when they graduated.
    2 weeks later the class size was cut in half when they found out how much work was involved.
    Anyone can learn to write a "Hello World" program but that doesn't make them a software professional.
  • Well of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:45PM (#38681048) Journal

    ...everyone knows that if you will just take a few weeks to learn to program, you can start making 60k or more a year within a month or two.

    Ok, granted, this story wasn't quite THAT bad, and the idea that everyone should take a few weeks to learn what programming IS, the concepts, is probably a good idea. However, the idea that you can learn to be a programmer in one year is foolish. I've never had any formal training, self taught in Perl, javascript, some PHP, and been doing it as a minor part of my job for 15 years, and I'm not a programmer. Having at least moderate skills, to understand what a shell script or batch file is, what HTML code is and does, will help you in your job, but you aren't going to start creating more real programmers with one year, even if that is all they do is learn 24/7 for that year.

    What there is a shortage of is people with MORE than one year of training as a programmer. People who can write good code, instead of the bloated crap that I write to just get the job done. But that isn't what this article is about, it is about promising something that won't happen, that learning a little coding will guarantee you a job. It won't help a forklift driver, someone used to working on an assembly line that is now part of a closed factory, or half the people looking for work now. It will do them personally good to understand a little, but it won't be the cure for our unemployment.

    Unemployment is high right now, not because companies can't find good people, but because companies are afraid to take on the responsibility (and liability) of expanding and hiring until they absolutely have to, due to a messed up political and financial environment.

  • In a year? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scottbomb (1290580) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:47PM (#38681068) Journal

    Sorry, but I've been at it for about that long (learning Java) and I'm nowhere near qualified to do it professionally. Sure, I know the syntax and I have a good understanding of OOP but there's a LOT more for me to learn before I can write software people will actually find useful.

    I love programming and I love learning about it. The discouraging part is that there is almost ZERO entry-level work in programming. All the ads I see demand "3-5 years experience", but that's another story.

    • Re:In a year? (Score:4, Informative)

      by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:53PM (#38681126)
      The beautiful thing about programming is that, relative to other professions, it is PAINFULLY simple to get those 3-5 years. Most of the time it doesn't even need to be at a professional workplace, as long as you can demonstrate growth or meaningful contributions. Work on open source projects. Do internships. Make software for yourself. Program robots. Automate your home. Tweak your kernel or window manager. Script some events. Just keep doing it, and in no-time you will have 3-5 years of experience. Heck, an intern where I work programmed his own server monitoring software for his own use, on his own free time, before he had even heard of us, and now the entire company uses it.
    • I went from "junior" to "senior" Java Developer in about a year. That was about 3 years ago. I did start self-teaching somewhere in the early 90's though. My entry in to the developer job role was facilitated by getting an "Application Support" role and voicing my aspirations to my manager.
  • Who needs coders? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:48PM (#38681076)

    We already have too many coders at my current employer, what we need are software developers that know how to architect a maintainable system.

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:50PM (#38681096)
    main ()
    {
    printf )"Hello World! I am now a Software Developer!\n");
    }


    Congratulations, here is your certificate of completion.
    • I got this! I'm a world class programmer and I deserve the senior programmer position. I'll prove it to you by showing you my certificate that I received from CodeAdacemy!

      g++ certificate.cpp -o certificate.out
      certificate.cpp: In function "int main()":
      certificate.cpp:3:1: error: "printf" was not declared in this scope
      certificate.cpp:3:7: error: expected ";" before ")" token

      Wait, that didn't work. Give me a second.

      ruby certificate.rb
      certificate.rb:3: syntax error, unexpected ')', expecting tASSOC
      printf)

  • by binarstu (720435) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:52PM (#38681112)

    A major argument of the opinion piece is that having at least a rudimentary understanding of how computers and software actually work is increasingly important, and that learning some programming is a good way to accomplish that. I doubt anyone here would argue with that.

