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Who Will Teach U.S. Kids To Code? Rupert Murdoch 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the ted-nugent-unavailable dept.
theodp writes "For all of their handwaving at Code.org about U.S. kids not being taught Computer Science, tech execs from Microsoft, Google, and Facebook seem more focused lately on Plan B of their 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy. So, who's going to teach your children CompSci? Enter friend-of-the-Gates-Foundation Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch's Amplify Education is launching an AP Computer Science MOOC this fall (Java will be covered), taught by an experienced AP CS high school teacher (video). An added option, called MOOC Local, will provide additional resources to schools with students in the CS MOOC. MOOC Local will eventually cost $200 per student, but is free for the first year."
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Who Will Teach U.S. Kids To Code? Rupert Murdoch

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  • Included subjects: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by magic maverick (2615475) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:19AM (#44193691) Homepage Journal

    Some of the subjects that will be included are:
    * wiretapping for beginners
    * how to put up ineffective paywalls
    * how to run a thriving social media network into the ground

    Of course, being a "computer science" class (by which I'm sure they mean "ICT for dummies"), there won't be some of Rupert's other specialties. Such as:
    * How to influence people by a coordinator national campaign by the newspapers and other media you own (and thus ensure a victory for the side who promised you the most in the next election)
    * How to lie, cheat and steal your way out of trouble
    * News? We're not a news channel, we're an entertainment channel. And we'll take it to court to ensure we can lie while pretending it is news.

    • by Skiron (735617)

      Excellent first post - couldn't have said it better.

      • The parent poster forgot a curriculum topic, "Avoiding prison while profiting from dead tortured children."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 05, 2013 @09:17AM (#44193921)

      You are very cynical. I predict that this course will be educational, entertaining and useful - but it will be discontinued after only a few weeks.

      • by TheEyes (1686556)

        And all the lessons will be presented out of order.

      • Would you train your daughter to be a sewing machine operator? If you agree, then send your kids to learn Programming. It is a skill, but more importantly, it is at the bottom of the totem pole, except for certain skills.

        An embroidery operator can do intricate work. So some programmers may end up coding some sophisticated algorithms.

        Time to reflect on what is a profession, a trade or a skill.

        By the way, score this Funny.

    • If we are going to teach our kids computer science, shouldn't one of the first subjects be on how they can best train their replacements in other countries when their jobs are outsourced?

      Why would a kid want to pursue a career in computer science? Wouldn't it be a better career choice to become a lawyer, marketing insultant, MBA or politician?

      No. Stop laughing. I am serious.


      --
      The pessimists are usually right because optimists are full of crap.
      • by bsDaemon (87307)

        Median salaries for new JD and MBA graduates is pretty low these days, because schools minted a boat load of them and then the economy went to pot. Much like anything else, things are still OK for the best graduates from the best schools, but the average aren't doing so swell because there are too many of them. Marketing and politics both generally require being attractive to succeed (although in politics, you can substitute wealth for attractiveness, but if you're already rich, why are you worrying about a

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        If we are going to teach our kids computer science, shouldn't one of the first subjects be on how they can best train their replacements in other countries when their jobs are outsourced?

        Why would a kid want to pursue a career in computer science? Wouldn't it be a better career choice to become a lawyer, marketing insultant, MBA or politician?

        No. Stop laughing. I am serious.

        Coding is not computer science. Coding is a trade job like plumber, electrician, etc. Comparing coding to computer sci

        • > Coding is not computer science. Coding is a trade job like plumber, electrician, etc.

          While I agree with you. Marketing and management people might not. :-) It's all got something to do with a computer, right? And we can sell it, right?
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Wouldn't it be a better career choice to become a lawyer, marketing insultant, MBA or politician?

        Welder, electrician, plumber ... those trades are always in demand, and can't be outsourced.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Some of the subjects that will be included are:
      * wiretapping for beginners
      * how to put up ineffective paywalls
      * how to run a thriving social media network into the ground

      Of course, being a "computer science" class (by which I'm sure they mean "ICT for dummies"), there won't be some of Rupert's other specialties. Such as:
      * How to influence people by a coordinator national campaign by the newspapers and other media you own (and thus ensure a victory for the side who promised you the most in the next election)
      * How to lie, cheat and steal your way out of trouble
      * News? We're not a news channel, we're an entertainment channel. And we'll take it to court to ensure we can lie while pretending it is news.

