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Why Non-Coders Shouldn't Write Code

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the except-on-weekends dept.

Businesses 421

jfruh writes "Software firm FreeCause made a bit of a splash with a policy that requires all its employees — including marketers, finance, etc. — to write JavaScript code. And not just 'code to learn basics of what JavaScript can do,' but 'write code that will be used in production.' Phil Johnson, a tech writer and editor who himself once coded for a living, thinks this is nuts, a recipe for miserable workers and substandard code."

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Marketing guy's function (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404319)

function MarketingFunction(originalText)
{
var revisedText = new String(originalText + ", which will help build synergy and increase marketshare.");
return revisedText;
}

Re:Marketing guy's function (5, Funny)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404363)

Or just use the Corporate BS Generator [atrixnet.com] .
Or, alternatively, here [sourceforge.net] .

Re:Marketing guy's function (3, Interesting)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404489)

You know, I almost wonder if anyone has ever sat on a phone conference and just parroted whatever comes up on that thing. I think with a typical non-technical tech PM talking to another non-technical tech PM (something I've actually seen a lot) this could actually fly. Would be at least fun to try!

Re:Marketing guy's function (5, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404617)

Hardly a fair comparison. No one in sales/marketing/management could pass a Turing test to begin with.

Re:Marketing guy's function (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404657)

You know, I almost wonder if anyone has ever sat on a phone conference and just parroted whatever comes up on that thing. I think with a typical non-technical tech PM talking to another non-technical tech PM (something I've actually seen a lot) this could actually fly. Would be at least fun to try!

Say...

If you hooked a chatbot up to one of those things, and had a marketing exec play the part of the human, do you think it would pass the Turing test?

Followup - assuming that the marketing drone affirms the chatbot as human, would that mean that the chatbot passed the Turing test, or that the "human" marketing drone failed it?


Note: I'm only half-ass joking.

Re:Marketing guy's function (1)

spongman (182339) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404947)

do you think the marketing exec could pass the Turing test?

Re:Marketing guy's function (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404767)

You know, I almost wonder if anyone has ever sat on a phone conference and just parroted whatever comes up on that thing. I think with a typical non-technical tech PM talking to another non-technical tech PM (something I've actually seen a lot) this could actually fly. Would be at least fun to try!

I don't know, but I'm going to try it. It reads like just about everything I hear coming out of most MBAs.

What I really wonder is if you had two people reading quotes from this back and forth, how may people would think they knew what they were talking about.

Re:Marketing guy's function (5, Funny)

Scott Swezey (678347) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404365)

The other side of the coin... why non marketing guys shouldn't write marketing materials:

function MarketingFunction(originalText)
{
var revisedText = new String(originalText + ", which will help build synergy and increase marketshare.");
return revisedText;
}

Re:Marketing guy's function (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404545)

The other side of the coin... why non marketing guys shouldn't write marketing materials:

function MarketingFunction(originalText) { var revisedText = new String(originalText + ", which will help build synergy and increase marketshare."); return revisedText; }

Quite true, unlike marketers and politicians, IT professionals usually have an aversion to lying or even stretching the truth via "spin". Your marketing will fail when compared to your competitors if they aren't mostly lies and half truths.

Re:Marketing guy's function (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404755)

What if your targeted market is IT professionals?

Re:Marketing guy's function (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404773)

"why should I buy your product vs product xyz?"

Most coders get the deer in the headlights look when asked that. Why? Because they have just spent the last 2 years making the product not studying their competitors... I have seen some pretty decent graphics artists that were also coders. But I have also seen some coders who couldnt put two colors together correctly. It takes practice and skill.

We are good at that not other things. It however does not hurt to have at least an understanding of what goes into whatever it is you are making. For example if you are making accounting software you may want to have the basics of what an accountant does...

Re:Marketing guy's function (1, Redundant)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#41405001)

IT professionals usually have an aversion to lying or even stretching the truth via "spin".

Of course programmers never say things like, "this will only take a couple days," only to see the end result a couple weeks later (and not because of changing requirements). Programmers are just a capable of over-promissing as anyone else. Sometimes more-so.

Re:Marketing guy's function (2)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404611)

The other side of the coin... why non marketing guys shouldn't write marketing materials:

The difference: Even the craziest of PHBs wouldn't ask a coder to write marketing materials. Then again, yesterday I would have said the same thing about expecting marketing people to write code.

"We think you should buy our product. It doesn't really work, as such, but we would like to continue to get paid".

Re:Marketing guy's function (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404795)

Indeed, marketing material which contain actual facts postfixed with marketspeak is more dangerous than pure marketspeak.

