Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Programming Software Politics

Non-Coders As the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements 158

Posted by timothy
from the but-I-play-one-on-tv dept.
theodp writes "You wouldn't select Linus Torvalds to be the public face for the 'Year of Basketball.' So, why tap someone who doesn't code to be the face of 'The Year of Code'? Slate's Lily Hay Newman reports on the UK's Year of Code initiative to promote interest in programming and train teachers, which launched last week with a Director who freely admits that she doesn't know how to code. "I'm going to put my cards on the table," Lottie Dexter told Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman on national TV. I've committed this year to learning to code...so over this year I'm going to see exactly what I can achieve. So who knows, I might be the next Zuckerberg." "You can always dream," quipped the curmudgeonly Paxman, who was also unimpressed with Dexter's argument that the national initiative could teach people to make virtual birthday cards, an example straight out of Mark Zuckerberg's Hour of Code playbook (coming soon to the UK). Back in the States, YouTube chief and Hour of Code headliner Susan Wojcicki — one of many non-coder Code.org spokespersons — can be seen on YouTube fumbling for words to answer a little girl's straightforward question, "What is one way you apply Computer Science to your job at Google?". While it's understandable that companies and tech leaders probably couldn't make CS education "an issue like climate change" (for better or worse) without embracing politicians and celebrities, it'd be nice if they'd at least showcase a few more real-life coders in their campaigns."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Non-Coders As the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Actually, yes I expect most of them to have nothing to do with the actual endeavor involved.

    It's very rare for the President of the Hair Club for men to be in the advertising.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And sad at the same time. She has the looks though, can't argue that.

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      Actually, yes I expect most of them to have nothing to do with the actual endeavor involved.

      It's very rare for the President of the Hair Club for men to be in the advertising.

      And not knowing how to code is the main reason why they lend themselves to lead these stupid initiatives in the first place. If they knew how to code they would know it's not something the vast majority of people can, or want, to do, and how dangerous a clueless coder can be.

      • I disagree, the bar does not need to be raised very high to get a lot of productivity gains. I have been astounded how long people spend trying to do simple data mining or formatting that would take a few minutes if they could just code a simple script or pipe together a few bash commands. In my experience, having a little understanding of something leads to a greater appreciation of people who are highly skilled in that discipline, not the other way around.
  • Writing, reading and arithmetic. Then how do you organize a task, a problem. Define what you have, define the goal, investigate what help you can get from tools/people & then define a plan which might get you to the goal. School doesn't tend to teach how to solve problems or tasks early on, but they can do that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 09, 2014 @04:05PM (#46205051)

      Coders, in general, aren't media personalities. Their appearance and mannerisms don't appeal to the masses. They especially tend not to be politicians. As such, it makes no sense to make them the public face of an effort intended to get the attention of a general audience.

      Coders would only inspire natural-born coders. To inspire people who have never thought about it before, you need people to whom they can relate...specifically, non-coders.

      This shines a light on how misguided the approach is. The goal of creating a significant increase in the labor-supply of eager-and-able coders will fail. Coders are very much born rather than made, and anyone who is "made" into a coder will leave the industry once they learn what conditions are really like.

      The only way to get talented-but-uninterested people interested is to offer them jobs that treat them well and pay them well. All else is bullshit.

      • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @04:35PM (#46205225)

        Yeah, there is no such thing as a competent spokesperson who also knows how to write code. Because knowing how to talk to people and knowing how to program computers are mutually fucking exclusive. Basically, all coders are mentally deficient when it comes to interacting with other human beings. I'm sure that's exactly what non-coders fucking need to hear.

        Apparently, the campaign was doomed from the beginning.

      • The one BIG misunderstanding about coders that we are slave monkeys who only come out from under our rocks to air out. This comes from non-coders who DO NOT understand, not just coding but the science in general. Here's a question for those non-coders out there; who do you think taught US?! QA coder who must know how to talk to people. A coder who must know how to share that knowledge in a classroom context. No every coder is a natural born coder. But, there are those that have the ability to do it, and th
        • by digitig (1056110) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @05:37PM (#46205645)
          I learned almost entirely from books. I've no idea what Kernigan and Ritchie were like in front of a class -- I was in the wrong country to find out -- and for all I know they might have written The C Programming Language in their moms' basements. Ditto Knuth, ditto Booch, and so on. Sure, there's no reason for a programmer not to be a great presenter, but there's no reason they have to be for us to learn from them.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            While I prefer books, live explanation can be useful too.