      This sounds exactly like CNN, MSNBC, and the Obama admistration

  • by codeButcher (223668) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:31AM (#44193733)

    When are people going to realize "coding" != "computer science"? (or <>, or ! .equals(), or ne, etc. depending on your flavor). Nothing against Java devs, but IT needs a little more than programmers in language X. There are millions speaking English, Spanish, etc., but not that many of them churn out bestsellers, or even mundane but usable prose. You're certainly not going to make good or even adequate writers by (only) teaching a language. You're not going to improve the IT industry by training a million more monkeys to (only) tap away at a million more keyboards.

    But perhaps Oracle does like to see an increase in their user base.

    [OK, rant over]

    • by Skiron (735617) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:35AM (#44193743) Homepage

      Also, what I have found, is that only certain people have the inbuilt 'logic' to code. Sure, you can teach them the language syntax etc., but the logic part needs to come from the head. A lot of people, no matter how hard they try, just cannot do it!

      • by mmcxii (1707574) on Friday July 05, 2013 @09:16AM (#44193913)
        Perhaps but the sooner you give a young mind a chance to work with these concepts the earlier you'll find people with "natural" talent and the sooner it will be cultivated.

        BTW, as I'm sure you can tell I'm not 100% convinced that this is "inbuilt." I really think it is a matter of upbringing. Whatever kids are introduced to at an early age and whatever they find positive reinforcement in (and negative reinforcement for that matter) will create the kinds of adults that they grow into. They'll simply grow to be dependent if you just fix every problem a child has instead of giving them the tools and knowledge to fix it themselves.
        • by Skiron (735617)

          I disagree. Think sports. Why can some people run faster than others? Why can some people play tennis better than others? It is nothing to do with upbringing, just the way we are. Everybody is good at something, so sometimes no matter how many tennis coaches you have, or training on a bike to win the tour de France, will never work. Sure, you can be taught how to play tennis, chess et al, but to be GOOD you need the natural ability to be able to do it anyway.

          The same with logical good programming. So

          • by mmcxii (1707574)
            The Tour de France is a long way from being "GOOD" at something. You're talking about a few out of a couple tens of thousands of professional bike racers who will ever win a Tour de France. There may only be a dozen or so FIDE champions in your lifetime but you best believe the FIDE also have about ten thousand of grandmasters (if not more) in the same span of time. And if you've ever sat and talked to a FIDE grandmaster (I have) you'll realize that it's not about some unknown ability, it's about an investm
          • by vilanye (1906708)
            Logic can be taught as long as the student has at least some aptitude and interest.

            If parents give their children toys and activities that build skills in logic and give them encouragement they are much more likely to pursue those skills in high school and college then the child of say Burt and Virgina Chance.

            You probably won't get much out of trying to teach programming or CS to a person with down's syndrome, but you can with someone with at least average intelligence and a desire/interest to learn
          • by Anonymous Coward

            It's more like sketch art.

            Some people can effortlessly do great stuff and with training can me masters.
            Some people can try very hard and do adequate work.
            Some people can't do it no matter how hard they try.

      • by Narrowband (2602733) on Friday July 05, 2013 @10:36AM (#44194505)
        I took AP computer science in high school, myself, and it really wasn't programming, it was pretty much the same as a college data structures class (arrays, linked lists, trees, sparse matrices, searching and sorting, etc.) Going straight into that without some earlier programming foundation doesn't really work so well. We need to start kids earlier to really get proficient.

        The logic skills needed to code can be developed, too, but it needs support much earlier, including in elementary school math. I remember in 2nd-4th grade, our textbook was called "sets and numbers," and we did a lot with set theory, which my son's school hasn't. There are tradeoffs: he was into algebraic equations in 4th grade, which I never did until at least middle school. But overall it seems like he's had less emphasis on logic and discrete math and more on general/continuous math. My wife and I have tried to supplement it, but it isn't really standard anymore, where we live.

        Anyway, if kids get enough practice with sets and set operations in elementary school, then logic operations a bit later (which and teach them how it's really the same, AND = intersection, OR = union, etc.) and throw in a few other concepts like variables, then they should be ready to start getting some early programming classes in middle school, which will stick with them a long time.
      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Really I'd put teaching of concepts of logic ahead of teaching any kind of programming.

