Coding Horror: Please don’t learn to code

To those who argue programming is an essential skill we should be teaching our children, right up there with reading, writing, and arithmetic: can you explain to me how Michael Bloomberg would be better at his day to day job of leading the largest city in the USA if he woke up one morning as a crack Java coder? It is obvious to me how being a skilled reader, a skilled writer, and at least high school level math are fundamental to performing the job of a politician. Or at any job, for that matter. But understanding variables and functions, pointers and recursion? I can’t see it.

An interesting blog post by’s Jeff Atwood on why not everyone should learn to code. I generally agree with the points he makes (don’t learn to code for the sake of it, and don’t do it for the “fat paychecks”), but I also believe that even just the simplest attempts to learn how to code will give people insights into how computers work. This, in turn, will take away some of the myths surrounding computers (“don’t touch that! It will break!”) and maybe lead to a better understanding of what’s going on inside those boxes – we need not only more good programmers, but also digital literacy of the wider public!

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