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Ad Exec: Learn To Code Or You're Dead To Me

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the what-can-you-do-for-me? dept.

Businesses 339

theodp writes "In a widely-read WSJ Op-Ed, English major Kirk McDonald, president of online ad optimization service PubMatic, informed college grads that he considers them unemployable unless they can claim familiarity with at least two programming languages. 'Teach yourself just enough of the grammar and the logic of computer languages to be able to see the big picture,' McDonald advises. 'Get acquainted with APIs. Dabble in a bit of Python. For most employers, that would be more than enough.' Over at Typical Programmer, Greg Jorgensen is not impressed. 'I have some complaints about this "everyone must code" movement,' Jorgensen writes, 'and Mr. McDonald's article gives me a starting point because he touched on so many of them.'"

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BANG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703617)

killedyou first

Online ads? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703625)

Consider yourself obsolete, Kirk McDonald.

Re:Online ads? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703637)

You say that like it was easy to remove online ads.

Oh, wait.

O'rly? (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703653)

Guy who owns a technical company tells people they're no good to him if they can't be technical.

News at 11.

Re:O'rly? (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703711)

Who in the hell wants to listen to an "English major" who runs an online ad service? This guy should be drawn and quartered, not quoted.

Re:O'rly? (3, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703867)

Like Bill Hicks said it, if anyone is in advertising or marketing, just kill yourself.

Re:O'rly? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703915)

Um, no. How about the people in advertising or marketing kill themselves?

Re:O'rly? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703951)

Job creep. This is the kind of who wants people to be able to do much more than their normal job descriptions.

You want to be a graphic artist and create artwork for our ads? That's great! If you can't mark them up in HTML & Javascript, and code the PHP/PERL/Python backend, then GTFO!

You get what you pay for, asshat. If you hire "amateur" or non-programmers to do your programming then enjoy the fruits of your laborers.

Re:O'rly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704049)

If you want only graphics artists who can program, prepare to have some really shitty artwork. Any artist worth shit is not going to be a programmer because they'll have spent that time honing their artistic skills instead of wasting it on learning how to code.

Re:O'rly? (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704143)

If you want only graphics artists who can program, prepare to have some really shitty artwork.

If you only hire graphic artists that don't have a clue about programming then they will waste a lot of time manually performing tasks that could be easily automated. I once had a GA spend two weeks resizing and changing the background color of several hundred images. I could have written a script to do that in a few minutes, and it could have run in a few seconds. Even if he couldn't write the code himself, if he had a few clues about programming, he would have at least have had the sense to ask for help rather than wasting two weeks.

That was just once incident, but I have seen many like it. In the modern world, nearly everyone should have a basic mental model of how computers work and what they are capable of. They don't need to be coders, but they should have a basic understanding of what coders do.

Re:O'rly? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704213)

Bullshit. Any halfway decent image editing software will have batch functions. If your artist didn't know how to do something like that in Photoshop, then they weren't a very good artist. It requires 0 programming knowledge, but it does require knowledge of industry standard art tools.

Re:O'rly? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704153)

There's a difference between hiring artists who are good programmers and hiring artists who understand the basics of programming. It amazes me how much time commercial artists waste doing grunt work that can be trivially automated. If you hire only the ones that know a tiny bit of programming then they'll spend a tiny bit of time writing some crappy code instead of a lot of time doing everything by hand.

Re:O'rly? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704237)

You obviously have no knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator or any other good image creation/manipulation software.

Re:O'rly? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704249)

Most of the artists I know are 3D artists, so no, I don't know much about the 2D packages. All of the 3D ones have scripting interfaces though, and I'm pretty sure Photoshop does (at least on the Mac, it exposes a lot to AppleScript, no idea about Windows).

Basic html and css (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703659)

These are more fundamental

Re:Basic html and css (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703757)

<html>
<head></head>
<body>
I am an HTML coder.
There are many like me.
I can has job?
</body>
</html>

Re:Basic html and css (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703881)

Your head has no title, no text encoding and your body has no structure whatsoever.

And that's just for starters.

Re:Basic html and css (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703975)

Your head has no title, no text encoding and your body has no structure whatsoever.

And that's just for starters.

