…for the most part, … introductory tools do a great job of guiding you like a child in a crosswalk past the big scary variables and conditional statements and through the early phases of programming syntax. As you conquer one after another of their gamified challenges, your confidence rises. Maybe you can do this after all! How hard can it be? You’re basically a developer already!
I’ve written code since I was about 13 (1980). First BASIC, then later Pascal, assembler, C, C++, Perl, Java, PHP etc. Back in the 1980s, everyone was self-taught. You either figured it out or you didn’t. No Google. No online tutorials.
Learning a new language — the basic syntax etc — takes time is you’ve never done it before. Being good enough at it so that you can build an application on your own or as part of a team takes longer.
My daughter is learning to code now — she’s teaching her self — and I want to encourage her. But I also want her expectations to be realistic. I want her to understand that coding isn’t just putting little boxes with code snippets into a graphical web GUI.
I want her to be wary of hyperbolic claims about learning to code and becoming a developer in just a few weeks.
I want my daughter to experience life in a much larger and broader sense. And, I want to invite her to see how her father works and the people that he meets and the things that he gets to do in an environment that is creative and open.
John’s post struck a chord with me. No, I’m not homeschooling my kids. But the photos of Roenne sitting at the MacBook with her over-sized headphones suddenly had me thinking about my daughter, Kiran.
She has suddenly discovered she likes programming. This from a child who told me on many occasions when I tried to get her and her brother interested in my Raspberry Pi that she had no interest at all in programming.
Last night we had a conversation about Ruby, Python and Java and how these languages get their names. Her teacher says she talks about my Raspberry Pi and me all the time. I’m just glad she’s interested, and I want to encourage her. Hopefully, I won’t screw this up. For now, I will continue to engage her in conversations to find out what she likes about coding.
I think about how I used to fill my time with coding. So much coding. I was willing to dive so deep into a library or framework or technology to learn it.
My tolerance for learning curves grows smaller every day. New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I’m less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity.
I’m scared that either the job “web developer” is outpacing me, or my skills are atrophying.
Marco Arment links to developer Ed Finkler who is ageing and finding that keeping up with every flashy shiny new language and development framework is just exhausting and no longer interesting.
I’m almost 48 — Marco and Ed are most likely much younger — and as a former1 web developer I’m already living into my own dystopian future. I haven’t a clue about Ruby on Rails or Scala. I dislike the formatting cage of Python and I barely know (or used) Objective C and Java. I absolutely hate C.
Then I’m going to learn how to break code.
Because the application layer is where the black hackers and criminals have gone. The future will be filled with (more) data piracy and breaches, and cyber attacks. So I’m learning how to break the code and start a new future.
I still call myself a web developer but the technologies have rapidly outpaced my motivation. But I have a plan.
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