Should you code? Maybe.

16 Aug 2013

Yesterday, in amongst the hundred thousand hours of footage uploaded to YouTube, there's a short film that piqued my interest: " What most schools don't teach ". It features a few people you may have heard of, like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates &; there's a few you may not have heard of like Drew Houston, who created this thing called Dropbox that you may have heard of. Even before you factor in the others, that's a pretty big roll call and they're all there for a 9 minute short talking about code .

So, code . What is it and why does anyone care?

You see, there's this problem that an enormous number of the people in the world have access to and use computers of various kinds, but only a very small percentage actually know how to make them do stuff. Code is what you write to make computers and other devices do stuff and really, honestly, yes, you could learn to code. Should you? Maybe, although if you are creative and curious then sure. The video is part of a push from to get more people to learn to code and whilst it's based in the US it's applicable everywhere. Heck, even your Grandma could learn to code .

Is it strictly necessary for everyone to be able to code? No, definitely not.  What is more important in my mind though is an awareness that code exists, what can be done and a broad understanding of how it's done. This is touched on in the video but for me it's the children at the start that illustrate the best where the problem lies: it's not that they don't know what code is or what you can do with it, it's that they have no concept that a person could make a device do what they want it to do. They are creative in many ways, but there's a hole in that spectrum of creativity. In the world we live in, code is everywhere and the better written it is the less you notice it, but someone has to write it. Someone has to decide that this thing they want to do can be done by writing some code to make this device do something it didn't do before. Everyone, without fail, needs to realise that this last sentence exists. With that in place, the fact that we are a naturally curious species will see to it that enough people can code to balance those who cannot.

For me, code itself isn't really that fascinating... really it's what you do with it that's the kicker. Make an alien recite Vogon Poetry, make a robot do something, maybe send three marshmallows and a grape to space ? Whatever it is, find an itch, scratch it and all the better if it solves a problem for someone else too.

Here's the one minute trailer for the short (as if we live in a world that 9 minute films need trailers!)

Posted by: Ben

Blog archive