That would make him a 2 year veteran of the web wars. It's time for his 6th raise.

Re:Basic html and css (5, Funny)

game kid (805301) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703945)

Gah!!! It's all wrong! Here, lemme help you:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html xmlns:fb="http://ogp.me/ns/fb#">
<head><script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.min.js"></script></head>
<body>
<div id="fb-root"></div>
<script>(function(d, s, id) {
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1";
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>
I am an HTML coder.
There are many like me.
I can has job?
<div class="fb-like" data-href="http://example.com/" data-send="true" data-width="450" data-show-faces="true"></div>
</body>
</html>

There, now you're ready for today's web.

Re:Basic html and css (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704091)

1. HTML is NOT a programming language. (Interestingly, HTML + CSS can be Turing-complete. But it's not fun to use it that way.)
2. You forgot the DOCTYPE and/or XML header. (Yes, XHTML [1.1 || 5] or GTFO n00b.)
3. The only tag absolutely necessary in HTML is the <title> tag! Head? Body? All optional. Seriously! And you forgot that only non-optional one!!

Here, fixed that for ya:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="de"><head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8"/>
    <title>YOU FAIL</title>
</head><body>
    <h1>YOU FAIL</h1>
    <p>Go die in <a href="real-life://backalley?dirtyness=9001&syringes=101">a corner</a></p>
</body></html>

Re:Basic html and css (3, Informative)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704149)

Proof link [lemire.me] .

Dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703665)

Didn't this PR stunt get posted a couple of months ago?

Moronic (4, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703667)

There are thousands of occupations with no need for programming skills. Ah, how about nursing, for instance. This is just an ad salesman trying to give off the impression of being relevant in this day and age. He's an ad salesman. An idiot.

Re:Moronic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703713)

There are thousands of occupations with no need for programming skills. Ah, how about nursing, for instance. This is just an ad salesman trying to give off the impression of being relevant in this day and age. He's an ad salesman. An idiot.

I agree!

I'm a technical recruiter and I can tell you that we need people who can program in askee! Really! Why the other day, I demanded an askee file from a candidate and he sent me a file with a ".txt" extension!

Really?

Are people that stupid?

I asked again, and he sent me a file with an extension of ".asc"!

Come on!

We just can't find qualified technology people!

Finally, this brilliant kid from Deli sent me a ".askee" file.

Finally!

We hired him to program SeeKwell in C+#.

Re:Moronic (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703895)

I laughed at the "C+#" part.

Re:Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704117)

Would you hire me? I have developed a process by which I can store data in both ASCII and UTF-8 encoding, at the same time, without requiring any additional filespace compared to a simple ASCII-encoded document!

Re:Moronic (1, Funny)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703743)

I can't think of a single job on the planet where I can't come up with a place where coding wouldn't be useful.

You lack imagination and probably aren't going to be worth employing anyway, I'm guessing your comment is a denfensive response to your fear of becoming obsolete.

I'm confident that anyone born after today that can't code is going to be severely unemployable. He'll, even freaking construction works and garbage men could use coding skills to help them with vArious bits of their jobs. It's not all hammering nails and picking up garbage you know ...

Re:Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703771)

> I'm confident that anyone born after today that can't code is going to be severely unemployable

I really hope this is sarcasm at work. Really.

Re:Moronic (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703787)

I can't think of a single job on the planet where I can't come up with a place where coding wouldn't be useful.

I can't think of a single job on the planet where being able to keep track of the "n't"s in your sentences wouldn't be useful. Also, just because there are occasions when being able to code would be useful doesn't mean every single person needs to be able to do it.

You lack imagination and probably aren't going to be worth employing anyway

[citation needed]

I'm guessing your comment is a denfensive response to your fear of becoming obsolete.

You do realise that people can comment on matters that aren't directly relevant to them, right?

Re:Moronic (0)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703791)

Yeah, if I had said coding is never useful in many or most occupations, you'd have a point. I didn't, so you don't. With your reasoning skills, you're certainly an utterly shit coder, imagination or not.

Re:Moronic (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703817)

Please explain how a garbage man needs to know how to code.