    The second half of the article, while not explicitly saying it, does suggest that if a person spends a little time learning to code they'll magically get an awesome ("high-paying", in the words of the author) job. This is a major oversimplification, at least. The author provides no convincing evidence that this is true, except for a quote from his CEO friend.

  • by devphaeton (695736) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:54PM (#38681152)

    Peter Norvig's "Teach Yourself To Programming In Ten Years" http://norvig.com/21-days.html [norvig.com]

    Pretty much sums it up. There have also been many posters so far that have mentioned you can't just "make" someone a programmer. They have to want it, to enjoy it and to already "be" a programmer in mind and spirit. Same goes for the new British thing of forcing gradeschool kids to learn programming. Having it available as an option would be great, but forcing them into it won't give you more programmers, much less good ones. Meanwhile, all the kids that were going to become programmers will still do it whether you encourage them or not. Simple as that.

    Surely the "Lean" up above is a typo, but there is a serious problem of late with Slashdotters and their spelling and grammar abilities. People who learned English as a second or third language get a pass, but for all you up and coming kids who are native speakers, what the fuck?

    (my two hamfisted cents. I'm going back to Skyrim)

  • Oh, good. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:44PM (#38681602) Homepage
    At least thedailywtf.com [thedailywtf.com] will have an inexhaustible supply of new material once all of these people get exciting jobs in the fast-paced software industry.
  • In my experience... (Score:5, Informative)

    by leoc (4746) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:06PM (#38681804) Homepage

    Programming is like driving a car, everyone thinks they are really good at it but everyone else sucks.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:52PM (#38682192)

    Good code comes from insight, creativity and other specific talents. Learning a language and learning how to program (two very different things) only help if the basis consisting of the aforementioned qualities is there.

    Average people will just write atrocious code, that may or may not work and will be a maintenance nightmare. Typically, it is best to throw such code away, sack the person responsible and start over. At the same time, people are being lied to here by being told that they can become reasonable coders and are being lured in with the promise of job opportunities. I find that despicable.

    If this sounds elitist, well, it is just realistic. You cannot qualify average people to be reasonable doctors, mathematicians, engineers, poets, ... either. All of these require specific talents. If you don't have them you should definitely not go there, because you will do more harm than good.

  • by lpfarris (774295) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @11:24PM (#38682414)
    they might learn to think a bit more logically. And that would not be a bad thing.
  • by hughbar (579555) on Friday January 13, 2012 @01:40AM (#38683072) Homepage
    I'm looking at all this with some dismay. Of course, learning a little javascript or [better, since it was designed for non-specialists] BASIC won't make people a real-world top-class coder, software engineer etc. Therefore, if people are realistic about expectations, this activity is fine, a little over-hyped perhaps, but fine.

    Secondly motivation and progression. Some people just want to learn a little code, for example, to process the csv file for their charity group or simply have fun messing around, learning for simple needs or out of curiosity. Others, especially people who are motivated but haven't access to paid-for tuition can use this [as they used to use teach-yourself etc] as a starting point for a more serious assault on computer science. Learning isn't just about jobs, instant skills or being the 'best' immediately.

    It won't teach them to listen hard to users or any humility, but that's another separate matter for a huge flame-filled thread.
  • by cshark (673578) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:02AM (#38683414)

    And you call yourselves nerds...

    Look, you seriously don't need to know a lot to get started. Some people are talented enough to learn as they go.

    And just because you learn something doesn't mean you're going to enter one of the most competitive development marketplaces in the world to do it professionally. Those that do probably would have anyway.

    I would like to see programming in highschools. Seriously teach it to everyone, like Spanish. You learn things that are absolutely critical in life when you learn how to program, and a lot of supposedly normal well adjusted people are lacking some of these basic analytical and coping skills. Programming teaches problem solving, patience, linear thinking, humility, and an eye for detail. People that are artistically inclined will find that programming skills make them better artists. People who are not artically inclined will find that programming skills make them better people. Those are the things you take with you, even if you can't remember how to output hello world in base64 a year later.

    Maybe I'm being narrow minded and biased, but I'm not seeing the downside.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

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