Did we all turn mechanics at the turn of the Industrial age? And do we all need to become coders?

I have just managed to read the article of Zach Sims, Cofounder of Codecademy in FT Weekend issue ½ November 2014.

I was kind of surprised to read that so many people believe that coding is so important. As a programmer, I don’t think coding is the important part, but rather teaching the younger generation how to use simple tools, such as word processing, spread sheets and others.  I am more amazed at the mass of undergraduates who are leaving school and haven’t got a clue how to create a simple, but well formatted letter, no idea about how to file or organize things or even calculate their expenses.  Do they need to be all coders to learn how to these basic tasks?

The fact is that at the turn of the industriall age while our parents wanted us to be enigneers or doctors, it wasn’t really necessary to be a mechanic to drive a car.  It was more important to teach people how to drive cars.

As a programmer at heart and I equally started at 14, my biggest problems were always creating a the waoh visual aspect. The graphic design that gives the final touch to any good program and the part that Steve Jobs made his mark. The User Interface and the User Experience.  If we all turned programmers, the world of programs would become one ugly place, productivity would fail and we will equally have one load of crap programs out there.  The fact that so many think they can code is the first problem, let alone creating more who just want to become coders for the money and fame.

In my humble opinion, schools and colleges should concentrate more on teaching the concept of IT, the understanding of the YES/NO/If theory and the importance of learning to do the basic things we did like writing well.  The good use of technology with Etiquette is like teaching people to become good drivers or e-citizens.  In fact FT ran another article sometime ago, pointing simply to the fact of uneducated remarks and comments left at the bottom of each article.

While I think it is important to provide the tools for those who are interested, I don’t think we need to create more programmers through force feeding but rather enabling. Let the children decide, between the field of technology in which they want to get involved and if they want to. I have more need for good designers than programmers and I would never let my programmers work loose without having it got passed through a designer.   Bottom line I think we need to make computer science main stream in schools rather than coding, which is best left to those with talents and logic.