Jeff Atwood went and set fire to the Internet a couple of days ago:
The “everyone should learn to code” movement isn’t just wrong because it falsely equates coding with essential life skills like reading, writing, and math. I wish. It is wrong in so many other ways.
This point feels a little stretched to me. I’m not sure where Atwood is getting these “coding is as important as reading/writing/math” vibes from, but why isn’t there a place for coding in schools beyond the core curriculum? Put another way: why exclude Computer Science / programming from that seemingly arbitrary list of auxiliary subjects that we make our schoolchildren learn over their 12 years of pre-university education?
The general populace (and its political leadership) could probably benefit most of all from a basic understanding of how computers, and the Internet, work. Being able to get around on the Internet is becoming a basic life skill, and we should be worried about fixing that first and most of all, before we start jumping all the way into code.
This part makes perfect sense. However, what he proposes here doesn’t have to be at the exclusion of teaching more people programming, yes?
Here’s a response, by Zed Shaw of Learn Code The Hard Way:
I wonder if he’s going to tell his kids they shouldn’t learn to code when they want to become just like Daddy? Probably not. He’ll gleefully run over and show them how to code and tell them it’s so much fun and that they should all do it and it’s the best thing ever! But, of course, your kids shouldn’t learn to code, and you shouldn’t, and your friends shouldn’t, just Jeff and his kids should.
I do think Shaw’s taking a bit far when he cites resentment as Atwood’s motivation for telling people not to learn how to code, but then, running a (very good, supposedly) programming education website could do that to your perspective. Both articles make good points, but I’d recommend Shaw’s to anyone feeling a bit deflated after reading Atwood’s.