Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Dec 2012 10:19 UTC, submitted by anonymous
General Development "Computers are ubiquitous in modern life. They offer us portals to information and entertainment, and they handle the complex tasks needed to keep many facets of modern society running smoothly. Chances are, there is not a single person in Ars' readership whose day-to-day existence doesn't rely on computers in one manner or another. Despite this, very few people know how computers actually do the things that they do. How does one go from what is really nothing more than a collection - a very large collection, mind you - of switches to the things we see powering the modern world?"
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You accuse me of not reading when it is in fact you who is not reading nor understanding at all.

You quote me and then didn't apparently read what you f--king quoted.

I said nothing anywhere about being degreed IT professionals. I am not a degreed IT professional. The men and women I work with are not IT professionals.

In point of fact, I said that basic programming skills were a part of my generation's educational experience whether we went on and got degrees in computer science or not or whether we wanted it to be or not. Basic programming was not a f--king elective like it is today in most high schools. It was a part of my math classes. Get it? We couldn't just go out a buy ready made applications. We, therefore, wrote them ourselves using simple or not-so-simple programming languages.

I started with Turtle Graphics Logo, evolved to Applesoft Basic, and finally learned Apple Pascal, all before I even graduated high school. All of my classmates were the same through Basic. Few went on and became computer scientists and the rest of us became doctors, lawyers, teachers, cooks, etc. Most of us didn't continue to use it, and yet a lot of us could and did if it was relevant. In my field of behavioral economics, it is and has been an invaluable skill. I still leave much of the heavy lifting to the 'true' programmers but I am not an idiot when it comes to algorithms and data structures.

That is simply not the case today. It will not be the case tomorrow which is what you are arguing. My 'anecdotal' evidence was one example of many given of how, no, basic programming is not as ubiquitous as basic maths or basic literacy nor will it ever be. An educated person must know basic maths and how to read & write in order to function in society. Using computers no longer requires a level of programming that you believe is necessary. Furthermore, the trend is towards less and less need for it from the general population than more and more need for it as you keep attempting to predict.

In order for me to do statistical research in graduate school, I had to learn to program much of it myself. There were no apps for that type of thing. Today there are, so therefore, most students will simply purchase it and use it than design their own. UNLESS, they are actually f--king getting a degree in the IT field.

And will you drop the damned red herring and your straw men about me saying, when I haven't, that somehow my generation is special and that it is just about age.

Seriously, I love having a powerful quad core, multiple gigabytes of ram, and terabytes of hard drive space. No, wait, everything was so much better when I was kid. Let's bring back 1mhz, 512k, and floppies. I am of mixed thinking whether basic programming should be required today. It was necessary when I was being educated because of where the computing technology was. It was certainly helpful in my field and would be to my students and interns. Basic programming, if done right, and not just as a sale-technique for the latest and greatest commercial programming language, can teach logic, critical thinking, and structured planning. Students do not get a lot of that training in most of their education. But in general, no, basic programming is not as relevant today as it was in the past.

You are the one idealizing a past where it was necessary and so you believe it should be today right up there with basic literacy and basic maths.

It won't be ever again. It is a bad prediction that won't be born out by history in this arena.

Edited 2012-12-30 05:07 UTC

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