            Internet gives you access to plenty of talks given by all kinds of people, and there are plenty of coders who held/hold a teachers job as well - they are pretty good at giving talks, usually. Check out Simon Peyton-Jones or Martin Odersky's talks, for example.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          The inherent problem with software coding is it is not logical but bound purely by the internal rules of software language used, when the internal rules of software languages diverge from simple logical rules taught in other aspects of learning, it really confuses a lot people who have difficulty reorganising their logic around the internal rules of a software language. There are plenty of reason why this happens, in speeding up code productivity and not having to rewrite the wheel every time you use one o

      • Get over yourself, you were not "born to code" any more than a king is "born to rule".
      • Most big name coders also seem to think this idea of trying to teach coding to non coders is rather idiotic. There are better ways to teach the basic skills and the detailed skills are all going to be silly.
        • by i.r.id10t (595143)

          I think teaching the concepts - how to think about the common programming tools (variables and then arrays, logic, loops, objects, object oriented vs. proceedure oriented, connecting tovarious data sources, etc) without even really writing any real code.

          If someone is still interested in learning how to code after that, then it is time to break out the text editor and compiler/interpreter of choice.

          • by Eskarel (565631)

            I think that having courses like that available is an excellent thing, I think staff pointing students who might be interested in such courses into them is also great. I think that actually teaching the concepts you're talking about to every student is a great way to get a whole mess of students even less interested in schools.

            Just because we love doing it doesn't mean everyone does, and there's a reason why computer programming teams tend to have more than their fair share of people with autism spectrum di

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        If you are talking about Lottie Dexter than this might help explain things http://politicalscrapbook.net/... [politicalscrapbook.net]. So if your questions is who the hell is she fucking to get this job the answer is someone closely involved with Iain Duncan Smithâ(TM)s thinktank the Centre for Social Justice (yes, it is a PR=B$ double speak title).

      • by gcobb (182307)

        I disagree. Many of the marketing people in the B2B side of tech industries are former coders. They may not be current developers, but they have the background and experience to talk knowledgeably while also being marketing professionals.

        There are plenty of people with the crossover of coding experience and good PR and interaction skills. Why aren't they being used in these projects?

    • Writing, reading and arithmetic. Then how do you organize a task, a problem. Define what you have, define the goal, investigate what help you can get from tools/people & then define a plan which might get you to the goal. School doesn't tend to teach how to solve problems or tasks early on, but they can do that.

      My personal problem solving algorithm goes like this: Step 1: Find out what you want to achieve. Step 2: Find out how to achieve it. Step 3: Do it. But usually what I observe is the headless chicken algorithm: Step 1: Get all flustered and jump from one argument to the next. Step 2: Go back to Step 1.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @03:47PM (#46204937)

    Of course I'm not.

    But seriously, am I the only one who doesn't give a shit?

    Look, don't code. Don't encourage your kids or students to code. It'll make those who do more valuable. Do mechanics worry about everyone on the planet knowing how to fix their car? Do carpenters spend countless hours navel-gazing about bringing carpentry to school children and girls and the average CEO? Do HVAC specialists?

    Do whatever the hell you want to do. The fewer who want to code, the better for the negotiating power and leverage of coders and technologists going into the future.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 09, 2014 @04:50PM (#46205325)

      Do mechanics worry about everyone on the planet knowing how to fix their car?

      Watch the Jeremy Paxman interview. It is hilarious. This isn't about mechanics telling other people to learn how their car works.

      This is people who can't tell a piston from a pylon that OTHER people need to learn to be a mechanic.

      The woman in that interview said that if she knew how to code then she could have saved money by doing her own graphics for her website (which she would also be building). Look up WordPress! HTML is "code" only in a very broad sense. And a year of learning JavaScript won't do much to teach you Apache/IIS administration.

      The problem here is that "code" is being used as a synonym for "computer magic".