Re:Moronic (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703861)

He can develop a genetic program to solve the travelling salesman problem of his pickup route and optimize the amount of time it takes him to complete his run.

Re:Moronic (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703903)

The garbage man does the route he's told. He's not in charge of the route, the fuel expenses, etc. That's his boss' job.

Not a program per employee (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703923)

Each garbage collector need not write a separate program. An employee of the company employing dozens of garbage collectors can write the program, and the team for each truck can load a map into that program.

Re:Not a program per employee (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704023)

Each garbage collector need not write a separate program. An employee of the company employing dozens of garbage collectors can write the program, and the team for each truck can load a map into that program.

You, sir, have obviously never worked on an open source project.

Re:Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703971)

He can develop a genetic program to solve the travelling salesman problem of his pickup route and optimize the amount of time it takes him to complete his run.

Since garbage men have been doing just fine for years without doing that, it's not a need. And even if it's useful, that doesn't mean every garbage man has to do it individually.

Re:Moronic (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704263)

<sarcasm/>

Sorry, I figured the garbage man part made it obvious

Re:Moronic (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703843)

Construction Labourers are about the only ones who wouldn't need it at all.

I wouldn't say unemployable without conding skills, but I can see any sort of upwards momentum being severely limited by a lack of coding skills.

Re:Moronic (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703947)

I can see any sort of upwards momentum being severely limited by a lack of coding skills.

In a tablet-and-smartphone household, how is a high school student supposed to gain access to a user-programmable computer [slashdot.org] in order to learn to program in order to get a job?

Re:Moronic (3, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703985)

Due to the magic of capitalism, most people don't work for themselves (hence the term 'employment' at the root of this discussion), and therefore have a limited set of tasks in their jobs. For instance, a programmer doesn't need cooking skills, despite cooking being of enormous daily importance compared to churning out code. Likewise, most cafeteria personnel does not need to be able to code, as any coding job is done by someone else, preferably someone more skilled at the task. Everyone doing everything is inefficient, as is everyone doing one thing, whether that thing is cooking or coding or laundry or being a doctor or whatever.

Everyone coding in every job is simply not economically sensible. The idea is pure idiocy.

Re:Moronic (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704019)

what your Mum didn't teach you to cook?

Re:Moronic (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704087)

If I were to cook at work, lunch would take an extra 30 minutes.

Re:Moronic (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704085)

Exactly. Not everyone is good at everything and the trend towards job creep leads to people who are mediocre in several areas and proficient in none. Sure, coding is useful in advertising, but it isn't crucial, that's what programmers are for. A good programmer will be much more useful creating useful, secure and bug-free code than someone who is a marketing major who learned Java on weekends.

A company who tries to save money by making people go beyond their specialty will end up being outclassed by a company who hires people for their specialty.

Re:Moronic (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704187)

You're missing the point a bit. You don't need to be a programmer for every job, but having a basic knowledge of coding and maybe being able to churn out a perl script can be extremely useful in almost every job. It's also shit thats really easy to pick up.

The same as Word Processing and Spreadsheet skills are pretty well ubiquitous requirements for any job that can use them, I think some small amount of coding will start seeping in as well.

Re:Moronic (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704015)

But I recently in the UK I saw a local agency to me that had for a job for an experienced groundworker aka a navvy that was next to an advert for a php programer the navvys job paid more than the Php Dev ;-)

Re:Moronic (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703999)

Research agrees with you. Some studies have shown that the majority of jobs could be done more efficiently if people knew a bit of basic scripting. Not much, just a little, to be used to write bits of personal code to make repetitive tasks easier.

When I was in elementary school most people couldn't type well. Now it's pretty much taken for granted that everyone can type. Basic coding skills will be like that in ten years.

Re:Moronic (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703919)

Lets say that you are a nurse. Part of your job is to move (one by one) all patients from the hospital database into dead or cured folders, depending on which flag they have on the database.
a) You don't know anything about programming, so you spend an hour every day doing this task.
b) You know a little about programming and you ask from yourself: I wonder could the computer do this task for me.

I'm a programmer and I see the world in a very different way than everyone else. When ever I see people at work, doing anything. I ask myself, could we automate that job or part of it. I think that automating repeating tasks is a very good idea, because it saves money and reduces errors (when properly implemented). We are currently teaching kids at school all sort of things that they often don't need later in life ever again. Why not spend a few hours for programming also?

