Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Education Programming United Kingdom

Forget 6-Minute Abs: Learn To Code In a Day 306

whyloginwhysubscribe writes "The usually excellent BBC 'Click' programme has an article on 'Why computer code is the new language to learn' — which features a company in London who offer courses on learning to code in a day. The BBC clip has an interesting interview with a marketing director who, it seems to me, is going to go back and tell his programmers to speed up because otherwise he could do it himself!'s testimonials page is particularly funny: 'I really feel like I could talk credibly to a coder, given we can now actually speak the same language.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Forget 6-Minute Abs: Learn To Code In a Day

Comments Filter:
  • language != logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @12:43PM (#40985889)

    Writing code has little to do with "grammar" and more to do with logic. I wonder, how do you teach that in a day?

  • by CadentOrange ( 2429626 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @12:44PM (#40985897)
    ... is a dangerous thing! I can just see bosses putting more pressure on coders to "get the job done now!" and then failing to understand why code takes so long to be delivered.
  • by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @12:47PM (#40985937)

    Learn how to really piss off real developers in a day.

  • by knuthin ( 2255242 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @12:51PM (#40985987) Homepage

    If coding can be learned in a day, why do we have people who suck so badly at it?

    And if it can be learned in a day, most of the companies are ready to pay 100,000$ per year or more to guys who do it, and involves B16B00B5, I don't know what's stopping the rest of the world from getting rich.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @12:59PM (#40986089)

    The similarity with spoken language is uncanny.

    Much as I can teach you "beer please?" and "where's the bathroom?" and "my /. UID is lower than yours" in spanish in about a day, I can probably teach you the crudest basics of any programming language in about a day.

    I'm told that learning your 2nd 3rd 4th spoken language gets easier, every time you learn one you learn the next easier. Programming languages are certainly like that.

    Even the epic overconfidence is similar. "I know how to ask for a beer in Spanish, I'm now fully qualified, lets book our flight to Spain!"

    Also the teasing is similar. Sure kid, that "O(n^n^n) algorithm is perfectly scalable, you just roll that right out into production, testing in for wussies anyway" is the computer equivalent of teaching a noob that the foreign equivalent of "nice rack, wanna F" actually translates in English to "thank you"

  • Mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @12:59PM (#40986099) Homepage
    Someone who thinks they can code is far more dangerous than someone who realizes they can't and defers to experts. Pity the devs who'll have to suffer a bad manager going worse because of this!
  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:03PM (#40986129)
    Fast, cheap, good. Pick any two.

    Problem is many managers pick fast & cheap and then complain when its not good.
  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:03PM (#40986131) Homepage Journal

    Response to your boss:

    Coding is like chess. it's easy to learn, but takes a lifetime to master.

    You can learn the rules of chess in a day, and you can play your first three matches on that same day. It takes a lifetime of study to be any good at chess, to be better than others at chess, or to compete in any way at chess.

    Another way to put it is like guitar, or piano.

    How long does it take to earn money playing guitar? Basic guitar takes about a week of practice, but how long will it take to earn money from playing it?

    As with anything, there are basics as well as subtle, underlying principles. Coding, chess, guitar, piano, or any other refined action takes years of practice, experimentation, and learning to master. About 10,000 hours [] all told.

    Then ask: "How many hours does it take to become a manager?"

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@carpanet.PERIODnet minus punct> on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:06PM (#40986179) Homepage

    Meh I could teach you to write basic code in a day. The difference is, nobody hires people because "they know how to write code". Its about being experienced and knwoledgeable.

    I could teach you to drive a car in a day too.... but, being able to drive a car and being an expert, experienced driver are two very very different things. There is a huge difference between "I can step on the gas and make it go, and bring it to a stop" and "I have been in several skids, and am adept at steering out of them" (or rather into them, if you want to split that hair).

    I think they are doing a real disservice to their students if they are really leaving them with the impression that they are going to be competent or even "speak the same language" as someone who has been doing it for years.

    That said, I might believe in either the ability to teach some basic coding in a day or the ability to gain exposure to some concepts and learn to communicate better with coders in a day... but... to become a competent coder? That I would need to see to believe.

  • by Lissajous ( 989738 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:17PM (#40986293)

    I never learned how to use mod points but +1 for jonathon coulton reference, so true.

