Is coding the new literacy?

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Joe Morgan writes a piece for Slate titled . “I’m a Developer. I Won’t Teach My Kids to Code, and Neither Should You.”

The title is a bit strong.  I mean if they WANT to learn, why not.  I think the point is that the idea that all kids should learn to code or that it should be introduced early is misguided, which I would agree.

Joe has one of the best descriptions of what it’s like to be a professional programmer:

…Try something. See if it works. Try again. If a problem was straightforward, it would be automated or at least solved with some open-source code. All that’s left is the difficult task of creating something unique. There are no books that teach you how to solve a problem no one has seen before. This is why I don’t want my kids to learn syntax. I want them to learn to solve problems, to dive deep into an issue, to be creative. So how do we teach that?

Of course, getting something working is just the first step of building software. The next step is to make code clear, reusable, and neat. Once, early in my career, I wrote a feature and gave it to a senior developer for review. He took one look at my sloppy spacing, mismatched lines, and erratic naming conventions and just said, “Do it again.” It was working. The syntax was valid. It was still wrong. Good coders don’t just get something to work. They want it to be good.

The commenters on this article are pretty vicious and overwhelmingly disagree.  I’m curious what percent are programmers.

One of the better comments:

My thought: Teach your kids all of the skills you can – how to code, how to cook, how to sew, how to change a tire – but don’t pretend that any of it will create a magical path to wealth for them. Maybe they’ll become an internet billionaire or a great chef or an engineer…or, at worst, they’ll come to adulthood with enough skills to be self-sufficient. You can’t predict the future, but you can send your kids out with a decent set of tools.

 

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