Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Tech Leaders Encourage Teaching Schoolkids How To Code

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the we-need-more-apps dept.

Education 265

rtoz writes "Code.org has released infographics and a video to explain why students should be taught to code in school. They've gathered support from leaders in politics and the tech industry. Mark Zuckerberg says, 'Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today.' Former U.S. President Bill Clinton adds, 'At a time when people are saying, "I want a good job – I got out of college and I couldn't find one," every single year in America, there is a standing demand for 120,000 people who are training in computer science.' Bill Gates said, 'Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.' Google's Eric Schmidt is looking beyond first-world countries: 'For most people on Earth, the digital revolution hasn't even started yet. Within the next 10 years, all that will change. Let's get the whole world coding!'" Part of the standing demand for computer science jobs may be influenced by bad policies from tech companies, like Yahoo's ban on working from home.

cancel ×

265 comments

Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#43017291)

More "we want cheap labor trained with tax dollars" whining from industry. If there were a shortage of programmers, salaries would be going up. They're not.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017347)

You don't understand! Companies demand lower costs. Demand for programmers wages is to go down~

Yes, that's a sarcasm tag.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017359)

Exactly. If there was a shortage, people wouldn't be getting fired for being over 30. People who actually can program wouldn't be blown off for interviews after applying because they didn't have every keyword on their resume. Just more justification for more H1Bs into the country to pay them next to nothing.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43017385)

Exactly what I was thinking. /discussion

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017411)

People don't refuse programming jobs because they didn't learn how to do it in grade school.

People refuse programming jobs because they hate programming, and don't want to deal with the regular long hours, stress, and complete lack of job security that programming comes with.

Teaching more kids to program won't produce more people who want to do it for a living, but feel free to try.

Making the job worth learning the skill for, on the other hand, will motivate people (old and young) to self-educate. Of course...that might cost something....

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017683)

Most people are capable of being programmers, but they aren't capable of being good programmers. Most people just weren't born with the level of intelligence necessary to be such a thing, and evidence of this is everywhere.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43018125)

Please spare me your Spencerian rhetoric. The notion that ability is fully innate has been so thoroughly debunked that it's not even funny anymore.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (4, Insightful)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about a year ago | (#43017949)

There's PLENTY of job security in programming (and all tech jobs) and salaries HAVE been going up.

You're just living in the wrong place.

America is not a country that has job security. Go to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, anywhere in Europe, and enjoy plenty of holidays, great pay and great job security.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (3, Interesting)

hackula (2596247) | about a year ago | (#43018099)

This. I am convinced that swarms of "programmers" who gripe every time this subject comes up have not been in the programming job market in 10 years plus. Saying you cannot get through the HR filter is total BS. Any competent programmer knows how to put the right stuff on their resume to get hired. It takes like 20 minutes to add a few keywords to your resume and it takes about 20 minutes of wikipedia per BS keyword to get through an interview. Most interviews are dumbed down to the extreme anyways, since its so difficult to find programmers that you really cannot afford to scare any away. The outsourcing stuff is BS too since most programming involves proprietary data and there is no way in hell that most companies are going to put that in the hands of someone in India or China.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017541)

More "we want cheap labor trained with tax dollars" whining from industry. If there were a shortage of programmers, salaries would be going up. They're not.

India will provide all the programmers the world need.

American citizens will be forced to provide cheap services to our Chinese overlords.

The national debt is not going anywhere good.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year ago | (#43017753)

Salaries have been going up steadily in this arena for the past two years. Software Engineering is just about the only industry that has.

Having said that, if they really wanted to solve the problem, they'd try to educate Human Resources better, and encourage more on the job training instead of refusing to hire anybody without 6 years of experience in a technology that only emerged last year.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43018053)

,,,, they'd try to educate Human Resources better ...

