Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Why Does EVERYONE Need To Know How To Write Code?

Was doing a little scrabbling around the Those Interwebs because I have a bee in my bonnet -- now there's an expression past its sell-by date, forget bonnets, per se, I'm nearly the only woman I know besides Queen Elizabeth who still wears a hat, so there's your answer, Elaine Stritch.
Not that I know-know the queen, but... where was I? (Bloggo, ergo, digresso.)

Oh yes...
So I'm reading a little about GoFundMe et al, which are starting to irk me for reasons I won't go into now, and I come across a fundraising effort that by its very existence is, in effect, the implicit statement that every educated person needs to know how to code, or at least to know how to code as well as an hour of computer science will accomplish, (I think. I admit that I didn't finish reading the page.)

Do they?
I should ask, do we? since I certainly can't do it.

One site, which more or less accepts the necessity of such knowledge as a given, compares the skill to typing.

But actually, we didn't all need to know how to type.
Truth to tell, more people need to know there way around the old qwerty keyboard now than did in the days when it seems that typing was taught to almost everyone in public schools.
The success stories seem to center around creating apps, building websites and entering the gaming industry, which don't seem to me to be universal aspirations.

I have a friend who told his second grade teacher, (true story - I've seen the letter sent home,) that he didn't need to learn how to spell because he'd have a secretary to do that.

As it happens he doesn't, what he has is a spellchecker. And while he has reached the sort of lofty position where he would have had at least one if not several secretaries, he is, in fact, in an industry whose egalitarian facade precludes such notions as "boss" and "secretary" or "assistant."

Instead he is a member of a "team" on which his signing bonus and salary dwarf those of his playmates.
And he uses a keyboard himself.

But he still can't spell worth a darn.

Now, he can write code like Dante could write Italian, elegantly, indicatively, but that's what he does.

Do I need to write code? does every schoolchild?

Any more than we need to know how to pluck a chicken? or build an internal combustion engine? or can peaches? (Of course, I understand from the survivlaists that when the Barbarian Hordes of the Coming Apocalypse are at the door, I'll be eating my words - since I'll have precious little else to eat. Oh, well...)

I'm sure I'm wrong, and if so I'd love to know why.

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