      Learning more stuff usually does not hurt. Anyone who wants to learn to code should be encouraged to learn to code. Or to learn website administration. Or to learn graphic design. Or to learn to be a mechanic.

      But, as Jeremy Paxman pointed out, is it better to put the focus on code or should money be spent getting people to learn Mandarin Chinese?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        But, as Jeremy Paxman pointed out, is it better to put the focus on code or should money be spent getting people to learn Mandarin Chinese?

        It would be interesting to know how useful each of those will be to a school child in their later life. Of course we can't really know for sure, but based on how many who studied French or German in the past and then went on to use it in a commercial capacity I doubt coding skills are any less valuable.

        Of course not everyone will use them, but that's how school works. As well as the core subjects like maths and English you learn a bit of everything else because at age 10 you have little idea what you want t

        • by khasim (1285)

          Of course we can't really know for sure, but based on how many who studied French or German in the past and then went on to use it in a commercial capacity I doubt coding skills are any less valuable.

          Look at the device that you used to type those words. Whether it was a desktop or laptop or tablet or smartphone or whatever it probably was not manufactured in France or Germany.

          It was probably manufactured in China. Then shipped to wherever you are.

          Now look around and see how many other items were manufacture

    • by JackDW (904211) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @04:56PM (#46205371) Homepage

      But Zuckerberg and the other industry leaders don't want programming skills to be valuable. They want programmers to be cheap and easily replaced, like unskilled workers in a factory. The "year of code" is not for the benefit of school children, or programmers in general. It is for the benefit of the upper management of major corporations, who live in hope that good programmers will one day be cheap.

      Imagine that instead of the "year of code", it's the "year of football". The government notices that the England soccer team is not very good. The soccer industry finds that good players are really expensive, and wishes that it could recruit a few more good players straight out of school while they are cheap. They get together with this initiative called the "year of football", with the aim of (1) reducing the cost of employing good football players, and (2) improving the performance of the national team.

      The immediate result is a massive investment: a soccer coach for every school, extra soccer lessons, one football to be provided to each child and so on.

      But of course it achieves nothing, because the children who love playing football are already playing it in their spare time. The impact is only on the children who hate football and don't want to play it. They are forced to take part in this boring activity, developing skills they don't want in order to play a game that they don't enjoy. They come to hate football even more than before.

      And, because the children who love it are forced to play with children who hate it, this ruins the subject for everyone. They all hate having to learn about basic stuff like how to pass a ball and how to tell if someone is off side: the good players already know this, and the others don't care. Meanwhile the schools spend less time teaching general subjects that are widely useful. Everyone loses.

    • by narcc (412956) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @05:33PM (#46205617) Journal

      Don't encourage your kids or students to code. It'll make those who do more valuable.

      There it is. Fear.

      It's the reason you hear nonsense like programming requires a "special mind" and should be reserved for a select few.

      It's pathetic. Writing code is easy. Ridiculously easy. Hell, back in the 80's it was common for kids under 10 to teach themselves how to program. Anyone can learn to write code -- and that terrifies some people.

      "Oh, but you need to be special to do it well" you cry, hands trembling, desperate to still believe that you're exceptional. All it takes to be a good programmer is practice. It's no different than any other skill. The more you work at it, the better you become. (Even the thickest trend-following, meme-repeating, slashdotter will improve eventually.)

      The fewer who want to code, the better for the negotiating power and leverage of coders and technologists going into the future.

      The world doesn't owe you a living. You can also improve your employment prospects by killing anyone better, better educated, and more experienced than you. It's just as stupid. It's much more sensible to diversify your skill-set. You might still be a trembling coward, but at least you won't be a one-trick pony.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You err on this, completely. Coding requires capability to abstract, think in abstract terms, reason logically, progress step by step in minute detail, while making sure it all fits together and makes sense in the grand scheme of things. All of that preferrably in your own head and with a high tolerance for frustration in expectation of little more positive feedback than the feeling that you have just created the f**ing best thing scince sliced bread, but who gives a damn.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        All it takes to be a good programmer is practice. It's no different than any other skill.

        Thank you for this quote, as it allows those of us who are unfamiliar with code, but skilled in other areas, to see your post for the garbage it is.

        • by rioki (1328185)

          Honestly I think the quote nails it, even though not in the sense that GP meant it. I think coding is easy, you can pick up any programming language quite easily and learning to code is not more that a couple house away. Yet designing, writing, packaging and deploying an application that does not immediately break down in production is a different thing. It takes allot of experience to pull it off and like everything in life 10.000 hours of practice separates the novice from the expert. The problem is not t

      • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @08:39PM (#46206841)

        Writing code is easy. Ridiculously easy.

        Um, right. It's so ridiculously easy that after decades of it, doing it even reasonably well is still a sought after and well-compensated skill.

        It's so ridiculously easy that people keep proposing these "teach everybody to code" things, and they don't work.

        It must be the Illuminati who keep it from working. Or those wascally wepubwicans.

        Hell, back in the 80's it was common for kids under 10 to teach themselves how to program.

        Um, I was around then. It wasn't "common" - it was only "common" among those who had aptitude for it. Like, you know, today.

        • by narcc (412956)

          Sigh... You can't argue with creationists...

          Enjoy your fantasy. The rest of us will continue to live without fear here in reality.

        • Writing code is easy. Ridiculously easy.

          Um, right. It's so ridiculously easy that after decades of it, doing it even reasonably well is still a sought after and well-compensated skill.

          It's so ridiculously easy that people keep proposing these "teach everybody to code" things, and they don't work.

          It must be the Illuminati who keep it from working. Or those wascally wepubwicans.

          Riding a bike is ridiculously easy, and most ten year olds can do it; but if you do it well enough to win the Tour de France you make a lot of money.

          People who dedicate themselves by long practice and careful study to any skill - even a 'ridiculously easy' one - become good at it, and if it's a valued skill, the good people are more valued. It remains a fact that the average ten year old can easily write programs which will give them enough positive feedback and sense of mastery that, with encouragement, th

        • by homb (82455)

          Hell, back in the 80's it was common for kids under 10 to teach themselves how to program.

          Um, I was around then. It wasn't "common" - it was only "common" among those who had aptitude for it. Like, you know, today.

          Back in the 80's you had maybe 30% of kids who really knew how to use computers, let alone program. I'm not talking about games, I'm talking about being able to load up the OS, muck around, launch different programs and use them properly. Kids programming were the exception, just like they are now.

          Just because a loop is obvious to you doesn't mean it's obvious to others:

          "Why do we need these loop things? A counter? What's a counter? How does the computer know to go back and do it again? Where is the counter

          • There was a time when computers were more amenable to such things, less easy to screw up requiring expensive recovery, The raspberry pi has at least tried to address that end of the market. It's easy to hose the OS on the SDCard, but you probably downloaded and installed the (free) image on the SDCard yourself anyway, so you can recover from even the worse rm -rf * incident.
            I'm not sure most people could rebuild their windows laptops from the recovery CD that came with them so people are not as at liberty
      • by lennier (44736)

        Hell, back in the 80's it was common for kids under 10 to teach themselves how to program.

        Yes, exactly. I was there, I was that age. I remember how it was.

        Of course, the ROM-based 8-bit micros we bashed out 10 PRINT "INSERT NAME HERE RULES": GOTO 10 on weren't nearly as scary as a toxic HTML5/Javascript/PHP/MySQL soup of SQL injections and root vulnerabilities running on a three-tier Web platform. It was our parents who were scared of "breaking the computer" while we reassured them that no, a misplaced comma wasn't going to drain their bank account and launch the NATO missile arsenal, and a 'cra

      • "Oh, but you need to be special to do it well"

        First you say that. I agree, most people can do it. Fewer can do it well. Fewer still can be very good. But then to support your argument that it is not true, you say:

        It's no different than any other skill.

        To which I again agree. As if this some how supports your point. further you say:


        The more you work at it, the better you become. (Even the thickest trend-following, meme-repeating, slashdotter will improve eventually.)

        On which again we agree. The problem is

        • by narcc (412956)

          First you say that.

          Reading comprehension, it seems, is difficult for some people. Generally, people will improve that skill very much. Clearly, you've been here a while, and yet you still struggle. I expect it's improved, but it probably started from a low base and then didn't improve very far. This is despite years of practice.

          I guess you don't have the mind for it.