You first. Talk about an impossible engineering project.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (4, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#43017759)

Here's a video [youtube.com] to show you how tech companies in the U.S. today "recruit" American programmers.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017847)

And as the pool of "qualified labour" expands wages will be suppressed to the point of "will code for a hot meal" will be the norm on every street corner.

Re:Cheap labor trained with tax dollars (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43017951)

More "we want cheap labor trained with tax dollars" whining from industry.

By extending your logic, we shouldn't have public schools at all.

If there were a shortage of programmers, salaries would be going up.

No, they would only be going up if the shortage was getting worse.

Great video, but will it help... (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43017299)

The video is great, it does as good a job as anything ever could making coding look like a cool thing to do.

But, I wonder how much it will actually increase the number of people that code. I think that inherently there are a small number of people that really have in inclination to enjoy coding. No matter how cool it looks, once you sit down and try to write something the full reality of what coding is overwhelms any amount of social messaging working to convince you that you will enjoy it.

Still, if it even gets a small number of people who would enjoy coding but would not have tried it otherwise - then it's probably worth the effort.

Re:Great video, but will it help... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43017565)

They don't pretend it's cool.

Cool is implied, not forced (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43017593)

They don't pretend it's cool.

They don't hit you over the head with it.

But any video that has popular figures like WillIAm in it saying how they learned to code - well obviously part of the message is "even popular people love to code".

Re:Cool is implied, not forced (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43017719)

The message is that coding is empowering, not that it is cool.

Re:Cool is implied, not forced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017767)

In the case of WillIAm, he is actively injecting himself into encouraging young people to learn STEM curriculum. It isn't a case of, lets get popular person X and have them do commercials for us to trick the kids into thinking Y is cool. I'm not sure of his motivations or maybe it use to be the case and he actually started following his preaching but I'm glad some celebrity outside of nerd/geek-dom fame is encouraging young people to make something useful of themselves.

Re:Great video, but will it help... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43017667)

"Like learning to play an instrument or a sport..."

(except that instruments/sports are things you can mention at parties...)

Re:Great video, but will it help... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43017745)

I don't think playing a sport is cool.
I haven't, however, been exposed to the crazy usian high school system where, if TV series are to be believed, sport players seem to hold some kind of important social status.

Re:Great video, but will it help... (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year ago | (#43017969)

This may surprise you: not everybody actually enjoys going to parties.

Corporate IT (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017305)

The vast majority of those jobs are in Corporate IT. From my experience most corporate IT jobs suck. They treat their IT groups like a cost center and place them slightly above the janitorial staff. Why would we expect kids to to find this an attractive career choice?

Re:Corporate IT (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43018051)

The vast majority of those jobs are in Corporate IT. From my experience most corporate IT jobs suck.

From my experience, knowing how to code is the best way to escape from the corporate world. Every successful entrepreneur that I know is a techie.

Why would we expect kids to to find this an attractive career choice?

Because job satisfaction surveys consistently show that STEM professionals are mostly happy with their careers.

Bullshit (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#43017313)

Zuckerberg says, 'Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today.' Former U.S. President Bill Clinton adds, 'At a time when people are saying, "I want a good job – I got out of college and I couldn't find one," every single year in America, there is a standing demand for 120,000 people who are training in computer science.'

Yeah, and those "jobs" wouldn't just be a fiction to get more H-1B Visas, now would they? Of course not, they're all legit, of course.

You have unemployed programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017345)

And you have employed hb1 Indians
In fact they ask for hb1 in the emails before they ask for us citisenship
I have the emails to prove it
Is this legal, it should not be
The people are at home unemployed and your importing Indians and the third world

Re:You have unemployed programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017401)

It isn't legal, but the Justice Department is prohibited from actually doing anything about it. Congress wrote the law to keep our corporate masters happy.

Re:You have unemployed programmers (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43017857)

It's not legal. The requirement is to advertise for a local potential for a certain amount of time before they proceed into H1-B territory.

There is no mystery as to what they are trying to pull.

