The thought that everyone should learn to write software is gaining steam. Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to learn to code this year. (It’s unclear if he’s followed through, but Bloomberg was a computer science major so he probably still knows his way around a keyboard.) The thinking is that if all the people who use software actually understand how to build software, everyone’s better off.
Journalists wanting to do investigative reporting find it much easier to crunch data when they really know the underlying tools, Sims added. Attorneys who have to pore through reams of documents can do that easier if they understand coding, he added.
Codecademy is a hot startup in this space, but it’s by no means alone. MIT’s MITx program (now dubbed EdX) aims to make university curricula — including computer programming coursework — available for free. MIT and other EDx partners, including Harvard University, obviously see a market here.
That’s not to say there isn’t some push back. Some skeptics say professional programmers in these companies are called on to mentor their colleagues and this can be draining. And, if everyone’s a programmer, it’s harder for the pros to differentiate themselves, according to one programmer, Dan Frost, in an article in .net magazine.
We’re in a world where coding is becoming less impressive. Everyone builds sites, some of them code but you don’t have to. It’s no longer just the nerdy who can create sites, apps and features.
Since the web came along and people could teach themselves there have been self-taught developers. But even the graduates are under threat. I get CVs with people with computer science degrees, AI courses, various media and coding under their belt but there’s still something missing. Sometimes a lot missing.
Sims, for his part, thinks the everyone-will-code trend is inevitable as technology advances. In a Fast Company post, he wrote:
As technology improves, white-collar jobs are going to be increasingly outsourced to machines. But if you’re worried about your job, there is an easy solution: Society’s increasing dependence on automation means it’s more important than ever to understand the systems that we depend on every day.
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