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I can see why posts like this are important; whenever there's a risk of a bandwagon forming it is important that there are people out there who put the brakes on, if only to make sure the bandwagon is at least going in the right direction. Of course not everyone should become a JavaScript ninja, a C hacker or a Lisp wizard. I think you nailed it in your third bullet point "Before you go rushing out to learn to code, figure out what your problem actually is." After the first few hours of "hello world" and working out variables and functions you'll make a program that actually does something simple but useful - you find a problem to solve and coding helps you look at it in an analytical way. Many would call that analytical way "common sense" but it's an oft-touted issue that common sense isn't something that can be taught. With that in mind, coding is something that can be taught, and if it helps develop analytical skills then it's as essential as maths and English. Just like current IT teaching varies between useful (learn to learn how to use a system) and pointless (here's how you make a pie chart in Powerpoint - wtf?) so could coding lessons. If they skirt round problem solving and try and innately familiarise everyone with pointers and polymorphism then it's being done wrong, but formalising a problem, approaching it step by step (TDD anyone?) and restructuring as your attempted solution grants better understanding of the original domain is what should be advocated.
Toggle Commented May 15, 2012 on Please Don't Learn to Code at Coding Horror
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May 15, 2012