There should be no H1-B program. We are a "supply and demand" idealism nation. If a company needs something, they should depend on the market's invisible hand instead of relying on the government to interfere with their business.

We all know the truth though. They all want government to give them things and to make it easier or cheaper for them, but they don't want the government to protect the interests of the people or the nation as a whole. So for every argument business makes about wanting the government out of their business, ask them if they are willing to give up all that the government gives them such as "copyright" "patents" and all sorts of other things like.

The truth is, without government to "balance" things, someone will get too powerful and cause things to destabilize. It happens again and again and again. Trouble is, things are ALREADY destabilized and things seem to be getting worse every time I look. Everything favors business interests at the expense of the people... the pedestrians... the slaves. "The Human Resources."

Bullshit (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#43017377)

Mark Zuckerberg says, 'Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find.

I'm calling bullshit. I work with plenty of very good developers, and none of them has been contacted by Facebook. If he really wanted to meet them, all he'd need to do is offer a yearly salary of $200k. He's apparently unwilling to do that.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017487)

Mark Zuckerberg says, 'Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find.

I'm calling bullshit. I work with plenty of very good developers, and none of them has been contacted by Facebook. If he really wanted to meet them, all he'd need to do is offer a yearly salary of $200k. He's apparently unwilling to do that.

Perhaps they can contact facebook, or make themselves visible (linkedin, etc)? I consider myself an above average developer (started playing with BASIC at 10 and now I am 30, with a phd degree), but not the very hardcore ones. I got contacted by facebook and they did offer me a package to the tune of $200k.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017921)

FaceBook Human Resources contacted you directly and offered you USD200K per annum due to your PhD not due merely to a bit of experience programming computers.

Re:Bullshit (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43018081)

Perhaps they can contact facebook, or make themselves visible (linkedin, etc)? I consider myself an above average developer (started playing with BASIC at 10 and now I am 30, with a phd degree), but not the very hardcore ones. I got contacted by facebook and they did offer me a package to the tune of $200k.

How's that replying to unsolicited commercial emails going for you?

Re:Bullshit (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43017489)

I'd bet talented engineers aren't generally interesting in getting hired by Facebook. Same with Microsoft: gotta hire them right out of college, before they learn better.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017507)

He can get indentured servants from India for a lot cheaper. All he, his corporate buddies, and their Congressional slaves have to do is keep up the theatre that they can't find American programmers and engineers.

Re:Bullshit (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43017665)

They've hired quite a few big shots (just like Apple or Google).
It's just that they're only willing to give a lot of money for the very best.

Re:Bullshit (0)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year ago | (#43017765)

Very few programmers are worth $200k/year

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017831)

Come to Silicon Valley, if you count liquid stock per year, there are a lot of programmers making 200k a year.

Re:Bullshit (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year ago | (#43017845)

Good point, but that is a bit skewed by the fact that the cost of living is so high there. Salaries in most industries are higher than average in that region.

my whole class was taught to program in high schoo (4, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | about a year ago | (#43017381)

My whole class in high school was taught how to program. The dirty little secret though is genetics play a key role and only a couple of us had any aptitude for it. Most people can be taught to program in some fashion only a few however will every be any good at it.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017451)

And I bet the ones with an 'aptitude' for it weren't BLACK. LOL.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017471)

The dirty little secret though is genetics play a key role and only a couple of us had any aptitude for it.

And by that you mean white people, amirite?

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (1)

codepunk (167897) | about a year ago | (#43017505)

The word genetics != race, get it?

Actually one was black so what is your point?

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43017677)

Ah, so your group consisted solely of fraternal and non-fraternal twins, which allowed you come to this conclusion on some factor other than race?

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43018079)

Definitely! That, and twins separated at birth, reunited later in his very class. How else could he possibly have come to such a bold conclusion? Epic conclusions require epic evidence, and this man has seen it!