There are two ways to solve this:
a) Hire a programmer to monitor people when they do their work and ask the programmer if there is something to be improved.
b) Teach non-programmers to view the world like that.

While the a) would perhaps provide better quality in short term, b) has the advantage of being adaptable and it can also help people at home.

Note also that there are many ways of doing programming. You can do it by learning a language, or you can do it by just drag&drop: http://scratch.mit.edu/

Re:Moronic (5, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704077)

Yeah, and if you programmers were half as smart as you think you are, you'd notice that if all employees were to stop and model every little repeatable task on their computers, you'd have lots of employees stopping and modelling all the time. You'd have dozens of different models and no standard for how things should be done. One employee calls in sick, and there's no one to replace her because everyone does the job slightly differently and the whole place is in total chaos. How about leaving the programming to one person who's really good at it, or a small team, and just have the rest of the workforce report their problems to them.

I swear, if you programmers were a little less infatuated with your skill set, and a bit more attentive to how your products actually work, software wouldn't suck nearly as much.

Re:Moronic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704139)

b) You know a little about programming and you ask from yourself: I wonder could the computer do this task for me.

And then you buy yourself a huge lawsuit because the person doing programming as a hobby has no idea about how to handle HIPAA regulations in coding, how to handle concurrency when talking to the database, or much about security and opens a nice security hole.

Now orders are messed up, people have died because they didn't get medication because their data was screwed up, and the hospital is facing huge lawsuits.

Kind of as dumb of an idea as allowing the programmers to give IV's and perscribe medications to the patients.

There is a reason people specialize in careers these days.

Re:Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704097)

That's crazy talk

Re:Moronic (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704135)

Well, to be fair, if you're a programmer, then you should know how to program and if you're asking programmers to program something for you, then you really ought to have at least some familiarity with the process. Makes it a lot easier to negotiate the features and get work done smoothly.

For pretty much everybody else, don't waste your time and energy unless programming is of genuine interest to you.

This sounds like a terrible idea. (5, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703679)

I've been a programmer for 15 years now, and the absolute worst people to work with are the ones who know just enough about programming that they vastly overestimate their knowledge. I don't want to work with a bunch of people who are on top of Mt. Stupid [imgur.com] , least of all some exec who thinks a tiny bit of coding knowledge will help you make estimates about how long a bit project will take.

Let programmers program. Be serious about it, or don't do it.

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703777)

maybe if you rephrase it something like -

      maybe you should consider picking up a programming language. it will broaden your
      horizons - in the same way that learning a little bit of a french, or the clarinet, or how to
      graft fruit trees would.

if i paint on the weekends, maybe i can better appreciate the work of the masters. that
doesn't mean i'm a good painter.

i agree that it has little or no bearing on how good you are at your real work (unless you're
a machinist, a spammer, a scientist, or some discipline that uses computers intimately)

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (4, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704041)

maybe if you rephrase it something like -

      maybe you should consider picking up a programming language. it will broaden your

      horizons - in the same way that learning a little bit of a french, or the clarinet, or how to

      graft fruit trees would.

if i paint on the weekends, maybe i can better appreciate the work of the masters. that
doesn't mean i'm a good painter.

i agree that it has little or no bearing on how good you are at your real work (unless you're
a machinist, a spammer, a scientist, or some discipline that uses computers intimately)

Let me rephrase it: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

While I think that a basic understanding can be valuable in knowing generally what can and cannot be expected from people in other professions, I can tell horror stories. Like the business analyst who found out that core memory does an erase-read cycle and demanded that the COBOL programmers immediately re-initialize all their variables everytime they read them. Or the tech company executive who insisted that customers buy caching disk controllers long after caching had become something built into the drive, not the controller.

Have some respect. Software development is no more an "All You Have To Do Is..." profession than neurosurgery is. A Boy Scout can bandage your finger or write basic HTML, but do you want him manhandling your liver? Too many people stand at the edge of the pond and think it's the same thing as the ocean.

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703805)

This.