Re:Marketing guy's function (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404425)

function ProducerFunction(originalText)
{
var revisedText = new String(originalText + ", which will improve our P&L through leveraging outsourcing, unskilled labor and interns while delivering ahead of schedule.");
return revisedText;
}

Re:Marketing guy's function (2)

eljefe6a (2289776) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404579)

The real one:

function MarketingFunction(originalText)
{
var revisedText = new String(originalText + "!!!!"); //would add more exclamation marks, but Slashdot won't let me
return revisedText;
}

Re:Marketing guy's function (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404675)

Is that AndersenConsulting.js?

Re:Marketing guy's function (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404705)

Salespeople? These are people you want to be like politicians. Able to make you feel like they are your best friend in less than 5 minutes. Able to lie convincingly. Know their way around a big expense account, know wat ahm sayin'?

Re:Marketing guy's function (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404835)

Considering this is Marketing, I think you meant "alert(revisedText)".

Appreciation Exercise (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404361)

It will at least give the non coders an appreciation of what is being done.

Now, they need to take the coders and make them do sales for a day.. finance go clean trash for an afternoon.. .etc etc.

Re:Appreciation Exercise (4, Funny)

t4ng* (1092951) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404431)

Oh, oh... Executive Officers clean up overflowing toilets. Not so they get an appreciation of what is being done, but for the general entertainment of the rest of us!

Re:Appreciation Exercise (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404681)

Oh, oh... Executive Officers clean up overflowing toilets. Not so they get an appreciation of what is being done, but for the general entertainment of the rest of us!

Hell, I'd pay to see just one of the suits around here cleanin' a shitter or two...

Re:Appreciation Exercise (1, Troll)

Swistak (899225) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404821)

At the same you complain that Marketing people look down on you. But your job is important right? You're better then janitor right? Hypocrisy. You want marketing people to respect you, but you don't respect them, or people that make your work comfrtable.

Re:Appreciation Exercise (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41405029)

At the same you complain that Marketing people look down on you. But your job is important right? You're better then janitor right?

Huh? I used to be a janitor, fella, and I can tell you, the people who spend their careers cleaning up your shit so you don't have to are some pretty fucking awesome people.

Here's a word of advice - your pay scale does not, in any way, reflect what kind of person you are. One look into any boardroom in this nation is all one needs to know that most of the people who take home the lion's share are complete, abject pieces of shit. Hell, nevermind looking at them, just look at how much they pay themselves to do virtually nothing, compared to how much they pay the people who actually make their money for them.

You want marketing people to respect you, but you don't respect them, or people that make your work comfrtable.

I couldn't give a shit less what 'marketing people' or anyone else thinks of me, Chief. Spending your entire life trying to live up to other people's expectations of you is no way to live.

Re:Appreciation Exercise (5, Interesting)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404673)

Every cook has to learn how to govern the state.
        - Vladimir Lenin

In the early days of the Soviet Union it was a very popular idea that there should be no specialization in work. No man should have to do the same thing over and over every day of his life. Jobs should be changed regularly to keep the worker interested and motivated.

Geekcentric Nonsense (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404723)

Back in the 60s Robert Townsend [wikipedia.org] was brought in to turn around a dying Avis Rent-a-Car. He decreed that everybody spend some time working a rental counter so they would understand the activity that was at the core of the business. He was very amused by the experience of his chief programmer, who fled in panic upon seeing his first customer!

That was appreciation. This is geekcentric nonsense. The CEO doesn't just want everybody to better understand the coding, he actually thinks everybody can contribute to the codebase in an ongoing fashion. This is the classic geek fallacy of "everybody's brain works just like mine."

Re:Appreciation Exercise (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404977)

Yeah, if that's what they were doing, I'd say this is great. I think it'd be great for us engineers to take a short class in marketing, or business accounting, or sales.

But for goodness sake, don't take my "Super Abbreviated Marketing 101" project and make it the basis of our next ad campaign!

I see nothing wrong with this (5, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404369)

While they are at it, perhaps their accounting department should replace the plumbing in their office building, the secretaries should swap the engine in the CEO's car, and let's have the janitors install a new security system. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:I see nothing wrong with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404653)

There's a difference having every employee doing random jobs completely unrelated to the company's products and their own job responsibilities, and ensuring that anyone making business decisions or selling a product to customers have at a solid understanding of how the company's core products work. I wouldn't see anything wrong with a plumbing company that made accountants have some plumbing experience nor the secretaries for the CEO of Ferrari/Lamborghini/etc probably should know a bit about swapping engines.

Code? (-1, Flamebait)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404371)

Isn't "JavaScript code" an oxymoron?