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017553)

No, even among a 99% white population where I am, finding people who have the aptitude for coding is hard - most can be taught, but having them be /creative/ in their code(as opposed to rote memorization)... that's far more rare.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43018159)

Shoot radioactive gamma waves into them and hope that they mutate into Aspergians then.

Obvious solution.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#43018017)

No, he's talking about IQ which is at least partly based on genetics.

Absolute minimum IQ to be a computer programmer is around 110. To be a GOOD programmer you're gonna need 120+. Out of a class of thirty kids, you're only gonna see 3 or 4 who qualify... the smart kids. And if they're really smart, they go on to be doctors or lawyers or wall street somethings and make more money rather than put up with the long hours, deadline pressures and the job insecurity that goes with being a programmer.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43018185)

Where on this good green Earth did you come up with those cut offs? Do you work for the College Board or something? Who makes these metrics?

Oh- that's right. White engineers.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017509)

And... there you have it. Every kindergarden class has toy xylophones and drums. Most of them don't have a Mozart. A few of them have future part-time musicians. The rest just make noise.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43017687)

The same is true for every subject already taught at school: math, physics, chemistry, biology, history, and whatever other subjects they teach there.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017713)

That's pretty much true of any skill -- or, for that matter, any school subject. Some people will be better than others. Some won't get it at all. And some will truly excel.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43017873)

Same here. I took my first class in the summer in middle school on a teletype, moving up to a video terminal in high school. It taught me three things.

First, it taught me how to make something work. So many times in school there is inauthentic assessment. The results of your work does not actually result in anything, so it really does not matter if it is right or wrong. In middle school this means kids will just fill in blanks or bubble things in to get finished. Because I was doing something that would be right or wrong for real, I would work to learn how to get the program running. Which meant lining up columns, making sure parenthesis were in the right place, etc. Nowhere else would I put the effort to make it correct, because it did not matter.

Second it taught me to break up a problem, think about what steps for each part were, and then put it back together with code. This process analysis and design served me well for the rest of my life.

Third, it encouraged me to develop abstract thinking. Math class was supposed to do this, but really it did not. That was learned in computer classes. I recall the epiphany of realizing that a swap function was needed to exchange values in variable. I understood what a variable was. When I wrote code to graph and swirl the trig functions I understood trigonometry. The act of me writing code to just generate a graph made me understand that process in way that I see many do not.

I will admit we were a specific group of hand selected students. On the other hand we now have the pedagogical techniques to teach these advanced topics to any somewhat motivated group. I have seen high school students use circuit design software to generate a circuit and then program a FPGA. It can be done if the we invest in the right teachers and pay for the equipment.

Which is my only worry. If we are going to do this in the early grades, we need the right people. Without the right people it is just going to devolve into an application design class, which is what too many computer classes are now. Knowing how to use an application is like knowing how to type. It is not going to teach how to program a computer any more than typing teaches you to build a typewriter.

But if done right it would be revolutionary. Asking a student to program a python web pages that solves a generic two step equation when a user inputs the values, performing a sort to calculate the mode and median, interfacing with data collection equipment to gather and analyze data for an expirent, this would provoke understanding in some students beyond what they would otherwise have.

Of course it won't happen because these skills cannot be tested on a standardized test. The skills on this test are those that no one really needs for work. For example the test asks what is the error in this bit of code. I don't know. When I code the compiler gives me an error, then I look at the code and fixes it. That is the way real people code. Ask me about something real!

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (1)

StueyNZ (2657297) | about a year ago | (#43017945)

...and as we testified to an adjudicator in a wrongful dismissal case a few years ago:

Jack's argument is that we didn't offer him enough of the right training to become a better programmer.

Our argument is that we gave the same training that 80 other programmers got...programming is like Opera Singing, if you don't have the talent no amount of training is going to make you good at it. Unfortuntely Jack made a mistake when he thought he'd go into programming as a career.

