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Superpig
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"Can you explain to me how Michael Bloomberg would be better at his day to day job of leading the largest city in the USA if he woke up one morning as a crack Java coder? It is obvious to me how being a skilled reader, a skilled writer, and at least high school level math are fundamental to performing the job of a politician. Or at any job, for that matter. But understanding variables and functions, pointers and recursion? I can't see it." Well sure, but it's not about variables and functions, pointers and recursion. (Michael Bloomberg probably won't even learn a language that has pointers in!) It's about things like learning how to define abstractions (in the abstract sense, not in the 'which keywords to use' sense). It's about learning how information flows and changes through an interconnected system. And crucially it's about learning how getting those things wrong can make it damn near impossible to get things done. These are crucial problem-solving skills. As it happens, Michael Bloomberg is probably already pretty good at those things. I imagine one can't be the mayor of a city like New York and not already be pretty good at picking out the important details from the unimportant details. So I don't imagine that him learning to code really will make him a lot better at his job. That said, he's a thought leader - so him talking about learning to code means hundreds of people at least thinking about learning to code, and those people aren't mayors of New York; some of them will benefit from it. And as Michael Bloomberg would no doubt be able to show us, there are other ways to learn all these things. But I've yet to see any that are as efficient and focused as coding other than studying pure philosophy, and that tends to go wrong because most academic philosophy is utterly crap (see http://paulgraham.com/philosophy.html).
Toggle Commented May 15, 2012 on Please Don't Learn to Code at Coding Horror
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Jun 14, 2010