the things I believe about learning to code (again)
This “learning to code” thing is turning into a meme. Or is a meme. Or something.
In January, I wrote Thoughts on Code Year, Codecademy, and Learning to Code because I have a visceral reaction to “hey! everyone code!” and it’s not a good one…despite the facts that I sell a lot of books that provide some foundation for learning some things about some programming and markup languages (that last sentence is accurate enough to appease all the people who think books like mine, and especially mine, suck).
I’m just going to restate this: everyone who wants to should learn to code. But they also damn well better know why — there has to be some goal besides “I want to be able to print ‘hello world’ in seven different languages” or “I heard if I do this free course, I’ll make a million bucks.”
And if people want to learn to code so as to set themselves on a path to becoming a professional or an expert, then they also need to understand that any book (mine included), website, webinar, badge system, or anything else that isn’t actually working in some apprentice craftsman type of environment is just one teeny tiny step along the path. And note I didn’t say “forward” because sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes books, websites, webinars, badge systems, etc are lateral or backwards moves.
Blah blah blah.
And go read what Jeff Atwood has to say, because it’s smart and true, and honestly? It’s a heck of a lot like what educators have been saying about all this—that would be “educators”, not “Codecademy and Codecademy-knock off creators”.