On the other hand teaching all kids to at least write a little programme, may help identify those with the talent early enough to get them trained into great programmers.

Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (1)

Burning1 (204959) | about a year ago | (#43018043)

That's fine. The purpose of programs at that level shouldn't be to produce a class full of programmers, but instead to help point students with the aptitude to program towards it as a possible career path.

I'm in the IT field because of a 3 hour computer repair class I took as a kid. I never expected to enjoy it or be good at it - it's just something I did. Turned out to be the right decision for me.

copyrights, IP, DCMA, whatever (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#43017413)

It's been decades since these guys did coding, and back then they didn't have use exclusive platforms requiring register and EULAs and not worry about getting sued. OK so I've not coded in years... but it seems to me whenever IT issues like this arises... here comes another CISPA. Perhaps I'm getting OT but gotta deliver my gripe of the month.

Critical thinking before coding (4, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#43017423)

Critical thinking seems to me to be the missing education; teach people to think and when they get to coding it will be easy.

Re:Critical thinking before coding (1)

MYakus (1625537) | about a year ago | (#43017457)

I wish I'd read this post before posting, you've stated the problem better than I.

Re:Critical thinking before coding (1)

fliptout (9217) | about a year ago | (#43017825)

Along the same lines, teach kids some formal logic so they have the proper tools to think critically.

Re:Critical thinking before coding (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43017889)

No, don't teach people to think! Thinking people are much much harder to control, and we need to control them to ensure they'll take lousy jobs, take on lots of debt, vote for politicians that won't change anything, and blame themselves for not getting anywhere in life. Why, this "thinking" would even convince some people that the corporate leadership isn't really all that smart, and that idea is downright dangerous.

- This message brought to you by the US Chamber of Commerce

We don't want critical thinking ... (1)

StueyNZ (2657297) | about a year ago | (#43017987)

No! No! No!

We the management don't want critical thinking in our employees. We want skilled coders who will shut up and do as they're told.

No critical thinking. No analysis of the content of the latest bunch of lies (ulp, I mean management team talk to the staff). and certainly no telling us we're full of shit when we are.

Sure! (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about a year ago | (#43017425)

Because the shortage of skilled coders the corporations whine about will certainly be ended if we train even more! It's not like there is anyone out there that knows how to write software that's unemployed, is it?

Re:Sure! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43017579)

But you don't understand. If every high school graduate can code, suddenly coding is comparable to flipping burgers and stocking shelves, so they can fill those "programing jobs" for $8 an hour.

Re:Sure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017741)

They're doing next to that now. There are plenty of U.S. programming jobs that pay little more than that now, with part-time hours and, of course, no benefits.

Re:Sure! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43017849)

If every high school graduate can code, suddenly coding is comparable to flipping burgers and stocking shelves, so they can fill those "programming jobs" for $8 an hour.

Nail, head.

Direct hit.

Re:Sure! (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43017703)

You'd have to either suck or be unwilling to relocate to be unemployed.

Re:Sure! (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year ago | (#43017867)

Many Recent College Graduates are the former, and many people who actually have a family and/or invested in real estate are the later. Someday, maybe, HR departments will recognize this fact, and put the extra money they save by hiring an RCG into free training classes, and offer telecomuting options for the more senior positions.

I can dream, can't I?

Except it isn't such a dream. I was contacted in my recent 2 month job search by a company 3000 miles from my home who had identified me as a potential recruit with the skills they desired- AND was willing to let me work from home, and had I made it to round 2, would have actually paid for my plane ticket for the interview.

I found something closer because my wife runs a daycare and I don't want to try to code with 6 screaming kids in the background.

Re:Sure! (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43017925)

A decent company will pay your plane ticket for the interview even if no telecommuting is involved.

Re:Sure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43018179)

But after the job offer, and your many years of loyal service, will they pay for your relocation once you decide to move on to greener fields?