        Logic isn't just about "a == b && c d" kinds of expressions. It's also about recognizing bogosity in all areas of life - which is of course probably why most schools don't teach it.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:41AM (#44193761)

      very few 'comp sci' jobs require science. they are 95% pedestrian level coding (for-loops, conditionals, etc).

      I get a kick out of the interview process, these days, when its all about 'how much of an algorithms blackbelt are you?' when jobs simply don't -require- that level.

      coding is perfectly fine and is what is mostly used in computer programming; you rarely need to get all that advanced in day to day software engineering.

      (I take issue with teaching kids in the west about programming, though: it sets up a false hope that they'll someday get jobs in that field. and they won't. it will mostly go to india and china. teaching kids that they can earn a living in the thinking arts is false hope.)

      • by korbulon (2792438) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:46AM (#44193785)

        I see what you're saying, and you're *mostly* right. It's just that every now and then you do need to get your hands into the nuts and bolts of an algorithm (in my own case, about twice a year I need to look at something related to graphs or optimization).

        It is rare in practice that the compsci knowledge is needed, but knowing such stuff ahead of time is the difference between knowing how to just get on with the things and struggling for weeks on end, or just staring blankly at the screen, or just writing some kludge code that "kinda works".

      • (I take issue with teaching kids in the west about programming, though: it sets up a false hope that they'll someday get jobs in that field. and they won't. it will mostly go to india and china. teaching kids that they can earn a living in the thinking arts is false hope.)

        At a stage I worked at a certain unnamed company as a contractor. The project manager (from the company itself) that I worked under once remarked in frustration to me: "You know what the problem is with this company? Too few chiefs and too many Indians!" Of course, he was of Indian extraction himself, so I suppose he could afford the criticism.

        Which sort of illustrates my point: while it is nice to have a workforce of cheap coders on projects, you DO need more to see the bigger picture. This goes from mana

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      "When are people going to realize "coding" != "computer science"? (or , or ! .equals(), or ne, etc. depending on your flavor). "

      I use "is different to".

      Otherwise, I'd add "{" somewhere after "When".

      And I'd also replace "people" with "pp1". But that's just because I'm a hateful little subhuman monster that enjoys messing with the next person who falls in that code. No... Wait... That's what the previous guy did.

    • by pinkstuff (758732)

      There are millions speaking English, Spanish, etc., but not that many of them churn out bestsellers, or even mundane but usable prose

      Yes, but without knowing how to write, those chances are 0...

      Programming is a subset of computer science, and a useful starting point for getting people interested in the field

    • But to write a bestseller, knowing at least one language is a prerequisite.

      You may be the world bet pantomime - that won't help you starting your novel if you don't have access to language.

      And as with novels, the originale language is pretty secondary (there are translators for that. Some stuff may work better in one language than the other, but usually you can get by with any language). It's more the "programming mindset" (what some other poster described as "logic").

      Breaking down a big task in smaller sub

      • But to write a bestseller, knowing at least one language is a prerequisite.

        I do agree that an in-depth knowledge of a language(s) is not negotiable for writing good software. That was not the main point though.

        I had to take a whole semester back at uni in "Introduction to OOP". That lecture was held by the CS department and i spent 4 months each tuesday at 7am in a lecture hall where someone waved around pictures of cars and planes and the respective stencils of cars and planes - their idea of explaining the concept without using a specific programming language.

        Needless to say, i didn't get it.

        A year later, a mechanical engineering professor summed up that whole semester in 5 seconds: "Classes are little more than structs with code inside".

        Perhaps that original lecturer was not a very good teacher. OR, maybe it's true that some people are just not cut out to understand CS topics. OOP is in fact "slightly" more than just structs with code inside them. Unfortunately I have seen a lot of code in practice by people who "only" learned a language, or moved to IT from some of the engineering disciplines where some co

        • No. That lecture was a direct result of their descision to teach the "science" in computer science seperatly from the coding part. That resulted in a lecture without any examples, as they would have been "code" and would have needed to decide on an example language.

      • by BonThomme (239873)

        have you seen code written by mechanical engineers?

        • Well, the semester we had to take "Introduction to C programming" at that department concentrated mostly on writing pit patterns to obscure ports to control the PCs timing chips, controlling external motor/generator setups, OpenGL viewports and other fun stuff.

