rothwell.im

by Jonathan Rothwell

[LINK] Programming is a life skill, not a shortcut to success

I’m pleased, and somewhat heartened, to see the campaign for programming to be taught in schools spreading to the United States.

One does wonder, though, why it’s deemed necessary for celebrities such as Ashton Kutchtchstcher, will.i.am and rapping musician Mr Snoop L. Dogg to become involved. What, exactly, is gained from guff such as this?

support tha american dream n make coding available to EVERYONE!!

Snoop Dogg

There’s a video attached, too, that describes coding as a ‘superpower.’ It’s not.

In the twenty-first century, where PCs are exceptionally widespread and we are approaching ubiquitous computing, programming is a basic life-skill. It is not a superpower any more than basic literacy, numeracy or general social skills are a superpower. We shouldn’t risk undermining the message—especially to certain members of the general public, who still conflate “hacking” with monstrosities such as the movie Swordfish—by trying to make programming appear ‘sexy.’

Computer literacy and basic algorithmic logic are key skills. Learning to code can improve your career prospects, and will almost certainly improve your life when it comes to computers. It won’t make you a hero (nor a watchful protector, a Dark Knight, nor indeed a Quiet Bat-Person.)