Archive for March 30, 2012

Getting the level right in learning to be computationally literate

Really interesting piece in the NYTimes on the increasing demand to learn about coding.  I especially liked this point — people want to learn something, and they want to learn enough to be literate, but not necessarily to be “a good programmer.”

The challenge for Codecademy and others catering to the hunger for technical knowledge is making sure people actually learn something, rather than dabble in a few basic lessons or walk away in frustration.

“We know that we’re not going to turn the 99 percent of people interested in learning to code into the 1 percent who are really good at it,” said Mr. Sims of Codecademy. “There’s a big difference between being code-literate and being a good programmer.”

via A Surge in Learning the Language of the Internet –

But I’m really disappointed in the comments to this piece.  Why are programmers so defensive about protecting their turf, insisting that only those who are going to be “real programmers” should learn anything about coding?  Such a battle going on!  I’m on the side of people like this:

What’s with the elitism in these comments? People don’t casually learn software development to become the next John Carmack; they do so because they want to usefully apply it to their lives. Wanting to know how to configure and admin a CMS, or doing cool things with Google Earth, or use shell scripting to automate tasks, is something you could get via CodeAcademy. Writing effective fabric dynamics isn’t.


March 30, 2012 at 9:19 am 6 comments

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