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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Programming for all
by kwan_e on Thu 27th Dec 2012 11:08 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Unlike a lot of programmers who prefer programming to remain a secret magical art, I think it will be a fact of life in the next 50 years that programming will just be something people do at a basic level as part of everyday life. My guess is that something like the world of Neal Stephenson's "Diamond Age", in which your average first world citizen would have technology that could build physical stuff. We have 3D printers becoming a lot more affordable, for example.

I don't think teaching a programming language should be the centre of "writing for computers". People would do better to learn programming through understanding algorithms, and structural design. Most programming languages today, just like "flat design", are mostly superfluous and any special "features" are just fads that gain prominence due to being different from the past, but not introducing new ways to think about design.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Programming for all
by woegjiub on Thu 27th Dec 2012 12:15 in reply to "Programming for all"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

This seems naive. The average person is far less intelligent than most intellectuals actually realise.

It is not purely due to poor teaching that first year university programming courses have immense failure rates.
It does seem to be beyond most people.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[2]: Programming for all
by kwan_e on Thu 27th Dec 2012 12:36 in reply to "RE: Programming for all"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

This seems naive. The average person is far less intelligent than most intellectuals actually realise.

It is not purely due to poor teaching that first year university programming courses have immense failure rates.
It does seem to be beyond most people.


Thereby completely missing the point of my comment.

Thinking algorithmically and structurally should come before learning programming languages. A lot of first year courses assume people already know how to think properly and that programming is a matter of writing code.

What I suggest is that it shouldn't be taught at university first but in high schools and possibly earlier.

Using university failure rates as proof is lazy, and is probably indicative of a mind not suited for good programming either. Programming requires foresight, hindsight and lateral thinking.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Programming for all
by renox on Thu 27th Dec 2012 13:44 in reply to "RE: Programming for all"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

This seems naive. The average person is far less intelligent than most intellectuals actually realise.

It is not purely due to poor teaching that first year university programming courses have immense failure rates.
It does seem to be beyond most people.


In France in the first year of university classes are *big* whereas they were 30-50 people in high school, students aren't supervised like they were before, they live alone for the first time, etc in these conditions the high failure rate has nothing to do with intelligence, more with lack of self-discipline|maturity.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Programming for all
by karunko on Sat 29th Dec 2012 15:29 in reply to "Programming for all"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

I think it will be a fact of life in the next 50 years that programming will just be something people do at a basic level as part of everyday life.

With smartphones, tablets and app stores that let you click and install software to your heart's (and wallet's) content, I seriously doubt it.

If anything, it's far more likely that programming will increasingly become the domain of professionals and serious hobbyists. Think about it: in the late 70s and early 80s you switched on your computer and were greeted by the BASIC prompt that encouraged you to explore and try things out. Before that, everything was even harder because you had to buy a kit and actually assemble it yourself -- and decode the LEDs that served as the display and go the the User Group meeting and trade software (you had to write) with fellow enthusiasts.

Of course programming is a lot easier now, with plenty of languages to choose from, IDEs, online tutorials and whatnot. However, smartphones, tablets and walled gardens are creating a generation of pampered users. Not to be insulting, but when everything you need is usually one or two clicks/taps away, I can't see a lot people getting interested in programming just out of sheer curiosity.


RT.

Edited 2012-12-29 15:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3