Monthly Archives: April 2012

How Coding is like French

Polemical article here by Canadian novelist/developer Jon Evans in Tech Crunch on why hipsters shouldn’t waste their time learning to code.  His argument is essentially, what’s the point, to be truly proficient at it, you should start learning it, like he did, at age 10.

Interesting that he compares learning to code just for the sake of learning code, to learning French when you may never go to Paris.

I’d be curious how his French is.

French is one of Canada’s two official languages. Outside of Quebec,however, few people are really fluent, or even functional in it. This creates political tension, but on a practical level it doesn’t make much difference.

I grew up in Quebec, however, where over the course of my lifetime, French became the official language of business, government and basically, life.  I saw what happened to an entire generation of people who weren’t functional enough in French to get a job even working in a restaurant.

Americans are anxious. As they should be. They grew up believing that English was going to be the dominant language of business forever. And it probably will be for a long time.  But  anyone who  can’t see that computer code is becoming the dominant language of trade in the world, is blind to the future or kinda has their head in the sand.

Does this mean that anyone who doesn’t have senior developer skills will be unemployed? No. The soft skills–conversation, social networking, etc.–will always be essential.  But deciding not to learn code because  you may never build an app, is like deciding to not learn French because you’ll never be fluent—except  you’re living in Quebec, not potentially vacationing in Paris.

In the future, we may not know when we’re going to need a functional knowledge of code.  But I have no doubt we’re going to need it.