          • Ah but you must be wrong, because in your own words:

            "Oh, but you need to be special to do it well" you cry, hands trembling, desperate to still believe that you're exceptional. All it takes to be a good at reading comprehension is practice. It's no different than any other skill. The more you work at it, the better you become. (Even the thickest trend-following, meme-repeating, slashdotter will improve eventually.)

            • by narcc (412956)

              "Oh, but you need to be special to do it well"

              First you say that.

              Now take a look at your last post. You can puzzle this one out.

              Like any skill, it just takes practice!

    • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @05:37PM (#46205649) Journal

      Excess coders are not something I worry about. Why? Same reason performing musicians don't worry about little Timmy tooting on a recorder in 2nd grade. Odds are Timmy will get frustrated just like I did when I tried to play that damned thing. Even if Timmy has "talent", odds are he won't be able to make money at it. Even if he makes money at it, odds are it won't hurt the other players.

      I think coding is a lot like music in that regard. Fine, teach "coding appreciation" and have coding classes just like you have music appreciation and music classes. Most people will suck at it, only a few will make money, and of that subset only a few will be noteworthy.

      • by narcc (412956)

        The difference, of course, is that the terrified developers out to improve their future employment prospects are all about the same level as Timmy.

    • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @05:52PM (#46205781) Journal
      Believe it or not, a lot of mechanics and carpenters are proud of their skills in the same way programmers are, they do indeed want the basics of nail hammering and tyre changing taught to all school children, and expend considerable effort toward that goal.
    • by adolf (21054)

      Look, don't code. Don't encourage your kids or students to code. It'll make those who do more valuable. Do mechanics worry about everyone on the planet knowing how to fix their car? Do carpenters spend countless hours navel-gazing about bringing carpentry to school children and girls and the average CEO? Do HVAC specialists?

      Look, I don't code either (unless you count hacking Perl every few years "coding"). I don't encourage kids to code.

      But not because it makes those who can/do code more valuable, because

    • Well, give a shit. The only thing, in a globalised world, which keeps America and Europe richer than Asia and Africa, is that up until recently we've been better educated and technically more competent. That's no longer true. If you want your country to be rich enough to pay your pension in your old age, we've got to stay better educated - at least in the technical and engineering areas which increasingly drive the world economy.

    • > The fewer who want to code, the better for the negotiating power and leverage of coders and technologists going into the future. ... which is exactly the point of the initiative. People who can code want too much money, and have outrageous demands like the right to go home and see their families from time to time. Remember you're dealing with people who, deep in their hearts, believe that there's a simple, cheap, instant on-demand solution to absolutely every single problem they can think of (after a
  • by Erich (151) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @03:52PM (#46204971) Homepage Journal
    Because being able to use logic to write instructions that are correct and unambiguous is a skill that everyone should learn. And basically that's what coding is.

    It's like literacy or numeracy or basic understanding of science. You have a problem as a culture if it is culturally acceptable to say "I can't do math" or "I can't understand written language" or "I have no idea about the universe around me or how people go about understanding it" or "I can't read or write logical directions."

    Do you expect everyone to be a best-selling novelist (or a writer that is enjoyed for all history?) No.

    Do you expect everyone to be the next Ramanujan? No.

    Do you expect everyone to be the next Knuth? No.

    But it is expected that everyone have basic skills in these kinds of things. It's just necessary to understand the world. If you don't understand these kinds of things -- if you don't have basic skills in language or mathematics or logic -- then you are at a disadvantage in modern society.

    I group computer science'logic here separate from Mathematics. Perhaps it shouldn't be. But having a population that doesn't understand things like this shuold be considered as problematic as a population that can not read and write.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because being able to use logic to write instructions that are correct and unambiguous is a skill that everyone should learn.

      Coding isn't the only avenue for logical skills. There are off of the top of my head; philosophy, mathematical proofs, writing essays, writing cooking recipes, learning to play chess, and everything in basic sciences..

      There are other avenues for intelligent and creative people than coding and coding is a relatively easy skill to pick up. I am unconvinced that coding adds anymore to a kid's education than reading, writing, mathematics and science. And the way things are in the US, teaching basic science shou

    • Because being able to use logic to write instructions that are correct and unambiguous is a skill that everyone should learn. And basically that's what coding is.