          That much for teaching code quality :-)

          Definitly not how you would teach someone a programming language. I enjoyed it, as I already had a programming background, the others enjoyed it at least more than writing a double linked list in Pascal at the CS

      • by jbengt (874751)

        . . . i spent 4 months each tuesday at 7am in a lecture hall . . .

        I must say, those are extraordinarily long Tuesdays you have there.

      • by vilanye (1906708)

        A year later, a mechanical engineering professor summed up that whole semester in 5 seconds: "Classes are little more than structs with code inside".

        That is a decent introductory description, yet woefully incomplete and misleading. If you don't want a hand-waving, dumbed-down definition of OO and it doesn't mostly talk about message passing it is going to be a wrong-headed explanation at best.

        • Well that was the CS department tried before. But that that was the initial spark that made anything else fall in place. Just 6 months too late.

    • When are people going to realize "coding" != "computer science"? (or <>, or ! .equals(), or ne, etc. depending on your flavor).

      I think it'll happen when you read past the Slashdot title to the summary, and realize that the article is talking about computer science and that the whole "Who Will Teach U.S. Kids To Code?" this is a fabrication of the submitter/editors.

      Nothing against Java devs, but IT needs a little more than programmers in language X. There are millions speaking English, Spanish, etc., but not that many of them churn out bestsellers, or even mundane but usable prose.

      This is probably the most elegant argument I have ever seen for teaching algorithms, big O notation, and other theory topics, instead of languages, which is a switch most U.S. universities made after the decision was forced by the accreditation change in the late 1980's.

      A

    • Don't forget the people who learn Microsoft specific code that only works on a Microsoft platform, DirectX, .NET etc. There was a conversation on Twitter recently between some Game Devs about how they should have learned OpenGL first instead of the DirectX they did learn. When you lock yourself in to something specific, when other things exist that apply to a broader range of Platforms; then you get exactly what you deserve when it's EOL and your SOL.

      I don't know how to code, but if I did, it wouldn't be pl

    • the correct syntax is ('coding' .NE. 'computer science')

      And you are correct coding is not computer science, and computer science is not a science, it's a conceit to call it engineering.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:36AM (#44193745) Homepage
    Let them teach themselves. That's how many of the current generation of programmers got started. And it's even easier now than it was before. There are so many free resources on the internet to get you started. If there is any direct teaching, it should be in programs outside the regular school curriculum. More free day-camps and stuff where teachers can teach without having to worry about state imposed curricula. Students are free to be there or not to attend so you have kids who (mostly) want to be there, which creates a better learning environment for all. Most people I know who are good at anything aren't good because of what they learned about it in school, but rather what they did outside school to further their own learning.
    • Let them teach themselves. That's how many of the current generation of programmers got started. And it's even easier now than it was before.

      How so? Back then, a lot of people weren't doing "computing" style tasks on a machine that's digitally locked down. The only machine resembling a computer that was digitally locked down then was a game console, and game consoles didn't try to be all-purpose home entertainment devices the way they are now. Nowadays, a child might not have access to a PC [slashdot.org] but instead might have access only to devices running iOS, for which programming tools are priced way out of the range of a child saving his allowance.

    • Most people I know who are good at anything aren't good because of what they learned about it in school, but rather what they did outside school to further their own learning.

      I absolutely agree with this -- and it generally must be true, or no one would excel in any field. In order to be better than average in a profession, you'd at some point have to go beyond the basic elements taught in school to everybody.

      Let them teach themselves.

      However, I disagree a bit here. There will be some kids who will be motivated to teach themselves from the start and who happen upon programming as you probably did, and as many here probably did.

      But what about the kids who don't have a parent running a Linux box, or th

      • There will be some kids who will be motivated to teach themselves from the start and who happen upon programming as you probably did, and as many here probably did.

        The fast approaching "digital divide." What you mention is similar to kids who used to (and still do) grow up in homes without books around adults who do not read them. Growing up without access to a real computer (yeah, I said it--break out your pedantic arguments) and people who know how to use them is going to result in children growing into adults who have no desirable place in an ever-increasingly competitive knowledge/information based world where creativity is rewarded and consumption is expensive.

    • No, lets not because this turns out to be a bad idea and we have data for this. The self teaching route reaches only an incredibly small percentage of kids. More importantly, our data suggests that we can and SHOULD expose kids to computational thinking/CS/Programming at school as early as elementary school level because they actually enjoy it and it helps them with other school topics. By doing so we find that many students, particularly girls and underrepresented students, will get interested in the topic
  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:38AM (#44193751)

    As the profession of software development matures, I increasingly question the value of teaching coding first. That gives the illusion that once you know how to code, you are ready to be a developer.