Anyhow, given that JavaScript runs on the client, that shouldn't be as big a problem as if they wrote code running on a server, as long as reasonable precautions have been taken to vet what you do with incoming data.

Re:Code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404435)

Node.js with v8 engine.
The language is out of the browser, and it has some nice features.

Re:Code? (1, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404519)

Node.js is for hipsters and overgrown web monkeys who think they can code.

Re:Code? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404663)

I know better than to feed trolls, but what exactly is wrong with Node.js - I get that it is a polarizing topic (anti-hipsters versus hipsters?). I'm just making some of my first web apps, and am very comfortable in c-type languages. I don't love javascript, but I don't hate it either, and have found some really nice projects in Node that have been easy to get started with, and seem to "just work" the way I expect so far. Is there something I'm missing?

Re:Code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404763)

You understand.

Node is going to be awesome ! I look forward to charging fair rates to repair the damage done by web developers who start coding.

Re:Code? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404437)

Isn't "JavaScript code" an oxymoron?

No, it's not.

Anyhow, given that JavaScript runs on the client, that shouldn't be as big a problem as if they wrote code running on a server, as long as reasonable precautions have been taken to vet what you do with incoming data.

There's still plenty of room for security holes, if that's what you're after.

Just because the code runs on the client, that doesn't mean it's not important. I can understand why a company would want everybody to know the basics of programming, but making the people who's jobs have nothing to do with programming (and therefore have little programming experience) contribute production code seems like a strange policy.

Re:Code? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404483)

THey're LEARNING code, not writing code that is being used! I swear,, slashdot is a bunch of douches who never learned to douche.

Epic Douche Is Douche (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404609)

THey're LEARNING code, not writing code that is being used! I swear,, slashdot is a bunch of douches who never learned to douche.

From the fecking summary

And not just "code to learn basics of what JavaScript can do," but "write code that will be used in production."

Perhaps you should read a little before proclaiming Slashdotters to be douches. Not, that they aren't.

Re:Code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404643)

Did you even read TFA? It clearly states that the employees will be required to produce working code that implements new features.

Re:Code? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404819)

FTA "Working with my coding mentor, I came up with some new versions of the notifications, including having the pop-ups appear sooner, and between the messaging and the timing, we were able to improve clickthroughs at least sixfold."

That employee seems to be having her code used. Hard to say how much of the work her coding mentor actually did, of course.

Re:Code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404543)

JavaScript? You don't understand it. Therefore, it is code.

Javascript IS Serious Code. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404685)

Javascript is serious code. Just because all you might know how to do is echo text with it doesn't mean that it isn't real programming code.

Look at the next Google Doodle interactive game or music machine or calculator all done in Javascript and say it's not real programming code.

Re:Javascript IS Serious Code. (0)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404891)

It's not.

In fairness, most other languages-du-jour are shit as well. JS is just a particularly piss poor example of a programming language.

Re:Javascript IS Serious Code. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404953)

I'll admit it's code alright... But every time I see some of it, I am reminded of those hellspawn in Diablo 3...with illusionist.... and shield... and caging.

Re:Code? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404865)

It took the world 10 years to work out how to write clean Javascript. But now if you're disciplined, stay away from the nastier parts of the language, use the neat conventions the community has established, and have some discipline, you can write great code in JS.

You can embed V8 in all sorts of things - node.js, silkJS and Chrome are just three examples.

Everyone needs to start somewhere (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404381)

We were all non-coders once.

Saying non-coders shouldn't write code is like saying non-writers shouldn't write.

How about: Don't expect consistently professional-quality code from inexperienced coders.

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404469)

"We were all non-coders once." ..and then we chose coding as a career, because thats what we are good at.

"Saying non-coders shouldn't write code is like saying non-writers shouldn't write."
Writing is subjective and interpretive. Its not a precision art. A misplace period won't stop your business from functioning. Using your logic telling non pilots not to fly planes is stupid.

"How about: Don't expect consistently professional-quality code from inexperienced coders."
Until the experienced coders are pulled in to fix the mess putting their own projects on hold. Everybody wins?

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404491)

We were all non-coders once.

And did you learn to code because you wanted to, or because your company required it?

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (5, Interesting)

mykepredko (40154) | more than 2 years ago | (#41405007)

Back in the '80s, IBM Canada gave a number of employees the chance to learn how to write code after being told that they didn't have any other skills that the company required. If you wanted to stay employed by IBM, you had to take a two year course which was actually quite substantial (covering assembly language, PL/1 (which was the language of choice at IBM back then), databases, and the usual IBM system stuff like JCL) and was administered by Ryerson (which was a polytechnic, not a University then).

