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Essentially, Jeff is correct. But I think there is a middle ground between "don't learn to program" and "you must learn programming" which would be of overall benefit. It's clear to me that good programmers are not made, they are born. Some people have an innate ability to think in such a way that makes them good at programming. Those that don't have this ability will inevitably struggle. Those without the ability may still be interesting in programming, and may even manage to get a CS degree! But they will still not be good programmers. I spoke to a guy working as a sysadmin recently, who admitted that he just "didn't get" programming (and he has a CS degree, but doesn't program as a part of his job). Where there is middle ground is the notion of exposure to programming. This is not the same as "everyone should learn to program"! This is closer to a mere demonstration of programming, or the theory of programming - without the practice of it. If all people, say in schools, were exposed to programming, we might be able to better identify those who have that innate programming ability but aren't aware of it. By giving people the opportunity to learn about program, we will find people who are interested in learning more about it, at which point we can encourage them to move forward to the practice of programming. After all, not all people that have this innate ability will discover it on their own. Identifying these people gives them, and us, opportunities they may not have otherwise had.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2012 on So You Want to be a Programmer at Coding Horror
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Jun 5, 2012