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You make a lot of good points, as do the commenters. I think you point out that there is a general superficiality with regard to skills. A lot of people tell me "people need to learn calculus to get a good job these days," when perhaps they're talking in fact about certain numerical skills that are necessary, but are not calculus. We should also ask cui bono? Certainly the people who would teach the incipient programmers benefit from all this talk of needing more programmers, as would the vacuous corporations that spring up around any excess of skill. One reason I promote learning programming to science students in my university (not just anybody) is that writing a simulation program gives you a better idea of how certain dynamical processes work, and what the right questions are to ask than fiddling with an already written program. Guess where I learned this? In the course of my own research. I would use a different reason to say that my son should learn programming: he likes building things, he likes robots and he's very technically minded. Also, programming is a fun thing for kids to learn. If he decides to use it later is up to him. Consider also that I would rather have kids learning about programming than just learning what passes for computer skills in schools these days. I've recently toured a lot of schools and they get very excited when they tell me "Your son's going to learn how to use this this and this Microsoft product, so he'll be ready for the workforce!" The workforce of twenty years from now? Yeah, right! He's six. Teaching kids to use Word and Powerpoint (in deference to anything that empowers them) is just advertising for Microsoft. However, you're right that teaching them to program so that they will grow to be "programmers" (as in, professionals) is also foolish. I would generally rather have them learning things that will help them be more learned than more marketable. It's tough to get anybody to see this point, or your points, when almost everybody believes that the point of doing anything is to make more money.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2012 on Please Don't Learn to Code at Coding Horror
Definitely Part 4: where/when was this video shot?
Toggle Commented May 19, 2010 on Violin Concerto No.2 video at Glass Notes is now following The Typepad Team
May 19, 2010