FTS: "Teach yourself just enough of the grammar and the logic of computer languages to be able to see the big picture." Yeahhhh, I'm gonna have to go ahead & disagree with you there, yeahhhhh. I think we can all remember when we first had a taste of a programming languauge or 2, and there is no way one can "see the big picture" after simply dabbling with a language -- it takes a lot of hours of sustained effort & dealing with many failures along the way before gaining an understanding. This asshat is just trying to sound like a tough guy.

As programmers, yes, as co-workers, no. (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703813)

the absolute worst people to work with are the ones who know just enough about programming that they vastly overestimate their knowledge.

That's very true, but the BEST non-coding co-workers are those with similar levels of knowledge who then have a better understanding of what is possible, why some things may be hard and a tolerance for mysterious delay.

Re:As programmers, yes, as co-workers, no. (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703933)

Agreed. And it's not just useful for interaction with coders or other IT folks; most of the better knowledge workers know a bit of coding to make it easier to process and manage information for their own job. Some macros, VBA in Excel, life hacking, ITTT, or even setting up a little Access database (yes) can make ones life a lot easier than if one has to ask someone else for help on these tools. Because in a lot of cases (especially MS Access), if you have to ask for it, you won't get it.

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703837)

... the absolute worst people to work with are the ones who know just enough about programming that they vastly overestimate their knowledge.

Like English majors?

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703979)

I've been a programmer for 15 years now, and the absolute worst people to work with are the ones who know just enough about programming that they vastly overestimate their knowledge.

Dunning-Kruger effect [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704001)

the ones who know just enough about programming that they vastly overestimate their knowledge.

. . . those are the ones who always say something like:

"I have done some programming, so it can't be that difficult to . . ."

. . . insert your intractable problem here . . .

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704031)

the absolute worst people to work with are the ones who know just enough about programming that they vastly overestimate their knowledge

I'd say the worst people to work with are any that think they know enough and overestimate their knowledge--including programmers themselves. It's the attitude that makes the difference. Once you think you know it all and become unteachable or inflexible, you are now useless and an obstacle for someone else that needs to get the job done. If you're not continously learning new things, whether about old tools, current tools, or new tools, you're done.

It's not just important to know when to consult an expert in a field that is not your primary, but it is also important to not think you know everything even about your own field of expertise--for all parties involved and for all fields involved. Anyone in any field can learn something from someone in any other field--cross pollination of ideas, concepts, and even information native to someone's own field is always possible.

Re:This sounds like a terrible idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704245)

That image is from an SMBC comic [smbc-comics.com] . Come on, credit where it's due!

This guy is a fucking idiot (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703707)

That is all, and I say that as someone who knows more than one programming language.

Re:This guy is a fucking idiot (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703877)

Pretty much every programmer I've met knows more than one language.
I have used atleast several dozen, "know" about 5 or 6 and have forgotten a couple as well (and am an expert in none).
Learning a programming language is easy. Knowing how to solve a problem is hard.

Re:This guy is a fucking idiot (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703977)

and have forgotten a couple as well

. . . I have used some languages that I wish I could forget . . .

Fucking English Majors (-1, Troll)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703721)

And that's all there is to say about that.

Re:Fucking English Majors (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703731)

And that's all there is to say about that.

Well, duh. Which of us can't think of an English major we'd like to fuck? But that's not what we're discussing...

Re:Fucking English Majors (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703821)

Yeah, it's almost as though they make up for unemployability with sheer hotness. First girlfriend in college. English major. Hot. Liked to bang like no one's business. No idea what she planned to do with English. Unlikely to matter given that she could just pick some man take care of her.

Probably a rich housewife/socialite now.

Hipster brogrammers have become THE MAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703725)

And THE MAN, wearing boots, is always looking to step on your neck. These new ubermensch rule the roost from shiny new San Francisco offices with their free lunches, aeron chairs and mandatory copies of Atlas Shrugged standing proudly on their otherwise empty bookshelves.

You, not working for Apple or Google, simply don't matter. Get used to it.

Jorgenson is full of shit (0)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703735)

From Jorgenson's unbelievably-full-of-himself rebuttal:

The idea that programming is something anyone can learn if they just sit down with a book and type examples is not just offensive to programmers—it’s a dangerously misleading idea

That's funny. Most of the best programmers I know learned (at first) exactly that way.

