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Do Tech Entrepreneurs Need To Know How To Code? 202

An anonymous reader writes "Learning to write code has become something of a trendy thing to do. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he intends to learn code this year. Estonia has recently announced a scheme with the aim of getting every 6-year-old in the Baltic state to learn programming skills. The demand has spawned a number of start-ups offering coding lessons. General Assembly, which teaches off-line courses, has recently opened up in London and is recruiting ahead of a launch in Berlin. On-line education site Codecademy landed $10 million to expand from its home base in New York. Zach Simms, the 22-year-old co-founder, said in an earlier interview with The Wall Street Journal that not everyone has to learn to code, but everybody 'needs to learn the notions of algorithms, realizing what you can use code for.' But do they?"
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Do Tech Entrepreneurs Need To Know How To Code?

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  • It's an increasingly vital part of how absolutely everything in the world works. It's the battleground for various political factions (everything from stuxnet to DRM to Anonymous hacks). It increasingly determines what you can and cannot do with the stuff you think you own.

    Not knowing anything about programming or how it works is something I consider nearly as bad as illiteracy in our society.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @01:44PM (#41250701)

    If they were learning to architect software systems, that might be useful and help them to understand what's possible and what's not.

    But learning to code doesn't help them at all, and is more likely to give them a false sense of the complexity of large software systems. He'll say stuff like "Hey, what's so hard about doing this, I can write a function to add this feature in 10 minutes, so go make it happen!", while the engineer is saying "But this is a fundamental change in the data model and means touching nearly our entire code base"

  • by smillie ( 30605 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:24PM (#41251317) Journal

    One time I was writing some code to control hardware and the boss wanted it to watch for a condition and then alert the supervisors. I thought it was a good idea and asked him what symptoms defined this condition he wanted to watch for. He said "just let the computer figure it out." I don't think I ever got him to understand the computer doesn't think but just follows rules and until the rules are defined the computer won't know what to do. I ended up making a guess for rules and kept tweeking as I watched for false positives and negatives.

    A entrepreneur needs to understand how computes work and how algorithms work or it's going to be a cluster.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:19PM (#41254813)

    I agree that developers should be more entrepreneurial. As my uncle always said, you'll never get rich working for someone else, and the worst that can happen starting a company is you wind up where you started: broke. So what? You can always try again or give up and get a regular job.

    Spoken like someone with no family to support. Most people do NOT get rich. The worst thing that can happen is that my children starve, go without education or medical care. And jobs for those educated as software developers are being outsourced at an alarming rate - meaning if I "give up and get a regular job" it might be at considerably less than my current wage.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine