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Telegraph Contributor Says Coding Is For Exceptionally Dull Weirdos

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the more-like-exceptionally-exciting-weirdos dept.

Education 453

mikejuk writes "The UK Government is trying to figure out how to teach children to code by changing what is taught in schools. The Telegraph, a leading UK newspaper, has put the other side of the case: Coding is for 'exceptionally dull weirdo(s).' The recent blog post by Willard Foxton is an amazing insight into the world of the non-programming mind. He goes on to say: 'Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair.' So coding is a mechanical skill — I guess he must be thinking of copy typing. 'As a subject, it only appeals to a limited set of people — the aforementioned dull weirdos. There's a reason most startup co-founders are "the charming ideas guy" paired with "the tech genius". It's because if you leave the tech genius on his own he'll start muttering to himself.' Why is it I feel a bout of muttering coming on? 'If a school subject is to be taught to everyone, it needs to have a vital application in everyday life — and that's just not true of coding.' Of course it all depends on what you mean by 'vital application.' The article is reactionary and designed to get people annoyed and posting comments — just over 600 at the moment — but what is worrying is that the viewpoint will ring true with anyone dumb enough not to be able to see the bigger picture. The same attitude extends to all STEM subjects. The next step in the argument is — why teach physics, chemistry, biology, and math (as distinct from arithmetic) to anyone but exceptionally dumb weirdos."

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brace yourself (2, Informative)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about 10 months ago | (#45265091)

brace yourself for 1000+ angry comments

Re:brace yourself (4, Insightful)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45265123)

brace yourself for 1000+ angry comments

No doubt.

Thing is, everybody does not need to be taught coding, but they really should be at least shown how to use a computer. In the same manner that everybody does not need a mandatory engine building class, though driver's education would be nice along with the basics on how to maintain an automobile. Even that is not mandatory in these parts.

Programmers are better cyborgs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265215)

He wears glasses, and clothes. In effect he's wearing machines that form part of his body. He probably has cavity fillings in his teeth to help him eat. He's a cyborg, maybe a not very powerful one, part machine part person. We all are these days, Dick Cheney and his borg heart for example.

Programming just takes that one step forward. I don't watch my stocks, a program I wrote does. I don't do a bunch of chores on a website, a script I wrote does that for me. I don't backup my stuff, I have a script that takes weekly and quarterly backups.

Why would I apply my brain to a repetitive task, when I can can assign a computer to the task?

It's just the next step in this. He just resents being left behind.

Re:brace yourself (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 10 months ago | (#45265307)

But a thousand useless comments...
You can not stop the ignorant from promoting ignorance.

Re:brace yourself (5, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | about 10 months ago | (#45265417)

This would be the perfect example where articles could by moderated as "Troll"

Re:brace yourself (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 10 months ago | (#45265427)

Not really angry. More disappointed.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we don't get any kind of respect in management. Because that's what they see in us: The computerized equivalent of plumbers and bricklayers. The fact that they couldn't wrap their feeble minds around a tenth of what we have to understand intimately doesn't matter. What matters is that we're notoriously bad at marketing. Self-marketing, too.

I guess I'm not the only one who is amazed again and again how simple, trivial concepts can be impossible to grasp for allegedly intelligent people. And of course I consider what I can do fairly trivial because, well, let's be honest, it is. Still, there is an amazingly small subset of the human species that can even begin to understand what I'm actually doing. My move to management was quite an eye opener, and it showed me just HOW much people at the C-Level don't really understand about their company.

But they're good at self marketing. They're great at selling their ability that parallels the feat of being able to eat your lunch without spilling half of it on your tie as the biggest achievement in human history. Because, well, in a nutshell, "management skills" are trivial, at best. I was at first very intimidated by the idea that I should now "manage". Turns out it's not that much different from what you have to do anyway while you actually should be programming, just leave out doing some sensible work and you got it.

And that's simply what it boils down to: Techs are really bad at self marketing. We still mostly rely on getting the job done and getting it done well and hoping that people will notice. Bullshit, people don't care. People only listen to the loudmouth who keeps tooting his own horn.

Re:brace yourself (1, Insightful)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | about 10 months ago | (#45265483)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we don't get any kind of respect in management. Because that's what they see in us: The computerized equivalent of plumbers and bricklayers. The fact that they couldn't wrap their feeble minds around a tenth of what we have to understand intimately doesn't matter.

And conversely, they have no clue what obstacles we face or why we claim our jobs are difficult. "So, yeah, can you also have it map each email address to the sender's DNA and use the link to record their conversations at home and send them to me sorted by topic? I'll need that by Thursday, or if you can get to it earlier that would be even better. I realize this was just intended to generate order confirmation emails, but it could be so much more if you'd only be willing to put some thought into it!"

Re:brace yourself (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 10 months ago | (#45265521)

Having a baseline understanding of four function math (for finance), physics (mechanical advantage, kitchen/garage safety, home maintenance), biology (disease prevention, first aid), and even gym class (health fitness), is a requisite for living life even if the student never touches an equation again after high school.

Don't feed the trolls (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265095)

C'mon slashdot, aren't you better than this?

Willard Foxton (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265101)

Willard Foxton either needs to get online more or offline more. Either way, he has an exceptionally dull mind.

The same for you (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265103)

I imagine writing news editorials all day is only for exceptionally dull weirdo's as well. At least when my work is done there is something useful to come out of it.

Re:The same for you (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265357)

Why does "weirdos" take an apostrophe for the plural, but not "editorials"? Or heaven forbid "news"?

Economy in Shitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265501)

This is just one more reason these dumpfkofen have an economy worse than the US.

They are also growing a Tea Party UKIP

It would be good if kids knew something useful, PPE from Oxford dosn't count!

Re:Economy in Shitter (1)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 10 months ago | (#45265527)

This is just one more reason these dumpfkofen have an economy worse than the US.

Dummkopfen, sie dummkopf!

(Yes, I'm quite sure I used the wrong second-person pronoun. Y'know, Germany, English used to have more than one of those, too, but we got rid of the extras 'cause they're STUPID! Get with the program, already.)

Hit the fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265113)

Something will back splatter...
A LOT

Hey! (3, Funny)

JThaddeus (531998) | about 10 months ago | (#45265119)

I resemble that!

Re:Hey! (3, Funny)

QuasiEvil (74356) | about 10 months ago | (#45265331)

Woohoo! I've always wanted somebody to notice my exceptional dullness and weirdness, and finally someone has. Now I'm somebody again!

Dull Weirdo Here (4, Insightful)

watice (1347709) | about 10 months ago | (#45265121)

I would venture to say newspapers like the Telegraph are for exceptionally dull weirdos. Everyone else uses twitter & the web.

Re:Dull Weirdo Here (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45265173)

I would venture to say newspapers like the Telegraph are for exceptionally dull weirdos. Everyone else uses twitter & the web.

But they are on the web. That is why they posted such a silly story.

Re:Dull Weirdo Here (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265191)

I would venture to say newspapers like the Telegraph are for exceptionally dull weirdos. Everyone else uses twitter & the web.

A dull weirdo is someone who sees science, math and computing and isn't in awe of it, hungry to know more. I pity anyone who lives their life without any curiosity about the world around them. It makes the world a very small place when all you care about is writing crap articles in a blog and how many scheckles you've accumulated.

Re:Dull Weirdo Here (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 10 months ago | (#45265441)

Well, you can be curious about learning, about information, about knowledge...

Or you can read the Telegraph, of course.

I know how to... (4, Insightful)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 10 months ago | (#45265125)

Change gthe oil in my car, add radiator fluid, fix a tire. I also know how to unclog a drain.

So if coding is so routine, then everyone should know how to do.

PS: A lot of effort has been made to allow the masses to code. COBOL, VB/VBA come to mind. If it is so mechanical why the effort?

Re:I know how to... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#45265291)

So if coding is so routine, then everyone should know how to do.

I love how this asshole is saying code has no practical value, and yet the only reason said asshole has a job is because someone coded the OS, web server, browser, the routers and switches, and the website itself that he's posting from to claim this.

The thing about society is that every job is important. We need janitors as much as we need CEOs. We need specialist labor as much as general. I mean, we entered a new age in human history -- the Information Age, because most of us are now specialists of one kind or another. This dinosaur is still living in the Industrial Age where you only needed a few schmoot people, and the rest you could (sometimes literally) just feed into the machines.

Re:I know how to... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 10 months ago | (#45265335)

Also if coding is unimportant the stock market really got it all very wrong.

http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AAPL [yahoo.com]
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=MSFT [yahoo.com]
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=GOOG [yahoo.com] ..
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=ORCL [yahoo.com] ..
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=NTDOY [yahoo.com]
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=EA [yahoo.com]

Maybe he think so but the coding isn't all that irrelevant to those companies

Re:I know how to... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265435)

Shouldn't you be injecting yourself with hormones and chopping off your penis?

Re:I know how to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265503)

So if coding is so routine, then everyone should know how to do.

I love how this asshole is saying code has no practical value, and yet the only reason said asshole has a job is because someone coded the OS, web server, browser, the routers and switches, and the website itself that he's posting from to claim this.

It's ironic he thinks all these coders are "dull" when they have done so much more with their lives than he can imagine.

Actually, his job is at risk. (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 10 months ago | (#45265535)

... the only reason said asshole has a job is because someone coded the [infrastructure] that he's posting from to claim this.

Actually, the Telegraph is an old line newspaper.

Granted it's one of the few that has established a strong Web presence. But, like other old-line papers, it's having serious business model problems, as the readership abandons mainstream "news is really infotainment-like art product" operations for actual reporting of information on the Internet.

So those coders have created the juggernaut that is crashing his opportunities for employment.

I read his posting as sour grapes, taking a swipe at the people he sees as a threat.

Re:I know how to... (1)

iamgnat (1015755) | about 10 months ago | (#45265443)

Change gthe oil in my car, add radiator fluid, fix a tire. I also know how to unclog a drain.

There was a day when those things were difficult and specialized but the tools have been made easier to use and more common over time. The same will happen with programming (and has been happening since the first program was written).

So if coding is so routine, then everyone should know how to do.

PS: A lot of effort has been made to allow the masses to code. COBOL, VB/VBA come to mind. If it is so mechanical why the effort?

There is a difference between framing a wall in an otherwise finished house and framing the house itself. There is a difference between changing your oil and rebuilding your engine. Just because some tasks in a job really are (or should be) simple enough that anyone with a clue and the inclination can do it doesn't mean that there isn't still room for the specialists and more experienced non-specialists to do the heavy lifting.

That doesn't mean that everyone can or should code, but that doesn't mean people should fear writing a little bit of it when they find a need just like they shouldn't fear patching a hole in their drywall.

The only reason the equivalent of changing your oil isn't routine in coding is that people believe it's some mystical thing that they can't do. When it's really simple for them to "paint the walls" without having to "build the whole house" they'll do it (even if the rest of us professionals have an aneurysm over the drips and splatters). They just need the simple tools and understanding which starts with education.

Troll feeding time, I guess. (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 10 months ago | (#45265129)

The article is reactionary and designed to get people annoyed and posting comments

So it's flamebait and clickbait? So why post it here? There are plenty of dolts like him and we don't have to respond to them all. Don't feed the troll.

--
BMO

Re:Troll feeding time, I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265165)

The article is reactionary and designed to get people annoyed and posting comments

So it's flamebait and clickbait? So why post it here? There are plenty of dolts like him and we don't have to respond to them all. Don't feed the troll.

--
BMO

You said it, it's click bait. What do you think slashdot thrives on these days?

Re:Troll feeding time, I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265209)

It was probably written by a programmer for laughs.

Re:Troll feeding time, I guess. (4, Funny)

drhank1980 (1225872) | about 10 months ago | (#45265401)

But this is Slashdot, NOBODY is going to actually RTFA.

And OP-ED journalism (3, Insightful)

noobermin (1950642) | about 10 months ago | (#45265131)

...should be left to self-absorbed narcissists?

In any case, RTFA, I think I'd need to see the policy he is critizing to judge it, but it does sound a bit ambitious especially for the age group he claims it's for.

Nonetheless, he's a ignorant ingrate.

Certainly not the only one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265297)

Do recall that the selling point of offshoring programming was that it was a low skill job (and therefore dull, and so on), best left to cheap dullards in low wage countries. Apparently this was entirely the right decision and no programming happens whatsoever in the "first" world, at all, any longer.

Re:Certainly not the only one (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 10 months ago | (#45265449)

Considering the quality of certain newspapers, I can only assume that they did the same to journalism...

Re:And OP-ED journalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265493)

it's just lip service for the illiterate subscribers to whom the telegraph is being read to, you know, those who grow up to be the ideas guys.

it's not the ideas guy who is vital for the startup to be honest. everyone has ideas. it's not the ideas part of him which is vital but the ability to generate money with the idea even prior to the idea being executed - financing. some even do it without having the coder...

and maybe the field is in such a slump in UK that coders actually do come to fix his computer parts for him, which would make his plumber analogy apt. they say there's always good money in plumbing though and the same paper is reporting about eastern european laborers taking uk jobs, so maybe, maybe, they should teach it if they don't want to lose their jobs.

Write rubbish, get advertising revenue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265133)

It the torygraph - why would anybody care ? All they want is the advertising revenue from people clicking on this absurd column.