A surprising number of people graduated the course - I seem to remember that it was 80% or more - and went on a new career path coding in the Toronto Lab.

So learning to program because your employer requires it is not necessarily a bad thing for both the company and the employee.

myke

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41405025)

Both actually.

I need something auto or semi-automated.

Ask company to have professional staff look into it.
Company states " That costs too much $$$. We can't do that "

My fix, learn to do it myself. Costs less and I can tweak it as necessary.
( Granted not talking about crazy level code here, just minor stuff )

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404637)

This is about people who have chosen a profession other than programming being forced to program so as to produce an appreciation for and awareness of what their company's programmers do. I agree with your idea, but I don't see the applicability in this particular scenario.

Agreed, 110% (said it before here too)... apk (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404709)

http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3132589&cid=41404493 [slashdot.org]

* In addition to the above points I stated that essentially mirror your own? I truly, honestly BELIEVE that anyone can 1st learn to code (basics) & move on + grow to more advanced forms of it... given time, & work.

(I'm no 'natural nerd', but I had to LEARN to be IF I wanted to be even moderately successful @ the art of programming professionally! It changed me, MOSTLY for "the good" but it does "nerd you out"... I'll warn ANYONE, that!)

Lastly - per my subject-line:

"Great Minds Think Alike" -> http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3048265&cid=40986085 [slashdot.org]

APK

P.S.=> At least YOU think like a wise person does, realizing we are NOT "born" instantly as 'good coders': THOSE? Are made... & made thru the FURNACE of working on coding to get there, like any other trade!

(As to "Good Coder" - For WHATEVER THAT MEANS, since it's purely RELATIVE, and since every coder ALIVE, writes a "bug" now & then! Hence - you LEARN by those mistakes as you go!)

... apk

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404791)

I agree with what you're saying, but the morons in TFS are actually talking about putting that beginner code into production!

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404803)

We were all non-coders once.

Speak for yourself. I was a 0 day coder. Coding from the womb!

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404815)

Who's this everyone that actually WANTS to do this stuff? The problem isn't that people who want to it aren't being given the opportunity to do so. The problem is that people who have no interest in doing it, or have a totally different job description other than developer are being told that they suddenly all have to learn programming. Some idiot actually thought it was a good idea that suddenly the marketing people are going to be contributing code to the product simply because they required everyone to learn javascript?

The whole idea is stupid and wasteful. It's so stupid and wasteful (and obvious) that the article in question shouldn't have had to be written. It's as if somebody said "the sun isn't coming up tomorrow", and enough people were convinced this was true that someone else had to write an article pointing out that it will, in fact rise tomorrow.

Re:Everyone needs to start somewhere (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404889)

There is a difference between saying "an inexperienced coder shouldn't experiment and learn code", and saying "an inexperienced coder shouldn't write production code for a software company that distributes software to clients in mission critical production environments that has to be supported and maintained"

A recipie (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404385)

a recipie for miserable workers and substandard code.

Which is why non-spellers shouldn't spell. Or something

Re:A recipie (4, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404535)

a recipie for miserable workers and substandard code.

Which is why non-spellers shouldn't spell. Or something

No, that's spelled correctly - it's recipie, shorthand for a recipe for a delicious pie. Which fits perfectly since miserable workers can't make a delicious pie, but if they had a delicious pie they wouldn't be so miserable.

Re:A recipie (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404711)

My favorite is raspberry pi.

I'm okay with this policy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404391)

As long as I'm allowed to do production-mode finance and marketing.

Oh, wait. Stupid idea, you say? Imagine that.

Good lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404401)

Where I work I dont even trust designers javascript code. I can't imagine the garbage that business services/HR/accounting would come up with. That company will reap the whirlwind. The percentage of developer time spent fixing this entirely predictable mess will bring all production to a halt.

Re:Good lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404627)

Oh, you may end up with OK code. It will probably be downloaded from the internet and may not be licensed for the use to which it is being put. Folks that aren't coders don't always know or care about how the code they found "free on the internet" was licensed. Your company could then be liable for quite a tidy sum just because they asked folks with no training in coding / development to do work they didn't want to bother understanding. It is similar the other way - when we get requests to do some silly compliance type thing from HR or IT Compliance or whatever we don't read any more of it than we need to get them off of our backs. So I am not saying that they are useless; they just don't have any use for writing code so will do whatever they can to make it quick and easy. Often times that means ready made download.

Wrong way to do it (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404433)

There's nothing wrong with making all your employees learn how to code, if you're in the coding business. That can help the non-coding guys realize the limitations of code, and let them write quick, dirty code themselves to test something. And if they have a knack for it, maybe they can serve as a coder as well as their old position (assuming your corporate structure is flexible enough for this).