My first experience with programming was reading a book on BASIC. This was before the widespread availability of personal computers like the Apple II or TRS-80, so I had to work out all the exercises with pencil and paper. This led to a successful career as a programmer, despite the fact that I think I only took one programming course ever (Fortran in college).

I have a friend (still working as a professional software engineer) who first learned by reading a used book on PDP-11 assembly language.

Maybe everybody doesn't need to know how to program. But even if that is true, Jorgenson is still an asshole.

Re:Jorgenson is full of shit (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703779)

if they just sit down with a book and type examples

Actually, he's right. You can't just sit down with a book and type examples - you also have to extract patterns from the examples and form a mental model that allows you to generalize over those examples.

Re:Jorgenson is full of shit (5, Interesting)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703887)

His point could have been made better.

I'm not cut out to be a doctor. I'm probably smart enough to do the job, but I don't have the mindset for it, nor really the interest. So, I'd probably make a shitty doctor.

While it is easier to become a professional programmer, becoming someone that can legitimately base a career on it, or write something that a company can rely on is not just a matter of picking up a book. Yes, you could sit down with BASIC and your Commodore 64 and make a little balloon made of sprites fly across your screen, and I could probably sit down with an anatomy book or a first aid book and learn some stuff, even very useful stuff, from that too. However, if I was a hospital accountant, I might decide that I'd do more good for the hospital by actually spending my time being a good accountant, instead of trying to splint bones.

If they want me to learn something completely outside my interests and skillset to do a job that has nothing to do with being able to do my job well, I suppose I would consider such a directive to be idiotic. If anything, sometimes you want people who *don't understand* what you do for a living to do the jobs that are supporting you because they will not gloss over things that you take for granted.

Re:Jorgenson is full of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703957)

That's funny. Most of the best programmers I know learned (at first) exactly that way. ...

Maybe everybody doesn't need to know how to program. But even if that is true, Jorgenson is still an asshole.

I learned to program on my own as well (though by reading theory rather than typing out examples), however it'd be a tremendous waste of time for most of my friends to try to do that. There are two main problems with it: that's not how they learn best, and legitimately decent programming involves mental abilities that my friends don't excel in. I know for certain in some cases, because a few friends have tried and failed either on their own or via CS classes. Similarly, it'd be a tremendous waste of time for me to try to master anything requiring memorization of vast amounts of data (I can memorize concepts pretty well) -- e.g., I could never be a medical doctor. Some people can sit down with a big book of diseases and soak it all up, but I'm not capable of it.

That quote of Jorgenson makes him sound like a perfectly reasonable person. Just because something worked for you, doesn't mean that it'll work for everyone.

Re:Jorgenson is full of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703967)

The point wasn't that programmers don't learn just by sitting down with a book and trying out examples, his point was that not EVERYONE can do that. Many people do not have the mindset and problem-solving approach necessary to become programmers. Giving them a little taste of programming will result in them still not being programmers because the relevant skills for skillful programmers are not knowledge of programming languages but a particular style of problem solving and analytic thought.

Re:Jorgenson is full of shit (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704025)

Programmers. After a couple decades being social outcasts, they're new elitists. And the pigs were walking around on two feet.

Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703739)

The feeling is mutual (whether he's able to code or not)...

Actual coding, no. Knowing the basics, yes. (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703747)

Everyone should know at least the basics of what is part of our daily lives.

Everyone should know how to read and write, even if they're not professional authors (and, like me, are pretty bad at it in general)

Everyone should know basic math, even if they never use it, at least to be able to calculate tip at the restaurant and be able to read their tax report.

Everyone should know enough biology to be able to make a basic informed decision when discussing a problem with their doctor or dentist.

Everyone should know at least basic economics and finance, so that they can at least understand the graphs on their 401k.

And.....everyone should know at least the very very very elementary basics of programming, as it is now part of our everyday lives. No need to know python and APIs or how to compile a linux kernel. Know just enough to understand what a conditional and a loop statement is, why software can crash, and why a single programmer cannot write an entire ERP suite in 2 weeks by themselves.