Fuck You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265137)

I resemble that remark!

Got that right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265159)

There is no bigger dullard than I. If I had it all over to do, I would pick another line, like maybe "international playboy", or "slashdot editor" (I can dream). Then who'd be laughing.

Applies to any field (4, Insightful)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 10 months ago | (#45265163)

The criticism applies to any field. In order to get good at something, most people need to work on it to acquire skills and knowledge.History? Dull and weirdos. Philosophy? Dull and weirdos. Sport? Dull and weirdos. And so on.

Re: Applies to any field (1)

JWW (79176) | about 10 months ago | (#45265433)

Except perhaps for writing editorials. That appears to require no discern able skills at all...

Re: Applies to any field (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 10 months ago | (#45265479)

I am sure one can write editorials without talking about stuff one knows nothing about...

Excellent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265167)

Yes, steer more people away from my profession. Job security, ba-by!

I agree with: (1)

the_skywise (189793) | about 10 months ago | (#45265169)

"if the subject is to be taught to everyone, it needs to have a vital application in everyday life"

Coding isn't for everybody and I think this great race to turn every kid into a programmer because that will magickly make 'em smart is overblown.

Somehow "we" had no idea how to use computers because none of us were programmers first and instead had such things as segas and nintendos and had no idea how to use them... or learn the complexity of computer operating so much to be able to use a joystick with 8 button analog controls, two thumbsticks and an anacrhonistic D-pad...

None of that prepared us for touchscreen usage...

NONE!

To think if only I had been taught programming first.. I could USE all of that stuff!!!

Re:I agree with: (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 10 months ago | (#45265333)

In all honesty, I wish they made it possible to control a computer UI with a game control pad. Then again, I'm one of the dull weirdos who used to love the Trackpoint back in the day (where they exist now, they're just "pointing sticks" and no one knows how to use them). While I'm speaking of game controllers being used to manipulate a GUI... GEOS 1.2, anyone?

I do agree with one point (3, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#45265177)

sinking millions into teaching every kid to code is a waste. Better to focus on math, which is the hard part of programming. Stringing together for loops isn't rocket science. That said, it does require a certain amount of skill, and I'm sure companies are tired of paying for that skill. This new push to get everyone coding is really just a bunch of rich $@$#s trying to get cheaper programmers on the public dime :(.

Re:I do agree with one point (4, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | about 10 months ago | (#45265239)

"Better to focus on math, which is the hard part of programming."

There you have an argument. I'm not saying a good one, but an argument: let's use programming as a way to reach to math.

On the other hand, coding is a way of expression. Arguably, coding makes you more expressive, in ways neither natural language nor maths can allow being kindof a middle ground between them.

Re:I do agree with one point (5, Insightful)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 10 months ago | (#45265453)

"Better to focus on math, which is the hard part of programming."

How about focusing on logic? That's the real key to programming. Well, that and reading instruction manuals.

Great flame bait (4, Insightful)

Bottle Washer (1031590) | about 10 months ago | (#45265179)

There are a lot of names people can use to describe programmers ( I am one ) but exceptionally dull weirdos made me smile because of its obvious trolling. It is amazing how many people will get angry at him when really it is more comical than anything.

My Hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265187)

"Especially when our lazy, feckless teaching unions have to fit in time to go on strike."

The British have an eloquence that we Americans can only dream about.

Oh crap... (1)

CyberSnyder (8122) | about 10 months ago | (#45265189)

I was just thinking about 15 minutes ago that I had a very enjoyable day doing some real coding.

You need to consider the author. (4, Informative)

Dzimas (547818) | about 10 months ago | (#45265195)

Listen, the guy who wrote this blog piece for the Telegraph didn't grow up to become a doctor,engineer, astronaut, scientist or programmer. He writes op-ed pieces for a newspaper. According to LinkedIn, he holds an LLB in law, then pursued an MSc in Business Entrepreneurship and followed up with a brief tenure as a music festival coordinator, PR agency account exec and finally became a freelance TV presenter and magazine editor. It might just be that he considers technically gifted individuals to be "exceptionally dull weirdos" simply because he doesn't understand what they're saying.

Yes, why indeed, teach STEM to children? (0)

Narcocide (102829) | about 10 months ago | (#45265201)

Come to think of it, NOTHING I learned in gradeshool had a tiny bit of useful real-world applications. Why not just swap the K-12 education for the Boy Scouts of America so that all our little boys and girls can kill, clean, and cook a deer alone by grade 3? That would be some practical real-world knowledge for the post-STEM-in-gradeschools reality.

