Everyone Can Code

Published On: Feb 24, 2017

There is an ongoing movement to try to make software development and coding available to everyone. I completely understand where people are coming from, giving someone the ability to feel the power if bending a computer to their will. I understand the desire to have everyone participate… But I don’t think that anyone has followed through with the real question…

Should everyone be a programmer?

I know that this entry is going to end up coming off elitist, usually this is the argument that comes out when you try to suggest that something is just going to be outside of someone elses skill set. But lets break this down in a way that we can make sense…

In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distraction-related crashes. About 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

Programming is hard. Programming requires focus and attention to detail. It requires thoughtful planning, to do it right. The above statement is a point where people are doing something that they know could cause the death of themselves and others, in a task that they do every day, simply because they through that their hair, cellphone, or newspaper were more more important than the ton of metal that they were driving. Assuming that not everyone that drives distracted is going to die every time that they do it, it’s safe to assume that the number of people who do it is much higher than the statistics provided.

For years I have heard people who are super proud of the fact that they didn’t need a degree in computer science and are doing just fine working as developers, and sometimes thats the case. Occasionally you find someone who really just gets it, but more than likely these were people who were drawn to computers in a way that they don’t teach in school. But more often than not we see that there are people who were never really trained, still super proud of their work, who are fucking it up for those of us who really do know what we are talking about. One of the most important things that my college degree taught me wasn’t the ability to write code, I could do that before I walked in the door. It was the ability to look at a problem and understand the inherent problems that exist there in. The ability to spot a good idea from a bad one, and the ability to look at something that is hard but doable.

In the end it is important to find those people who do have the flare, because we do need people, smart people, to fill roles. This is already a problem and with the declining state of education in the United States, paired with the general repulsing of reality that seems to be going on right now. But for the love of god, just because you built a login page doesn’t make you a programmer, neither does moving a turtle around a screen.