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There is still something bothering me about your stance, however I am not as eloquent and, probably more important, experience as you and have trouble to put those feelings into words. I am still going to try though. Pretty much every area of life can be deeply interesting, learning about ancient civilizations, about their leaders the sorrows of the population about incredible statesman like Cicero. This is deep and fascinating. Researching a tiny molecule like ATP synthase, a tiny tiny motor on which all higher life is based upon. Interesting beyond description. Caring about an elderly or disabled another person, making their lives better. Deeply touching and fulfilling. I want to highlight that one can find something a person can enjoy and be fulfilled of everywhere. This I think at least we agree upon. So why not programming? I find your attitude exclusionist and maybe somewhat elitist. Problems in computer science in research and programming in general are also deeply interested. Every person should be exposed to a wide array of fields. So again why not programming? If the person you told us about had been exposed earlier to coding. His spark might have been ignited sooner and he might have had a very different and maybe more fulfilling career path. Maybe. Who knows? I am troubled by your “survival of the fittest” approach to programmers. I know a lot of, in my opinion at least, programmers with incredible amounts of potential who think of themselves as not good enough and are in constant doubt of themselves. This is especially prevalent in the few girls in CS that I know. They are interested in coding, for a good reason, because it is interesting. The social stigma that programmers are supposed to be male, your "the toughest will survive" attitude (again as society at least pictures: a male) makes that even worse. There is not a single reason why girls or anyone should be excluded from this party. You might be tainted by the black sheep, the ones who fail at FizzBuzz and still proclaim themselves the grandest programming being on earth. But that is just a vocal minority, the ones that are for whatever reason secure enough in themselves (or maybe desperate) to apply for random jobs they are not qualified for. To sum this up, I think that we are actually agreeing to a large extend. Do whatever rocks your boat. Do not become a programmer in hope of a fat paycheck without having the passion for it. But I heavily disagree with your conclusion. Stumbling upon the programming world should not be a random occurrence like hacking a game you enjoyed. That is a random fluke; it might not happened for whatever reason. Maybe your family might not be able afford a computer, maybe they would not allow to experiment with it. So the recent “Learn to Code” campaigns are important. Through the German education system I was exposed to coding in the sixth grade, if I recall correctly. I had learned through a similar path as yours a lot more a lot earlier then what I was thought in school. For other kids, that was the first time they had to solve a problem using explicit and exact instructions for a machine. I stuck with it, others did not. So what? I was exposed to a lot of things that I find are a “cute” way of spending ones time with at best. Things others have spent a lifetime studying or working with. But I am still incredibly glad that I was given this possibility. The possibility to get interested in something that might fulfill me. Is that not exactly what you want? Why the exclusionist attitude then?
Commented May 25, 2012 on
So You Want to be a Programmer
So You Want to be a Programmer
I didn't intend for Please Don't Learn to Code to be so controversial, but it seemed to strike a nerve. Apparently a significant percentage of readers stopped reading at the title. So I will open with my own story. I think you'll find it instructive. My mom once told me that the only reaso...
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