      It's like literacy or numeracy or basic understanding of science. You have a problem as a culture if it is culturally acceptable to say "I can't do math" or "I can't understand written language" or "I have no idea about the universe around me or how people go about understanding it" or "I can't read or write logical directions."

      The skills that are required for coding are the same skills that are required for numeracy (and real science). Abstraction and creating precise formal models is what coding is really about - the rest is just practice and a bit of wrote learning. In a technological society abstraction and model creation are paramount - everyone should know how to do it, and do it well. Is everyone good at maths today? No. Could they be? I think so, and so do many educators but society has decided that "some people are maths

  • What about a PHD for all with an no questions asked loans that just about the only income they can't get at is your in prison $0.13-$1.00 HR job.

    • What about being able to string a coherent sentence together, you fucking thick oaf?

    • Joe, try reading back your own sentences. They are sometimes incredibly hard to read. :) Add some punctuation there or break them down otherwise.
  • problem solving (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @04:00PM (#46205027) Homepage Journal
    Is someone who does not know calculus unable to state the calculus might be beneficial to high school students? Is a parent who is illiterate not able to look on the work, see the value of reading and writing, and want that value for their kid.

    I would hate to live in the world that so many or /. readers seem to live, in which only people who know how to do something can do it, or where coding is a magic that must be protected from the masses. When I learned coding my parents did not know if it would good or bad because few people could do it, but in middle school I was sat down at a teletype machine for an hour a day to learn. I high school I sat down at a terminal and learned to code for real. This taught me problem solving, algebra, trigonometry, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I would haven't learned as well otherwise. Which is beside the point, as coding itself, like reading, writing, and maths has value

    I must also mention that I was fortunate because I had teachers who actually knew programming as work skill, one from IBM, so I was not learning it as wrote, but as craft. There were no tests to pass, other than being able to create a product.

    And really teaching to code is not that hard, at least if you are not worried about tests and objectives and things that generally ruin the educational environment. A few summers ago I taught a group of kids, 12-17 years old, how to make an online application in Python, using nothing but a terminal application and online account, creating one sub-domain for each student.

    So I don't care how is encouraging kids to code. i don't care if they are going to fail every test that comes out. All I would want to do is expose every student to a method of problems solving, let them go through some activities that doesn't involving copying code snippets to make a robot move, and allowing them to have some success and build confidence in them selves. Not a test, not a competition, not a game, just good old fashion legitimate problem solving.

    • by khasim (1285)

      Is someone who does not know calculus unable to state the calculus might be beneficial to high school students?

      Pretty much. Oh they can state that it "might be beneficial". But they cannot state HOW. Or WHY you should spend time learning calc instead of putting those same hours into learning German or another biology class or how to cook.

      Is a parent who is illiterate not able to look on the work, see the value of reading and writing, and want that value for their kid.

      That's different. You can be literate in

  • Has never stopped him from being an opinionated (if misinformed) spokesman on subject. Google "Linus Torvalds" and "usability" for examples. So yes, I would expect Linus Torvalds to be a spokesman for NCAA basketball, basing his opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the competing teams CS departments.

  • by djupedal (584558)
    This 'movement' is just patronizing what it sees as gullible dupes for the following reasons: profit and oh yes, profit. Professionals and SMES are an integral part of the food chain when bringing new blood into the mix. Leaving them out works to stagnate those fresh minds, not help them along.
  • by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Sunday February 09, 2014 @04:28PM (#46205197) Homepage Journal
    Back around 1980, there were a zillion magazine and newspaper articles around about the shortage of programmers, and about how computer science was the highest-paying thing to go into. The result was a boom in CS enrollment, followed by a glut of incompetent entry-level programmers who really wanted to be rafting guides or something. Once the dust settled there was still somewhat of a shortage, and salaries remained high despite all the telephone-sanitizers who tried to become programmers.

    This all has a familiar feel to it.... What the big companies really want right now is cheap programmers, not more programmers. They're clearly hoping that increasing supply will lower their labor costs, whether it's by pushing the "year of code" or by increasing HB-1 visas.

  • Someone looked up all the people who were on the committee of this Year of Code thing. Only three of 23 had a geeky coding background. The others were a bunch of entrepreneurs and startup-biz types.

