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Education Programming Politics

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Vows To Learn To Code In 2012 120

Posted by timothy
from the give-himself-a-fighting-chance dept.
theodp writes "New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced his intention to take a coding class in 2012 via Twitter ('My New Year's resolution is to learn to code with Codecademy in 2012! Join me.'). So, is this just a PR coup for Codeacademy, or could EE grad (Johns Hopkins, '64) Bloomberg — who parlayed the $10 million severance he received after being fired as head of systems development at Solomon Brothers into his $19.5 billion Bloomberg L.P. fortune — actually not know how to program? Seems unlikely, but if so, perhaps Bloomberg should just apply to be a Bloomberg Summer 2012 Software Development intern — smart money says he'd get the gig!"
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NYC Mayor Bloomberg Vows To Learn To Code In 2012

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  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @02:59PM (#38624166) Homepage Journal

    So? Just beacuse you manage a department doesn't mean you can do the work they are doing. He was there to manage people, not code.. a vastly different skill set.

    Sure, its nice if you can do the job of your people, so you can have a deeper understanding of what is going on, but its not a requirement.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday January 07, 2012 @03:02PM (#38624190)

    Common in the 60s: Punch cards, text only dumb terminals, mainframes...
    Common Now: Online storage, visual designers, client/server setups....

    If your knowledge of computers ends in the 60s. there's a lot of updating to be done. Mayor Bloomberg has the right idea... every 10 years or so it's time to retrain to the current tools.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 07, 2012 @03:29PM (#38624394)

    If you look at just about all tech companies, the person who got it going was the sales guy. In some cases the tech guy is also a great salesman - Larry Ellison of Oracle or Zuckerberg of Facebook - actually, FB is just a marketing data collection company.

    In my years in software development, I've seen some really great ideas and implementations just get burried because the geek didn't know how to sell it's value.

    All the tech bigshots knew how or knew someone who knew how to sell the value of their stuff.

    Wozniak had the luck of having God's gift of salesmenship, Steve Jobs, as his friend. All the gazillionaire techies had someone with them that had the contacts and sales ability to take their idea and make it into something.

    "Build a better mousetrap and the World will beat a path to your door" is a lie. The countless examples of inferior technology ruling the marketplace is proof.

  • Re:Cobol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zarlino (985890) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @04:15PM (#38624798) Homepage

    The MBA's still think you can describe a piece of software in Word, and then it's a trivial process to make the software that customers want. Informal language is desirable to humans because it supports leaving out details - which is exactly what makes it useless for programming a computer.

    That's because software *is* the description of what the computer should do. Check this great article: http://www.osnews.com/story/22135/The_Problem_with_Design_and_Implementation [osnews.com]

  • by peter303 (12292) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @06:11PM (#38625504)
    Always learn new things in life since technology evolves so fast. I feel sorry for my co-workers to refuse to learn on their own because it would cost them some time or money.
  • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @06:42PM (#38625712) Homepage

    I think C++ is a good starting point simply because it teaches memory management and class design.

    Understanding the concept of a class is one of the most difficult programming concepts a novice will encounter. And they are used everywhere.

    Just try explaining the concept of a class to a non-programmer. I will bet money that they will nod their heads, and still have no idea what you're talking about.

    And memory management -> something you need to understand, even if you use a garbage collector.

    If he's just taking a programming class to get a taste (dilettante) for programming, then by all means teach him Visual Basic or JavaScript or whatever. However, if he's taking a programming class to learn programming (he wants the programmer skillset a.k.a. a real programmer), then C++ is where he wants to be. Once you understand the concepts in C++ (which can be brutal / metal when it comes to learning), the hardest part of learning how to program is past.

    Why, do you ask? Because otherwise you end up in sad scenarios, like when the PhDs in your Computer Science department do not know how to install an operating system, when the undergrads in your class have difficulty understanding the difference between an AMD processor and an Intel processor, or why one should never write a program in JavaScript that consumes 8 GB of the client computer's memory.

    TLDR; C++ will expose him to the greatest number of programming concepts in the shortest period of time, and give him the minimal amount of understanding necessary to eventually grow into a respected programmer.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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