But demanding everyone be putting code into production is wrong. Would you demand all your employees learn graphic design and have them all create graphics to be used in production? Would you demand all your employees study law and write contracts?

No, because that's stupid.

Re:Wrong way to do it (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404811)

Everyone should know enough about coding to ask smart questions of the actual coder. If you say something like "if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?", you don't know enough code. If you've never touched a line of code, you're not going to be able to adequately describe your needs to your coder. You may be asking for the impossible and not even know it.

Graphic design... (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404879)

Would you demand all your employees learn graphic design and have them all create graphics to be used in production?

If I were selling graphic design product, I might.

"Production" in this context means "demonstrating what the tools can do on a customer premises in order to close the sale". I'd hope to hell that if I were selling Photoshop or Final Cut Pro or Shake that I'd be able to demo it to the customer and connect with them on at least a semi-professional level so that they'd have confidence that what I'm selling them will do what I'm telling them it will do.

CS101 (4, Insightful)

Larry_Dillon (20347) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404439)

In a tech company, it makes sense to have everyone take something along the lines of CS101. Specifically JavaScript? I don't think it matters but it helps give everyone a sense of how computers really work and what they can and cannot do.

Re:CS101 (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404737)

I really don't think it's necessary for everyone in a tech company to understand computers in that way.

I work for a small software company. Our head of sales is an awesome guy, really switched on, understands the products, the market, people, what they want, sales process improvements - the works. I can't see how his ability to do his job would be enhanced by learning computer science, unless he was particularly interested in it anyway.

Re:CS101 (4, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404973)

In a tech company, it makes sense to have everyone take something along the lines of CS101.

And in a legal practice or doctor's office it makes sense for everyone to have a bit of legal or medical education, which for the most part people do.

But only a gibbering idiot would think that in any way supports the statement, "Everyone should learn to draft contracts" or "Everyone should learn to diagnose and treat diseases" simply because they work in legal or medical environments.

I tutor CS courses in college (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404445)

And I can say defiantly some people shouldn't code, ever. If I have to explain why int a,b, c = a+b; is wrong one more time I'm going to burst. I'm tired of telling people why you can't give else a condition, or what the fraggin curly bracers do. I know what you are going to say, that I should just not do it anymore since it causes me grief. But for every 9 yahoos in the c++ class, there is one guy who gets it and who asks great questions that make me have faith in humanity again.

I wish all comapanies would do this. (3, Insightful)

csumpi (2258986) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404459)

At every place I worked at, executives and managers had never any clue what they were talking about, what their decisions meant or in general what the programmers/artists/workers did. This made for lots of meetings to explain them stuff , stupid decisions and lost money and effort.

So making them learn about what the company actually does, could accomplish:

a) that they make better decisions or, preferably:

b) that they let the people who know what they are doing do their job

Just so long as you are willing as well (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404533)

So long as you are willing to spend the same amount of time per job learning all the other jobs that make the company work, including management. Turns out managing people it tougher than you might think. I've no desire at all to go in to management, though if I stay working for the university it is probably inevitable that I'll be made to.

If you are willing to do the same amount of cross training (per job) that you expect people to do for yours, then ok. However it is rather arrogant to think that your job is the only one important enough to have other people need to learn, or that you "already understand those other jobs."

"No duh" article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404465)

So he objects to the idea that non-coders should write production code? Duh!

Oh, it's interesting because one small company in the whole world tried it? What about an essay praising all the countless companies that don't have non-coders write production code?

Nothing to see here. Move along.

How EXACTLY's one supposed to learn then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404493)

See subject-line, & I'd like to ask the author that (as practice makes perfect, & PERFECTION IS A ROAD - NOT A DESTINATION!)

* I don't care what ANYONE says, since I've been @ writing code since 1982, & professionally since 1994 (everything from smaller freewares/sharewares, commercially sold code from certified Microsoft partners (that did excellently @ MS Tech-Ed 2000-2002 as a finalist in its HARDEST CATEGORY SQLServer Performance Enhancement which also reviewed very well in Windows IT Pro, then as Windows NT magazine), all the way up to "enterprise-class"/"mission-critical" apps that span into MILLIONS of lines of code thar run businesses across the USA!

So - I am talking from experience.

Is he? I wonder after reading the subject of this topic...

(No, for once, I did NOT "RTFA", but based on how it's posted here, that title says it all & prompted me to ask that question above!)

Heck - even MICROSOFT & other large software production houses make screwups SO BAD, it's like the article is saying "programmers NEVER make mistakes" & buddy? They do... even me. Hence, updates/upgrades MANY times!