    In my opinion, that approach is what has led to the pervasively vulnerable infrastructure of today. People think that because they can make something work in PHP, that's all there is to it.

    I'm suggesting that teaching kids to attack and exploit vulnerable systems first might be more valuable. Once you understand the basics of that, you become powerfully motivated to avoid writing vulnerable code. And as you probably know, you need to learn some programming anyway to be an effective attacker.

    I realize this will never happen. There are lots of people who would say, "Oh, noes, we can't teach kids to hack! They'll do something evil!" I would reply, if you are seriously afraid of having your systems compromised by high-school kids, then you should agree with me on the importance of teaching defensive programming early!

    • by dcollins (135727)

      "I increasingly question the value of teaching coding first... I'm suggesting that teaching kids to attack and exploit vulnerable systems first might be more valuable... And as you probably know, you need to learn some programming anyway to be an effective attacker."

      Thank you for my morning logical contradiction.

    • by anegg (1390659)

      I think that learning the basic aspects of programming, and some coding, provides an understanding of the formal expression of algorithms (as well as the possibilities and limitations of expressing one's self in a manner suitable for machine-interpretation) that is very useful when learning the more theoretical aspects of computer science.

      There may be some value in trying to teach concepts apart from the formal expression of those concepts; we could try it out with integral and differential calculus as we

    • I'm suggesting that teaching kids to attack and exploit vulnerable systems first might be more valuable.

      So you are suggesting a day camp where children are introduced to engineering by trying to destroy a bridge? Perhaps starting with gasoline, moving to fertilizer bombs, and finally C4? This might be a good way to hold their attention and demonstrate the properties of materials--fostering an interest in the field of engineering. Good idea.

  • Computer science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday July 05, 2013 @08:57AM (#44193823)
    Computer science as much about coding as astronomy is about building telescopes ...
    • by petes_PoV (912422)
      Quite. Maybe more people would want to go into Computer Science if they didn't have to mess around with programming
      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        After working with a lot of computer scientists with PhD and everything I can tell you that a lot of them don't mess around with programming and that you probably don't want them to. The union between the people who climb high on the academic ladder and the people who actually know how to program is remarkably small.

    • It's hard to build an interest in astronomy without an interest in amateur stargazing, and it's hard to build an interest in that if all the telescopes to which you have access are digitally locked down to view only specific stars and planets, which the manufacturer claims is a safety measure to keep, say, non-professionals from pointing the device at our sun. Likewise, it's hard to build an interest in computer science without an interest in amateur coding, and it's hard to build an interest in that if all
    • by isorox (205688)

      Computer science as much about coding as astronomy is about building telescopes ...

      Computer science needs a computer less than astronomy needs a telescope.

      I personally hate computer science. I'm a broadcaster. I make solutions to get things on air. Part of that involves writing code, part of it involves wiring up cables, bust most of it involves understanding broadcast and understanding journalists.

      Coding is a very useful tool, more specific than "writing a report", but certainly less specific, and certainly more useful, than knowing how to "use word".

      Computer Science is a science, for pe

      • Computer Science is a science, for people with frizzy grey hair, that live in ivory towers and have little practical knowhow. You lock them in a room and occasionally things emerge that you can see a practical application for. It's essential, and it's all way beyond me.

        Nice rant, but computer science is not a mere abstract academic subject. Sure, you can often come up with code that will solve a problem on a practical level, but what if you need the code to run faster for some application? What if you don't want to spend your days "reinventing the wheel" for every coding problem you encounter, when there are stock algorithms and methods that allow you to quickly code a solution?

        I know some others will probably quibble with the following analogy, but one way to think o

        • What if you don't want to spend your days "reinventing the wheel" for every coding problem you encounter, when there are stock algorithms and methods that allow you to quickly code a solution?

          If this is your reasoning then I have one word for ya: Google

  • The first thing that needs to be done is not have all American students (who are there because the have some interest) quit these courses after the first several semesters. The second thing is to stop excessive outsourcing of development jobs. This has nothing to do with skill and training, its more about saving money. The third thing is that these businesses don't feel your computer science degrees are all that important anyway. You are putting to much importance on technical things when these companie
    • I forgot to add my point.. but based on what I said, companies really don't care who codes this software. They will find anyone to do it for a low cost.
    • by BVis (267028) on Friday July 05, 2013 @09:38AM (#44194039)

      This has nothing to do with skill and training, its more about saving money.