Teaching kids... (2)

MYakus (1625537) | about a year ago | (#43017431)

Watching a friend teach kids Java in high school is just painful. They spend way too much time debugging quirks in the languange than debugging their logic. Teaching kids to program in high school/elementry school should be taught differently than teaching kids to program in a particular language. The demographics I've read is that we are having problems getting kids into STEM let alone Computer Science. Teaching kids to program at a younger age should be a good thing, we just aren't doing it right. Did I just say "LONG LIVE PASCAL"? Not yet,....

Re:Teaching kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017519)

Yup.

Re:Teaching kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017627)

I just bought my kids a Scratch programming book (Super Programming Adventure or something). Hope it's good!

Re:Teaching kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43018085)

Exactly. I'm studying math at a German university. I have to take a course in "Computer oriented mathematics". But it's not about mathematics at all, it's just a Java 101, and most of it consists in memorizing idiotic peculiarities of a dying language instead of learning programming techniques. The worst thing is, about 95% of the students don't have any prior programming experience. I don't know what they think they are doing there. Why study math if you're not curious about applied math?

Wut (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about a year ago | (#43017455)

There just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today.

Would that have something to do with the way YOU DONT ACTUALLY HIRE ANYONE WHO ISNT A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL RIGHT OFF THE BAT?

Seriously, I'm working on my college degree and I cant even get an UNPAID internship without previous PAID WORK EXPERIENCE

Last time I was in a work interview it went fine up untill the point they asked about my previous job which I hadnt included in my CV because I dont have one (because I cant get hired). After they find out I haven't had an actual job in the business the interview quickly goes the way of "we'll call you when we decide" which turns into -> "we have decided to pick someone with more experience" on follow-up call, regardless if Ive had the chance to show them my code portfolio ( do they think its not actually mine or what? ) Hobbies & actual skills dont seem to matter if you lack the "experience".

Re:Wut (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43017931)

There just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today.

Would that have something to do with the way YOU DONT ACTUALLY HIRE ANYONE WHO ISNT A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL RIGHT OFF THE BAT?

Seriously, I'm working on my college degree and I cant even get an UNPAID internship without previous PAID WORK EXPERIENCE

That's one major reason why I'm seriously considering bailing on IT. Another is that I can make a shit-ton more money in the family gun shop (especially with all the politicians bloviating on the topic, makes for good business), and not have to worry about whether or not my skills and achievements mesh with what some fucking marketing drone or HR algorithm thinks they should be.

Re:Wut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017977)

Just change your name to Sanjay and move to India. Then they'll be falling all over themselves to recruit you.

Teach kids how to think (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#43017475)

Among other things, school is to teach kids HOW to think logically.

How you go about that - whether you use programming or some other method - isn't quite as important.

Now, if a kid is enrolled in a jobs-training program or a pre-computer-science academic program, then yes, teaching programming is important in its own right. Likewise, if you are offering it as an elective, then it's important as long as there are enough students signed up to warrant having the class.

But otherwise I see no reason to insist, without data to back it up, that teaching programming is more (or, conversely, less) effective at teaching logical thinking skills than other methods might be.

Everybody Thinks They're an Expert (2)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year ago | (#43017491)

Teach every school kid programming. When they're adults they'll think that programming is easy and grip about how much they have to pay programmers at their work.

Why so many unemployed coders then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017495)

I know a dozen programming languages. I am self-employed, because where I live, there are way too many people with programming skills and too few jobs. I won't call all of them bold faced liars, but is about 99% true. They are looking for coders who will work at 25 cents per hour or less. Years ago when I finished a 2 year college program (before I went off to university), employment rates in related fields (computers/programming) was at a high of 18%. There are several things going on here 1) they want coders for a few cups of rice per day 2) They want people with a PhD + 20+ years of experience (experience being whatever they decide on that day), 3) They are looking for someone who is related to someone who already works there. Ultimately when they say 'thousands of jobs' what they really mean is 'thousands of jobs in Shanghai and Bangalore'.