    Tom Morris [tommorris.org] blog

    How many of them even know what 'github' is? Just a bunch of Nathan Barley types who got lucky. Although it doesn't mean the organisation would be any better if Nathan's programmer sidekick Pingu was on the committee.

    See also

    Adrian Short [adrianshort.org] blog.

    and see also all the episodes of Nathan Barley on YouTub

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      I think you'd want some one who could set up cvs or other source control system from scratch and not just blindly use some purty precaned solution - hmm should I get my good Friend D to suggest to Ed that I could be a useful member of this quango :-)
  • Introducing non-coders to coding ... it feels good ... it just does.
  • ... I'm afraid. Only certain personal traits (such as good looks and charisma - no pun intended) are socially celebrated, while science and engineering talent are quite frankly milked and abused.

    The UK turned its back on science and engineering back in the 1950s and embraced the arts (nothing wrong with that) and the cult of management instead. That tide has not turned; if anything it is getting worse.

    When I joined the IEE (now IET) back in 1990 there was an assumption that everyone with an engineering degr

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The interview was hilariously bad, but here's something interesting. Lottie is what, late 20s/early 30s? UK schools have had computers since the 1980s (and before for some places) & many schools did 'Computer studies' which included basic programming. On top of that we've had affordable home PCs for the best part of twenty years, broadband Internet for a decade, a 1980s computer literacy campaign, a 1990s Internet campaign, any bookshop full of programming tomes and YET... this lady can't code and clear

  • Because it's not really about anyone learning to code. Doesn't seem to be, anyway.

    It's about looking (and perhaps feeling) like you care about the "right" things. No need for actual code knowledge for that.

  • call themselves coders, so I see no problem with
    Linus presenting himself as a basketball player.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've got a book here, Electronic Computers Made Simple 1968 edition (yeah, you read that right) by Henry Jacobowitz. It's brilliant, there's an 'Introduction to the analogue computer' featuring a bit of calculus, some material on op-amps & servomechanisms, a chapter on number systems, one on Boolean algebra, a clear overview of transistors, digital electronics & how they fit together in gates, a look at programming (which to be fair doesn't feature any actual code though does describe techniques su

  • "I might be the next Zuckerberg."

    *pauses* you wouldn't want to do that..

  • This site used to be great. Even in it's latter days, it's been good. That is poised to change. Before long, it will be mediocre, and ordinary.

    I didn't see a problem when Dice Holdings initially bought Slashdot. I figured there would be efforts to drive nerd traffic towards their job listings and such. That was fine. We all need jobs.

    Things have changed now. Beyond the shifts in story choices, the slashvertisements, and so on, something fundamental has changed: Slashdot's owners do not appreciate it.

    Their r

  • Teach the teenagers G-Code. Give them 3-D printers. Reap lots of creativity, most of it indictable.

  • It's a marketing campaign. First and foremost, you would hope they know marketing. They can always have technical staff for the details. I'm pretty sure movie directors don't have the technical skills involved with the subject matter they are making a movie about.

    Maybe it's a good thing to have somebody who isn't "in the field" trying to spark the interest of others. After all, most of the coders I know would not be good spokespersons to entice others to the field.

  • All these coding campaigns really piss me off. We should not be trying to teach kids how to write computer code. If people want to do it as a hobby—fine; if they want to get a real education and do it professionally—fine, but can we all stop pretending that everybody and their grandma needs to learn a programming language? They should learn something more useful instead, like how to communicate better, or more Math, or how to cook, or anything really. Programming was a major passion for me for
  • by Anonymous Coward

    My wife is a "non-coder" - a physician with no interest whatsoever in computers beyond what they can do for her. Last year she learned to do sophisticated things in R over the course of a few weeks because she wanted to be able to analyze her own research. She had no prior programming experience.

    There is a difference between adopting programming as a profession and learning how to use parts of a language or platform in pursuit of particular goals. The second is probably far more common, perhaps even amon

  • The media is doing what the media does best, focusing on photogenic rich celebrities like Jobs and Zuckerberg.

    Of course they also made a lot of money for investors as well.

    But how much did they really give back to the computer community?

    The answer is both made us all a lot less secure.

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks

Working...