      Bingo. Big Business doesn't like it when supply and demand works against them. Developers are in-demand, and usually when something is in-demand, the price for that thing goes up (in this case, salary and other compensation). They hate that. Money is for the executive golden parachutes, not the people who do actual work. So, by increasing the supply, you tend to lower upwards salary pressure. It's the same reason why they love H1-Bs so much; they'll accept lower pay, which has the effect of downward pressure on salaries.

      However, it's all kind of based on a false premise anyway: the impression that they want you to have that there aren't any workers with the required skills to fill the jobs. This is bullshit. The problem is that there aren't enough workers with the required skills that are willing to accept the money the employers think they're worth (which is waaay below market). So, Big Business whines to their (wholly-owned) elected representatives to get more H1-Bs, and in addition they sponsor programs like this to give the students the impression that they "owe" them something in the form of taking a lower salary. It's all just about money; there's no philanthropy here.

      The third thing is that these businesses don't feel your computer science degrees are all that important anyway.

      Yes, and no. It's important to them that you have the debt that usually accompanies a college degree; the degree itself, as you indicate, is meaningless. People with huge non-dischargeable debt are more willing to put up with poor treatment by their employer. If you're debt-free, and your boss tells you you now need to do the work of three people, you can much more easily tell him to fuck off as compared with someone who owes $60,000 in student loans.

      When it comes to technology... the feel they can get anyone to do this work.

      The concept of the 'worker as interchangeable cog' meme is not specific to the tech world, as you probably know already. Case in point: The nurse population is rapidly greying in this country. Nurses that have four decades of experience tend to be at the top of their salary range. Hospitals look at that and say "Why are we paying this one person so much when we can hire three CNAs to do the same work?" The difference is that CNAs are intended to be assistants, which is what the A in the acronym is (Certified Nursing Assistant). They're not intended to provide care themselves; they're trained to do things like clean toilets and rooms in a care-ready way. But all management sees is dollars and cents; at the vast majority of hospitals, the administration has put patient care on the permanent back burner in order to focus on what they really care about: money. Hospital administrators typically are lawyers and accountants, they have no ethical responsibility to the patients. They also see nurses as interchangeable; they see nothing wrong with a nurse that's worked in oncology for twenty years being told to fill in in the ICU. After all, a nurse is a nurse, right?

      • by volmtech (769154)

        Do you drive a foreign car? Where was your computer built? Who picks the produce you buy? Where was the shirt you're wearing sewn?

        You say, "Americans can't build a reliable car, they wont do that kind of work, their stuff cost to much." There is a bumper sticker I see on pickups in my area, "Don't talk bad about a farmer with your mouth full."

        • I think you're replying to the wrong comment, I'm not saying anything about American workers vs. foreign ones.

          • by volmtech (769154)
            H1-B, foreign workers, work cheap, business makes more profit. You buy cheap imported goods, more cash stays in your bank account. Same motive, get every thing as cheap as you can. We are all guilty.
            • Using cheap labor doesn't necessarily mean lower prices for consumer goods. It just means that more money stays in the business' pockets. They'll still charge you the price that they'll think you'll pay. Businesses don't base their pricing on how much it costs to make the widget, they base it on what they think you'll pay for it. When you hear "Buy American", what you're hearing is a business that doesn't want to compete on price, they're keeping their (more expensive) pricing in place and raising your

              • by volmtech (769154)

                Globalism is great until your job is out sourced. Of course any business will charge the maximum for it's product. You own an iPhone don't you? We hope that competition will keep prices, and profits, lower.

                Allowing foreign manufactures to compete drives prices even lower and usually eliminates domestic profits completely and with it the business. Now the money you spend for that product disappears form our economy and can't be used to hire people or pay taxes.

                The genie is out of the bottle now so global

  • Are they teaching Comp Sci or Java? There's a difference, after all.
    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Are they teaching Comp Sci or Java? There's a difference, after all.

      Yes there is, just like there is a difference between mathematics and engineering. One is theory the other is practical.

      • Are they teaching Comp Sci or Java? There's a difference, after all.

        Yes there is, just like there is a difference between mathematics and engineering. One is theory the other is practical.