You have unemployed programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017521)

You have unemployed programmers sitting at home from NASA and the dot boom and you have hb1 Indians working
Dreadfull working conditions no healthcare no job security long hours and poor pay

Maybe if the software interview process... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017581)

... wasn't so fucking broken, he'd be able to fill the ranks. This isn't a dig specifically at Zuckerberg - more of an observation that the industry in it's continuous quest to self-optimize, succeeds only in screwing itself. There is so much competition to hire the 'elite' coder that companies are completely ignoring the experienced, dependable, journeyman talent that they could have in droves.

This just in... (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year ago | (#43017585)

Industry leaders want plentiful and cheap labour available in their industry sector. More at 11.

Middle school math teacher here (1)

ruggerboy (553525) | about a year ago | (#43017641)

I teach middle school math and would LOVE to introduce students to coding. The problem is that the only coding I've ever done is basic HTML and some rudimentary old school BASIC (I remember while/when loops, but not much else). Considering my limited knowledge, what are some good programming resources that I could use for 12 year-olds, most of whom have never coded? I love the idea of the class learning together.

Re:Middle school math teacher here (1)

motorhead (82353) | about a year ago | (#43017771)

IMOHO I'd select Perl.

Re:Middle school math teacher here (1)

Amouth (879122) | about a year ago | (#43018119)

i wish they had a +1 Evil mod..

Re:Middle school math teacher here (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year ago | (#43017957)

http://raptor.martincarlisle.com/ [martincarlisle.com]

I recently had a career fair to do at my kid's school. I looked up "freeware flowcharting", and found this. Took me all of a half hour to program in the Friendship Algorithm from Big Bang Theory as a demo.

Looks like a great first language to me, and while it is an interpreter, it contains a translator to several other high level languages as a starting point.

Re:Middle school math teacher here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017959)

check out www.tutorialspoint.com and w3schools.com

Best resources I know of for introduction to such a wide range of languages.

I've just mentored my 12 year old nephew through the html and css portions of both sites. He's really enjoying it, and now has the skills to build a simple static web site and can make it look like anything he wants.

The dirty little secret (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year ago | (#43017651)

They claim that there is a huge demand for coders, but the dirty little secret is that the industry is rife with ageism. If you're over 35 these people don't want to hire you.

Every student already can learn to code (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about a year ago | (#43017657)

Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code

Every kid who's going to turn into a talented coder already has all the resources they need. It's called the internet. Schools are inefficient at best anyways.

Programming, not coding (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#43017689)

Don't teach the kids how to code. Teach them how to program. That means teaching them to think about the problem, determine requirements, clarify requirements (I'm working on one now where it's taking literally days to tease out of the person exactly what they actually want, it's repetitions of my restating what he said and him going "That sounds right, except for..." and then outlining a new thing the software has to do that he hadn't mentioned before), evaluate approaches and settle on a basic design and outline for the software, and finally document the requirements and design. And then once the code's written it has to be tested and debugged, which is another skill set entirely. Plus, while coding you have to think about what tools are available in the language, what libraries are out there, and how they integrate with your code. Often that affects the design of the software, and you need to understand that and learn how to think ahead during the design stage so your design works with the tools you'll need to use while coding.

Actual coding is the smallest part of the job. Critical thinking, analytical skills, general problem-solving, research, all that is far more important to the job than merely knowing how to crank out code.

Ask any writer. They'll tell you that the actual physical act of typing out a book is the easy part, it's just time-consuming. The hard parts are all the research and working out the actual story before you sit down to start typing.

Re:Programming, not coding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017997)

This is exactly why they are trying to teach students coding, not programming. Programming is like math: in order to be a real programmer, you have to like it, and most people don't. Students who like programming are already programming, because it doesn't take more than a computer and some curiosity to get started. Students who lack that curiosity can still be coders.