APK

P.S.=> Formal academic training DOES HELP, but only SO FAR... the rest? Is on YOU, the coder... & it takes time, effort, perseverance, + patience (as well as the ability to stay @ it)...

... apk

Re:How EXACTLY's one supposed to learn then? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404603)

Congratulations, you are an idiot!

Funny: I made YOU look like an IDIOT before (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404769)

Remember THIS? Sure you do -> http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2006166&cid=35312558 [slashdot.org] WHERE I PROVED THAT ON ANDROID, there are (or were @ that time) WAYS TO INSTALL APPS ON IT WITHOUT USER CONSENT...

(Which you RAN FROM, of course, after your bullshit before it... lol!)

---

"Congratulations, you are an idiot!" - by Alex Belits (437) * on Thursday September 20, @05:09PM (#41404603) Homepage

You, by way of comparison? A "ne'er-do-well" troll loser... bigtime, lol, see above!

APK

P.S.=> So, you can "shoo, go away little troll", before I make MORE "mincemeat" of you, yet again...

... apk

Misleading Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404515)

Bro,

your words have nothing to with the reasons why non-programmers shouldn't write code.

While I totally agree with what you say about the codebase ending up in shambles, your post's title has nothing to do with the content of your actual post.

Code Reviews? (1)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404525)

Unless FreeCause has a rigorous mentoring and code review process, this is a mistake. I've seen even Computer Science graduates who aren't yet very real-world experienced emit some of the most incomprehensible, unmaintainable, defect-ridden code imaginable. It is a waste of marketers', analysts', and whomever else's time to learn to create useful code.

I'm especially concerned about inexperienced developers coding in JavaScript, which is difficult to debug and is notorious for cross-browser incompatibilities. Writing good, usable JavaScript is not a trivial task.

Maybe they should also have their programmers doing marketing? "You'd have to be a complete fucking moron not to buy our shit. HELL-FUCKING-LO, I AM SHOUTING THE LOUDEST OF ANYBODY THEREFORE YOU MUST BUY! I LEARNED THIS TECHNIQUE FROM TEH USED CAR COMMERCIALS!!"

Recipie?! What non-authors shouldn't... (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404551)

Write text.

Been there... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404571)

Many moons ago, I was called in to clean up a project which had been assigned to an individual chosen for a particular task because he wasn't doing anything at the time...

The code in question was a real-time application that was to run on an in-house production system. People would flick a badge at a badge reader, which would transmit data to the production system in question, and the app, in real time, would do the usual things -- is the user authorized for this reader, log the event, do the right thing.

Except what usually happened was someone would walk up to a reader, flick their badge, and buggy real-time code would bring down the entire system.

After a few days of this yo-yo routine on a valuable system, I was given the opportunity (sic) to fix things.

Mess, spaghetti code, dog's breakfast, n^2 monkeys on bad acid, it was worse than that.

Previous "author" returned to his previous position. I re-wrote the pig (after writing a spec), debugged it on a non-production machine, and when it was checked out, put it into production.

Pain in the ass. Yeah, most everybody can be taught to write programs. Not everybody can write correct or good programs.

Oh, HTML isn't programming, but I'll leave complex website design to them that knows what they're doing.

Stupid headline (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404575)

Why Non-Coders Shouldn't Write Code

Non-coders should write code. It's how they'll learn. Now, if you meant "Why non-coders shouldn't write code for serious business purposes," well, guess what else? Non-surgeons shouldn't perform surgery. Non-swimmers shouldn't go diving. Non-drivers shouldn't be on the roads.

At My New Hospital... (1)

bratmobile (550334) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404581)

Everyone will be required to perform surgery every week.

Re:At My New Hospital... (2)

David_W (35680) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404647)

Everyone will be required to perform surgery every week.

Especially the patients.

Re:At My New Hospital... (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404759)

We give them very detailed diagrams. It will be fine.

"Pilots training flight attendants how to fly" (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404599)

Dude, you missed the keyword "everyone".
So make that
"Pilots training flight attendants and passengers how to fly"

What could *possibly* go wrong?

I'm looking forward to see the janitor working on our modified FC kernel driver.

Corollary: Don't even think about using FreeCause products.

Real Coders Need a Union, or a Guild, or Something (3, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404633)

People who are really professional coders ought to resist this kind of silliness because it is rooted in the notion that anyone can create professional quality code. If that's true, why pay the real coders?

It isn't true, of course, no more than is the notion that if you can stick a frozen pizza in the microwave you should be preparing food in a restaurant.

