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David McAdams
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They teach programming in year 10 here in Australia (~16 years old) and i'm 31 now. For my end of year project i wrote a RPG adventure (overhead map and all, inventory and a boss!) while everyone else had trouble doing the "ask for a name and show it in a sentence" problem. Now the question is: Did it help ANYONE of those in my class learn to think better, learn to understand computers better, learn to critically think better? NO - if anything it caused more confusion and they were just generally lost for the entire year. It was a complete waste of time for them. The problem is that anyone at all can manage to write a few lines of code and get it working - the benefit of doing this exercise are next to nil so unless you want to be an actual coder and are genuinely interested WHY are you going it? If you want to just "see what its like cause you might like it" then go for it! you might indeed enjoy it :) and good luck to you! But don't try and force it down EVERYONE'S throat. It just doesn't work unless the student is actually interested. @Brendan Abel Learning what you listed about cars is akin to learning how to use the OS of a computer e.g files, file attributes, how to copy n paste, how to install an application and remove it again - NOT programming. These are the things that actually help users use their computers effectively. Learning 'a bit of programming' is like randomly spending a week with a mechanic to learn a bit of how to tear down an engine 'just cause it helps me understand engines'. Which would be insane to most people and that's why we developers are wondering why everyone suddenly wants to learn some coding on a whim. What people need to learn is how systems work, how files work, how the internet actually works - these things will give you a real benefit and huge levels of productivity at work or home and most people do NOT know them. People STILL have no idea how EMAIL works for gods sake. Some spammer uses our from address from a newsletter to sell some viagra and they reply to us with angry letters and possible legal action (yes our smtp servers are ip relay restricted and i check the logs each time just in case, it's never us) - they have no idea anyone can effectively use anyone anyone's email address as the from address without an issue - its just very likely to be marked as spam that's all. You tell people this (young or old!) and they think you are crazy. People need REAL computer education, effective education about real technically things they use! Personally i think email is broken and we need a real alternative - Email 2.0 as it were heh ------------- Think of it this way: How in the world will knowing how to create a messagebox with a users name it going to help you with the weekly report? Clue: It won't. Understanding how excel works might if the report is in excel like most seem to be. (General application knowledge is handy!) How will knowing that applications use variables make you understand why the application just crashed and how to fix it? Clue: It won't. Understanding OS file locks might if the error is about a problem opening a file! (OS knowledge is handy!) How will having the ability to make a basic windows application help you fix up the required power point presentation you need to send to Marketing? Clue: It won't. Understanding power point itself will! (General application knowledge is handy!) I could go on for days on this. So people! I beg you! If you want to learn coding cause you think it might be fun: Go for it! Otherwise - learn something your actually interested in!
Toggle Commented May 30, 2012 on So You Want to be a Programmer at Coding Horror
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May 18, 2012