Re:Actual coding, no. Knowing the basics, yes. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703925)

The basics of computer programming is mathematics (formal logic and algorithms in particular).
This should be taught at schools already.

Re:Actual coding, no. Knowing the basics, yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703993)

The basics of computer programming is mathematics (formal logic and algorithms in particular).
This should be taught at schools already.

Should be.

Re:Actual coding, no. Knowing the basics, yes. (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704047)

No it's not. Formal logic and algorithms are are things that the majority of programmers have probably heard of, but don't really know and don't use very often. That's like saying the basics of general contracting and construction is physics and chemistry.

Re:Actual coding, no. Knowing the basics, yes. (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703949)

Know just enough to understand what a conditional and a loop statement is, why software can crash, and why a single programmer cannot write an entire ERP suite in 2 weeks by themselves.

What you say may be helpful, but I've never had any hand in building a building before, and I can tell you that I understand very well why it may not be a good idea to rush the job.

As for the opposite, I don't think I'd want a slightly trained person to tell me that I should be able to do it *faster* than I am. Bullshit detection is one thing, but that's why you hire *technical management*, who are presumably people who used to do something at least tangentially related to programming.

I get what this guy is saying, and I agree with him if he is suggesting, and making available the ability, for interested people to learn about coding. However, the idea that you have to do something completely unrelated to your career in order to do you job is garbage.

Kirk = Dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703759)

What an arrogant ass. "I run a cool company...", yeah, I have heard that before, from a ball-busting micro-manager who worked people into the ground, and could never bring himself to use the phrase, "good job". He had taken a couple of classes at a community college on programming, and thought he was an expert. Disaster. No time allotted to plan projects, no time allotted to test, but we were a cool company. Incompetent, but cool. I bet he still wonders why the turnover rate is so high.

Re:Kirk = Dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704063)

He's still in business, so he must be doing something right. $deity knows what.

Look at what they're hiring. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703763)

This guy is head of PubMatic, which is one of those companies on the fringes of on-line advertising. Here are their job listings [pubmatic.com] . The programming jobs are in Puma, India. The US jobs are for things like "Mobile Account Executive" [jobscore.com] (i.e. ad sales rep.) Requires "proven track record of meeting or exceeding sales targets." No mention of any tech skills.

The PubMatic site is so full of business buzzwords that it's difficult to tell what they actually do. "From brand awareness initiatives looking to reach broad demographic segments through to lower funnel campaigns focused on reaching those expressing purchase intent, PubMatic has a targeting solution to fit advertisers' needs." What they seem to do is match up low-end advertisers with unsold ad space on web sites.

If this company dropped off the face of the earth (or AdBlock became popular enough to delete all their ads) nothing of value would be lost.

A programming language versus a framework (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703775)

I'd consider myself an experienced web developer (PHP, CSS, HTML. JS, DOM API). I wanted to learn more languages, but I found it very inaccessible to learn different "languages" since it seems these are merged nowadays in frameworks with deep learning curves. It tried Visual studio 2010, Titanium frameworks and some others. Either giving me dependencies-error during installation or a complexity level that feels disastrous to cope with as a newbie.

I just feel that it seems most programmers/developers and their tools want to protect their creed of "language" with a steep learning curve to protect their profession & expertise, and make it as inaccessible for newbies as possible. VB6 compared to the latter Visual VB is an example of simplicity morphed into "enterprise level" development.

Why don't people start to differentiate in the actual "language" and the bloated "framework".

   

THIS is the reason to block all ads from the inter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703857)

THIS is the reason to block all ads from the internet.

The worst programmers in the world work for ad networks writing crap javascript code to run inside every computer browser in the world. Nothing could go wrong with that, right?

Let me guess (4, Interesting)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703875)

He's probably the type that thinks for example that for example C# is totally different than any other object oriented language. Most likely he would be honestly surprised to find out somebody that understood general OO concepts and was in an expert in another one like C++ could pick up a second OO in a matter of days or less. (Sorry, I get that a lot. I think it took me 1-2 days to get up to speed from C# from C++. Not sure how long it'd take me to pick up java but I'd expect a week at most.)

Re:Let me guess (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704013)

Ah, so you're still at the "I know everything" stage of programmer development.