    You don't use mod points, you program them. Apparently there's a site that can help you with this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:20PM (#40986317)

    The whole point of the class appears to be able to help people relate to the technicians that run their infrastructure. In the broadcast, the students learn how to use a GPS Java API along with very rudimentary HTML, and CSS. I have done that in a single 2 hour class. That makes them about as qualified to program as this /. post makes me qualified to write a sequel to Lord of the Rings.

    You can teach someone the rules of Chess in a day, yet it takes years to master the game. Programming is the same. I can teach the syntax of HTML, CSS, and basic Java in a day (just like the BBC broadcast depicted), but the student will not know how to properly utilize the logic for years. Good luck with recursion, overloading functions, vulnerability testing, and many other concepts.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:21PM (#40986331)

    Look, you could sit anyone down in a day and teach them looping and conditional expressions. Most people already understand variables, but you may have to teach them arrays. So what? This does not mean a person knows how to program. What that PHB stated is the equivalent to saying "Because I know the alphabet I can speak any language and write any novel". It's pure idiocy!

    I have seen people come out of 4 years of College for coding and still not know their ass from a hole in the ground. Give them a non Microsoft product for development and they are completely lost. CSV or git, forget it. Distributed make? Maybe, but probably not. Half the time they don't even know how to find includes that are not spoon fed to them. Granted, there are some good ones out there, but mostly we churn out people that are retarded without a GUI to know most of what they need to know to do their job.

    I'm sure that the person making these claims thinks they are all that and a bag of chips, but let him design a real program and see how smart he is. Give him a project that would take a real programmer a week. By the end of the week, you would start hearing the asshole complain about how the systems are all broken, probably even providing faked statistics to show everyone how the compilers are at fault.

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:28PM (#40986407) Homepage

    Yes, it's possible, it's always possible, it's a question of time and money.

    Obviously, you've never had a marketing person ask for something that is so out of the ballpark that it would be an equivalent of solving "strong AI" problems (where you can't give an estimate) - it's not always "possible". The answer to which must be, "We can't do that, but we could do this," where "this" is at least a tractable problem and puts you back in the realm of your question #1.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @01:59PM (#40986785)

    Why don't I?

    Because I am not allowed to.

    Time spent forming proofs is not something clients want to actually pay for.

    So if I am caught "wasting time on silly maths", I could get in trouble.

  • by DaveGod ( 703167 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @02:11PM (#40986957)

    I didn't interpret anything in the segment implying that the one-day course is going to turn you into a developer. It seemed very obvious to me that it's an introducer type course - getting the gist over, a starting point for someone considering changing/supplementing careers or to have a vague idea what the developers at their work are doing.

    Perhaps they could have spelt it out over and over again - well they did keep saying "basic" - but it seemed quite obvious to me. That's not to say those interpreting differently are stupid. If the US TV imported over here is any indication, US TV likes to really spells things out - if that's what you're used to then it's quite reasonable to expect it.

    I'm a qualified accountant, I could teach the basics of accountancy in one day. Enough to be an accountant the next day? No. Enough to help someone decide if it might be a career for them? Yes. Enough to enable a manager to make good use of reporting? Yes. Enough for a manager to broadly understand what their accounting staff are doing and why they cannot have the accounts "Monday"? Yes.

  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @02:12PM (#40986961)

    "Writing good code that solves the problem the business needs solved is what is really hard."

    Correction: getting the business people to know what the heck is the problem they in fact want to solve is the *really* difficult part.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @02:39PM (#40987467)

    I've had marketing ask me to write a program that selects one of several choices based on a user's needs with no mechanism for the user to enter those needs as input.

    I'd love to hear how that's possible.

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @03:34PM (#40988299)

    No, they teach the fundamentals of HTML, CSS and Javascript, not the entire language (or markup as the case may be). Unless someone has perfect recall, and a thorough understanding of coding structures, there is no way you could possibly teach them to code well in an hour.

    You CAN teach someone basic coding fundamentals, some basic structures, and where the index is on their 'coding for dummies' book, but hoping for some to spit out a complex, complete program after an hour of teaching is not realistic in any sense of the word.

    "Hello World" yes. Beyond that? Not so much...

  • by scribblej ( 195445 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @07:20PM (#40991173)

    Factoring large primes, or any primes, is not only trivial, but fast. Super fast. You meant the products of large primes, I'm sure.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"