I'll agree on UNIONS (with a twist)... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404969)

It's the ONLY REASON outsourcing/OFF-SHORING is so rampant imo - there's NO CONTROLS on those hiring currently, hence outsourcing/offshoring!

* The rich, despite BULLSHIT "trickdown" economic theory (pure horseshit), keep getting richer @ YOUR EXPENSE folks!

(That's one of the ways they do it, & we ALLOW them to!)

APK

P.S.=> Fact is, & I'll state it plainly: THE "MOB" WAS ACTUALLY GOOD IN 1 CAPACITY:

They 'backed up' the Unions, & thus, the "working class" too, & with something the rich man REALLY understands:

"You do it OUR way, OR ELSE"

When the Italian mob/mafia went legit & weakened? So did the working man & his ability to even BEGIN to fight the power as the saying goes!

... apk

Not nuts, but yeah sort of . . . (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404649)

FreeCause is being a bit heavy handed in requiring people to learn how to code, but overall it's a good idea. They're doing their employees a favor by insisting that they attempt to learn a commercially viable skillset instead of sending them to seminars on how to apply the Art of War's lessons to management techniques (of all things). But using that same code in production sounds extreme. There's value in learning how to cobble together some code, but they shouldn't be deploying the output unless their positions call for it.

Great idea! (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404661)

...unless ofcourse you are one of the many IT employees required to maintain this crap.

Re:Great idea! (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41405023)

Well, you'd have a code review with the real coders, clean it up before pulling it into the codebase.

It's some extra load for the experts, but someone's learned something. I can see it working as long as management give everyone the time they need, and the real coders aren't arseholes about it.

There a quite a few people in my organisation that I'd like to just be exposed to a bit of programming, simply so they understand the basic concepts of what they're asking us to do.

That is an insanely bad idea (1)

azav (469988) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404683)

You're introducing top to bottom amateur crap done by people with different styles who have never had to do this for a living.

This is why I do not have my tax man paint the art that hangs in my house or my vet create building codes requrements.

People are good at certain things BECAUSE they have become good at certain things.

At Berkeley Systems, we once had a product hit a problem state and had the QA manager hand out our extra bugs to everyone in the company to test. This was obviously, massive stupidity.

To prevent FAIL from happening, I ended up printing out the entire bug list, stapled it to the wall, we grabbed red and green felt tipped pens, one of my coworkers took the start of the list and worked to the end while I took the end and walked to the back.

For 900 bugs.

Within two days, we had a visual representation of "how much of the product's bugs are left with an unknown state", "how many of the product's bugs are closed", "how many of the product's bugs are still open" and by watching the paper get filled in with more green lines over the day, you could see that the trend pointed to "we have a relatively stable release, though there are some bugs that we still need to address, but this is a near ship state for the product".

We didn't even finish the testing. We covered 2/3rds of the product's open bug list and there was a clear trend (assuming relatively uniform open/closed bug states through out the product history) that the product was OK.

Based on this, we were able to not cancel the product and express with confidence that it was in a near ship state and the team continued to find, fix and test bugs, we all kept our employment and the product shipped.

What's the harm? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404707)

#1 writes the code to display 9 boxes in a 3x3 grid.
#2 writes the code to remove the outside borders.
#3 writes the code to display an X or an O inside of any box
#4 writes the code to check if there are three of either X or O in a row (this will not be a Marketing Guy, probably).
#5 writes the code to look at the Xs and Os, see if is the code's turn to choose which square to mark how, and where to put the approriate symbol.
#6 writes the code to take the message from #4's code and decides if it's appropriate to issue the winner's message.
#7 writes the code to congratulate the winner (this would be a good one for the Marketing Guy).

Problems solved. #5 will probably be one of the regular programmers, of course. Others may or may not be. And this is diffferent from larg-scale projects how?

good question! (2)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404749)

Why Non-Coders Shouldn't Write Code
Why Non-Surgeons Shouldn't Operate
Why Non-Terminators Shouldn't Terminate
Why Non-Welders Shouldn't Weld
Why Non-Judges Shouldn't Judge
Why Non-Burglars Shouldn't Burgle
Why Non-Existent Shouldn't Exist
Why Non-Veterinarians shouldn't Vet
Why Non-Fiction Shouldn't Fict
Why Non-Player Character Shouldn't Charact Play
Why Non-Females Shouldn't Do the Dishes
Why Non-Males Shouldn't do Men's Jobs

And so on. If everybody does what he/she does best, all will be fine! It's that easy! :-)

Fine, but why JavaScript? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404753)

JavaScript is such a mess of paradigms I would never make somebody learn it first. Understanding what's going on under the hood is difficult even for people that have used it for years. Concepts that are simple in any other language make no sense in JavaScript. Its standard library is so barebones it's sad, and any library you try to add to it will likely have its own approach to JavaScript that is incompatible with other libraries. Asking somebody who has never coded to try to understand it is like asking somebody who has never even learned a second language to translate Sumerian.