        Correct. In theory Java is great. In practice, Comp Sci will teach you how to be a good programmer.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday July 05, 2013 @09:44AM (#44194093)

    All the amazing programmers I've ever known started out self taught. They all have a back-story about how they had "this old machine.." or they would "go into computer lab on study hall.." or "..spent hours typing in the code out of the magazine..".

    I don't think you can effectively "Teach" programming as a large portion of it is right-brained, but making some sort of CS syllabus available is a great idea for kids that actually want it. With all the action to abolish public education, I am dubious about any suggestions founded by capitalist juggernauts.

    • With all the action to abolish public education, I am dubious about any suggestions founded by capitalist juggernauts.

      "Capitalist juggernauts" had a hand in designing our public education system as it stands. Odd, in that your comment still stands in light of the ironic fact.

  • Surely with all of these advances in techonolgy, most programming chores can be turned over to virtual robots in the future. If the predictions are correct that robots will replace most labor jobs, then couldn't they also replace most programming jobs, too? Might we not be headed back to the day where we looked at programs as accepting inputs into a black box and spitting out the outputs?

    For sure, there will be computer scientists in the future, just like there will be physicists, but in the early days of t

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      At some point, with all of those design patterns floating around in cyber-space, isn't it going to just be a matter of a program assembling the pieces based on the parameters inputted by the user, not the programmer?

      There's this anecdote about a mechanic which slightly adjusted a screw and thus repaired an expensive car many others failed before. Being asked why he charged thousands of dollars for a 3 mins job, he answered: "Look sonny, you ain't paying me for tightening that screw, you are paying for me knowing which screw to tighten" (those floating design pattern won't magically settle in the necessary form just by drag-dropping).

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        At some point, with all of those design patterns floating around in cyber-space, isn't it going to just be a matter of a program assembling the pieces based on the parameters inputted by the user, not the programmer?

        There's this anecdote about a mechanic which slightly adjusted a screw and thus repaired an expensive car many others failed before. Being asked why he charged thousands of dollars for a 3 mins job, he answered: "Look sonny, you ain't paying me for tightening that screw, you are paying for me knowing which screw to tighten" (those floating design pattern won't magically settle in the necessary form just by drag-dropping).

        If we can AI that can drive cars and fly planes, surely AI for making a decision as to which design pattern to use based on a set patterns can't be that difficult. We've already got code generators for UI and database connectors. Is it that far of a leap to expect code generators for the connectors that put it all together?

        • Yes, it is a big big leap. Like an ant trying to jump the Grand Canyon. Instead we just trundle down one side, along the bottom, only to be washed away by some unforeseen circumstance.

  • Why not trades schools / apprenticeships? like system?

    College Computer Science is overly tilted to theory (very-es from to school to school) and can take 4+ years and 4+ years pure class room can be over kill.

    And when you talk about skill gaps it seems lot's of people with Computer Science schooling seem to have them.

    also other parts of tech like media arts good places like Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy are hurt by being only a 2 year school but the said thing is that you can learn alot more with re

    • (very-es from to school to school)

      I agree with your trade school idea, but is that really how you spelled "varies"?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While we are it, let's teach everyone to engineer, fly an aircraft, and perform open brain surgery!

  • If you want Americans to learn programming, provide jobs for them.

    • +1 We've spent the last 20 years shipping those development jobs to India, China, and other countries where the cost of labor is cheaper, and then wonder why nobody is leaping into the industry anymore.
      • I completely agree with this. I would also go on to say I wouldn't recommend my kids getting into coding or development. There are a lot better careers in the world.
  • Before you bash MS too hard on this, you should probably check out the amazing game/engine they're providing to xbox, xbone and win8 users for free:
    https://joinprojectspark.com/

    It's meant for kids (though I'm sure adults will become engaged) and is basically the AAA version of Kodu, a programming language that was built by MS Research with the explicit aim of teaching kids to code.

  • I've been wondering what is up with Slashdot lately, all these fawning articles in support of the astroturf campaign for getting more cheap programmers into the U.S. Despite all evidence to the contrary (good studies by professor Norm Matloff, and quantitative proof at EPI.org) we keep hearing about the horrors of not enough STEM workers.... I just noticed that Slashdot is part of DICE now. Ah..that explains a lot.
  • Murdoch's people don't code - but they sure know how to hack!

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