Re:Programming, not coding (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#43018199)

No thanks. As a software developer who has to deal with coders, they're literally more trouble than they're worth. To get good code out of them I have to nail things down so explicitly and in such detail that I could've written the code myself in the time it took to write the instructions for them. I nearly have to write the code anyway just to figure out all the stuff I need to give them instructions on. And if I don't give them instructions in that much detail, their lack of analytical ability means they churn out code that doesn't quite do what it's supposed to or does things in ways that conflict with what the rest of the system needs. I either have to spend time re-writing their code, or I have to spend 10x as much time down the road working around the brokenness in their code when I'm trying to do maintenance and enhancement. The kind of code a pure coder would be good for writing, is the kind of code I go find a library for.

Stupid Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43017729)

What a stupid idea. Why do we want to train kids to be programmers? So they can move to a "low cost country" and write software at a lower wage for US companies?

If they want to do the kids a favor, teach them about how capitalism works, and money and assets work, and how businesses are created and maintained.

The 80's called - they want their BASIC story back (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#43017731)

>> Tech Leaders Encourage Teaching Schoolkids How To Code

The 80's called - they want their BASIC story back.

Not every round peg goes in a square hole. (1)

B5_geek (638928) | about a year ago | (#43017789)

As many others have pointed out, if there were such a high demand for skilled programmers the base salary/wage would go up. Too often I have seen crazy-stupid job requirements and they are only willing to pay $1 more per hour then MINIMUM WAGE ffs!!!

But I digress, what schools need to teach is critical thinking, and basic logic-reasoning. (aka trouble-shooting)

I don't want to program, I don't like it. I enjoy scripting repetitive tasks. The peak of my programming abilities was realized when I developed custom MIRC events/notices back in ~'96.

Nursing Glut (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43017973)

It was that way with nurses a few years back. I woke up to a story yesterday on NPR that new nursing graduates can't find work because hospitals are only hiring nurses with previous work experience. They said that even if all the older nurses who have been putting off retirement due to the economy decided to retire, Colorado would still only need 1500 nurses a year, and we're currently graduating 1800 nurses a year. I'm sure these guys would be overjoyed to have a similar programmer glut on their hands.

Take a lesson from pro sports (1)

devforhire (2658537) | about a year ago | (#43018049)

Being a good software engineer is not something you can teach so please stop trying and wasting money producing a ton of mediocre coders that will flood the low end dev markets. Being a good engineer is mainly dependent natural ability and requires that ability be developed by years of practical experience. Professional sports figured out a long time ago how to farm this kind of genetic talent; it's simple you start our with programs targeting kids as they enter grade school then progressively weed out kids as the years go on in increasingly competitive groups.

Thanks Mark (1)

ahoffer0 (1372847) | about a year ago | (#43018139)

Zuckerberg needs programmers like the LA Lakers need basketball players.

Teach schoolkids how to riot. (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43018177)

Being self-taught in programming, and benefitting from those skills for professional and personal use, I certainly think that's a useful thing for kids to learn.

But, "strangely," industry leaders who claim concern about kids learning skills for getting good jobs in the future, never seem to call for education in those skills that have historically had the greatest impact on boosting job prospects for the next generation. Learning from the past, what is it that assures better jobs for the next generation? Perhaps kids should learn what it took to get things like 40 hour work weeks, vacations, paid overtime, compensation for workplace injury (and workplaces that don't injure/kill workers on a daily basis), equal pay for equal work, pensions, salaries in money rather than company scrip, etc.

In other words, we should be teaching kids how to effectively organize; unionize; march; protest; picket; leaflet; boycott; sit-in; slowdown; sabotage; riot: to strike terror in the very heart of power, until once "unthinkable" concessions are extracted from their oppressors. The generation of kids that learns these skills will surely, as with past generations of heroes, find their job prospects immeasurably brightened.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...