Pfft... (1)

RudySolis (1438319) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404809)

I'm not a software developer, but when I write code, its ALWAYS in production.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41404829)

Remember: The Truth Will Out

Just because a company requires that people write code, doesn't mean they're software engineers. Trying to create software engineers by CEO fiat is like standing in a garage to become a car. The real world implications of trying to do so will set in, and usually sooner rather than later.

After the debaucle is done, the "Lessons Learned" will boil down to this:
- Bad programmers are really f****** expensive in the long run and drive our good programmers away.
- Find, recruit, and retain good programmers with higher than market pay rates, because we absolutely need them.

Which means that all software engineers in the market worth their salary can command higher prices.

This company is spending its money to conduct a case study to prove that programming is a skill, and hiring unskilled people for it does not work.

As a software engineer worth my salary, I'm very glad that they are doing so.

Really?!?! (2)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404839)

I'm glad I don't work for a surgery center with the same mentality...

Great idea! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404885)

Anyone who works with IT but not in IT should do that to get a basic understanding how we are not plumbers with the corporate network being pipes where labor can be done for the cheapest possible price because coding is sooo easy.

Also it is great to write scripts and custom functions too. If it sucks then that is the users problem.

Division of labor? (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404901)

Arguably the entire field of computation is about efficiency. The field of computer science is getting computers to do mundane mental tasks so people don't have to. This goal has expanded to doing so many mundane mental tasks that all the humans living on earth couldn't do them if they wanted to, and also doing some not so mundane things pretty well. Efficiency is still the name of the game. Whether it's minimizing time complexity, space complexity (i.e. making the machines more efficient), or maximizing scalability and maintainability (i.e. making the humans more efficient at making the machines more efficient), it's all about getting the biggest bang for your buck+second. To force *everyone* to participate in programming violate this basic tenet of computation. If everyone does a little programming, why don't we also all do a little toilet cleaning, cooking, accounting, construction, farming, policing, firefighting, etc. One of the greatest advancements of human societies has been division of labor. It turns out that for most tasks, the cost of learning how to do them well is vastly outweighed by the benefit of the job being done better. Unfortunately there are too many things to learn in one human lifespan, so learning only a few things becomes the most efficient solution. Every hour an HR person spends learning to programming, is an hour that he/she is not doing HR stuff. Now you need to hire more HR people (who will also be programming) to pick up the slack. So we can hire less programmers now right? Wrong. You can hire 1 good programmer, or 2 good programmers and 10 bad ones (1 good programmer to make the thing, and the other to undo everything the other 10 bad programmers did).

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

osmosys (2730525) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404917)

1. Right brained people doing a job that uses the - left hemisphere where "math" is stored. hmm you'll probably run into a lot of conversations like, "I was in the special ed math class."
2. People who spend their time communicating, or putting together business deals may not have the mental bandwidth or time to code properly. We divide labor for a reason. It's far more egalitarian to allow people to excel what they are naturally talented at.
3. Not everyone can "hyperfocus" to put code down properly - doesn't mean they are dumb. Can you swing a bat like Buster Posey? Write an essay like Orwell? Different skill sets.
4. There's a trend in the IT/Developer world that everyone should know how to code, and if you can't, well then you're second class. You're just one step above menial labor - here's a mop pal. Ton's of people work well with and around technology without a CS degree. It's a fact.

// head desk

Stupid. (2)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 2 years ago | (#41404941)

Throughout my career I've had to work on Flash files built by designers. Most programmers I've encountered consider Actionscript beneath them and refuse to touch it. Companies figure that since Flash is supposedly a designer's tool that designers should also code.

You haven't seen bad code until you've been exposed to a designer's creation. It's the most convoluted garbage imaginable. I'd always be handed half-finished, barely functioning junk that needed "minor" edits. It would inevitably turn into an excruciating nightmare trying to figure out what this incompetent had done. In the end I'd just redo the thing completely because it was less work than trying to decipher and modify the original mess.

I'm convinced one of the big factors that led to Flash's downfall was crap code from designers. I couldn't stand, as a designer, being expected to code Actionscript. It's why I stopped including it on my resume.

From a perspective of quality, expecting every one of your employees to code is about the stupidest thing you can do. But more importantly, it's inefficient and an incredible waste of resources.

Of course that code will be unusable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41405009)

Us programmers are bad enough at writing code. Marketing people won't screw up that much more than a bad coder.

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