Re:Let me guess (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704157)

Please don't work on anything critical. Ever.

Re:Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43704169)

From C# to C++ in two days?! Wow! You must be a genius who dreams in code, and talks to other people in his head...

I'm not a professional truck driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703911)

so why would I need to know how to drive?j

The guy's examples don't make sense, but his premise is sound.

Who cares what this douche thinks ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43703913)

It's a big world, and he doesn't define success OR
failure.

He's Right (2, Insightful)

echusarcana (832151) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703939)

The guy is completely correct.

The situation: You've got a thousand applicants. You've got one or two job openings.

If you don't have the slightest idea what makes the internet and the information age run, you probably don't deserve the job. But the converse is also true: programmers should learn something of art, literature, and history. Too many software people don't even know anything about science. A person that can't think broadly in a well-rounded way is useless.

Right conclusion, wrong arguments (5, Insightful)

melonman (608440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703943)

I think that everyone should learn to code. Not because it will make them a programmer. Not because it will enable them to estimate how long something will take, not least because experienced programmers are legendarily bad at doing that anyway. Everyone should learn to program because programming makes the modern world go round, and it's good for everyone to have at least an inkling of what that involves.

We teach a lot of kids chemistry, without any expectation that they will invent a new compound that will change the world. We teach a lot of kids physics, without any expectation that they'll make a significant contribution to subatomic particle research. We teach most kids to do creative writing and poetry, without expecting the vast majority of them to produce fiction or poetry of publishable quality. I don't see why we wouldn't teach programming alongside all those other topics that most students never master and never "need".

One argument for teaching a lot of academic subjects widely is that the skills you learn along the way have wider application than the topic itself. And it seems to me that this argument holds at least as well for programming as for, say, pure math. As programmers keep saying, programming is about analysis, structure, models... is there really no application whatsoever for those skills outside of hardcore programming? Does no-one ever wish that their managers had a better grasp of "system"? Yes, of course, you can acquire these skills in other places. But the thing about programming, pretty much from the outset, is that your pious beliefs about system will stop your code from performing correctly unless those beliefs are reasonably accurate. I sometimes tell people that I do executable philisophy - it's all about logic, but, unlike the philosopher, my logic has to work.

No, a bit of Python won't enable people to produce estimates for projects. But it may enable managers to understand why writing code once to do something that needs doing often is often a good plan (and, also, why it sometimes isn't). It may enable managers to understand why "Can we just change this one assumption" at the end of a project may involve restarting the entire project.

Yes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But the little knowledge is out there already on the TV station of your choice. I don't even like Python that much, but I'd still much rather deal with erroneous assumptions based on a bit of Python experience than deal with erroneous assumptions based on watching Mission Impossible and NCIS.

Careful. Monefield ahead (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43703973)

With everything ever written both protected by copyright and patents, what is this guy proposing? I think it's clear that only companies with big legal budgets can be allowed to have coders on staff. Everyone else is a risk.

Re:Careful. Monefield ahead (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704115)

Indeed. One does not simply walk into a field of mones. Be careful!

Sounds good to me (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704075)

Ad Exec: Learn to code or you're dead to me

It might be worth it to forget what languages I know, if it meant the online ad companies would start considering me to be dead.

please no (2)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704095)

If you've ever worked in IT, you know that the clueless secretary isn't your worst enemy. At least she knows the knows nothing.
Your worst enemy is the "power-user". The guy who knows just enough to fuck everything up. This is the same thing. Breeding people who know a little bit about 2 programming languages is breeding a catastrophic collection of idiots who don't know that they know nothing.

Teaching someone the basic principles of programming, that's cool. Let them know a little about how algorithms work and stuff, a little bit of basic understanding of what, exactly, programming is. But please don't teach someone a little bit about a programming language or two.

COBOL (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704127)

Remember COBOL? Remember what it was intended for?

Those who forget history are doomed to... um... something, right?

"Most employers?" "More than enough?" WTF! (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year and a half ago | (#43704161)

What's this guys smokin'? Crack?
Sorry charlie, if you want to work at any companies *I* ever worked for (current included), you had to have a proper technical degree. Period.
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