If coding were a fashion accessory, it would be the latest “it” bag on the cover of every glossy magazine. From Codeacademy to Treehouse, coding has been trending like crazy, and with good reason. With the rise of the internetz coding has become a coveted skill, and with this economy it would seem nuts not to learn how to code, esp. considering that a large number of current job openings are tech ones. Mark Zuckerberg, in his rare TV appearance with Charlie Rose, gave his own Yoda call to coding when he said, “I mean, all of my friends who have younger siblings who are going to college or high school, I mean, my number one piece of advice is you should learn how to program. Skip the “I mean”s and the guy’s got a point.
I’ve jumped on the bandwagon too, though I humbly admit that a tech job is
probably not in my future. I’d been following Harvard’s intro CS 50 with David Malan before testing out Codeacademy and Treehouse. David Malan teaches intro comp sci with fervor, and though I rolled my eyes at friends gushing over the class as an undergrad at Harvs, now that I’m streaming lectures online in my little Parisian studio it seems so silly not to have taken it back then. Codeacademy and treehouse I’m still working on liking. I really want to like them both, but I’m just not there yet. Codeacademy I’m much more likely to keep trying out; it’s pretty intuitive, only when it’s not. (And when it’s not and I get stuck I frown. Help center??) Treehouse I honestly had to stop watching a few minutes in. The white background was blinding, the videos are bland, and I couldn’t will myself to continue. My hopes were so high, but alas! I was being lulled to sleep. If they can snazz it up like the folks over at dontfeartheinternet.com, then they’d really be onto something. (And dontfeartheinternet only has a leg up design-wise. It’s otherwise super basic and not as ambitious as treehouse is, but good design can go a long way for inspiring folks to pick up CS, youknowhatImean?)
So is coding the new Latin? Alex Hope thinks so, and is pushing for coding to play a larger part in schooling in the UK. I doubt this means the stereotype of the coder hacking away in sweats in someone’s basement will be replaced by uniform-toting elementary schoolers reciting code in class any time soon, but the times are a-changing, so it makes sense for school to catch up, n’est-ce pas? With any luck, we might even get some more female programmers out of it all.