Stock up on Lead people. Its about to become more valuable than gold...

Re:Yes, why indeed, teach STEM to children? (2)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 10 months ago | (#45265293)

How did you type your post? Did you have to dictate what you wanted to say to somebody who can type the words out? Since nothing you ever learnt in "gradeschool" ( im presuming primary school here ) was ever useful in your (miserable by the sounds of it) life, how on Earth did you get along in life without ever having to read and write? ( you know, that thing you had to do in 'gradeschool' using a "pencil" and "paper" when learning how to write and read ) Seriously, your entire argument fell flat at that point, I didnt bother reading it any further after that debacle.

Re:Yes, why indeed, teach STEM to children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265423)

Don't know about the other poster, but the language I had in grade school I almost never use now, since as an adult I use English 99% of the time now having moved out of my home country at a young age. You could say they taught maybe colors and math, although the math I taught myself a lot with a help from parents, because the school was too busy with excessive busy work and marking me down for not carrying a one by writing a one in the right place. High school was a bit different once I was in the US, and had some choice and flexibility with what classes and teachers to spend time with.

I just know it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265203)

Why do I have a feeling this guy wrote that article in a Mac?

Welcome to the '80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265205)

It may be hard for young people to believe, but this is how the majority of adults actually felt about computers and programming before Netscape and the WWW hit the scene. So I wouldn't say the author is a moron, but he is behind the times. And even that isn't really an insult, because I no longer associate the passage of time with human progress.

Rich (3, Funny)

Horshu (2754893) | about 10 months ago | (#45265233)

Coming from a professional panty-sniffer.

Where would we be ... (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 10 months ago | (#45265243)

Where would we be without idiots like this to make us feel smart? The same place but feeling less smart.

now we know why (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265253)

Now we know why Britain is a fading world power.......

are we in the dark ages? (1)

mov_eax_eax (906912) | about 10 months ago | (#45265257)

a lot of people can benefit from a little coding background, I met a girl, not dull at all, that program textile patterns, a lot of financial people could program a few lines and save a lot of excel madness, many scientists that can prove or disprove hypotheses, biologists banging his heads to process the sheer raw data, contemporary musicians and artists that should know how to program to make their performances.

Sure kids will hate programming the same way most of the kids hate their math lessons, or their sexual education, or the arts program. But teach to everyone programming even with bad teachers, bad curriculum will bring a new breed of innovations and make the life happier to all of us.

Re:are we in the dark ages? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 10 months ago | (#45265473)

I, for one, enjoyed my sex educat... oh, you mean at school.

Never mind, then.

Can't do without excellent coders (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 10 months ago | (#45265259)

Interestingly he mentions:

There's a reason most startup co-founders are "the charming ideas guy" paired with "the tech genius".

Of course, there is a reason for that. And it's not that programmers are dull weirdo's. That one statement totally undermines anything negative he has to say about coders. The guy with charming ideas is nothing without a genius coder to implement them. And the coder indeed needs the ideas guy to suggest what he's going to code, and how it's going to look like. One can't do without the other, and so it goes in so many fields of work.

Of course there is no need to make just everyone a skilled coder. I'd like to see schools teach at least the basics of coding, so kids know the existence of the field and what it's used for, but no need for more than that, unless the kid wants it.

And for being "dull weirdo's"? Well one thing what makes a good coder is the ability to concentrate deeply and focus on single subjects for a prolonged period of time. And that's exactly the quality that makes those people "dull" (thinking of just a single subject) and "weirdo" (being able to close one off from the outside world) in the eyes of people that do not have that specific quality.

stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265265)

this one should be written by some1 never code and never study science.......XDDD

I might possibly agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265269)

Coding well is not something that the masses will do. Regardless of the language being used, coding well is something innate. But that goes for most academic pursuits, particularly STEM topics. We need lots of electricians, plumbers, service workers, etc. We need fewer STEM specialists (not very few, but fewer). Over the past few decades, at least in North America, we've had a wide range of people pushing college and university education, to the point that many college and university programs have been dumbed down to increase the number of students.

Find the people with exceptional brains and help them develop those brains. Direct the rest to more useful vocational training (so they can work writing dreck for the Telegraph).

Teaching programming to kids.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265271)

Teaching programming to kids would allow those kids to think logically. The logical thinking is that the telegraph contributor lacks. Definitely a valid reason to teach kids programming!

Relax, it's the Daily Telegraph (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265275)

A British right wing troll-ish paper for people who get apopleptic if someone didn't stand in the street waving a union jack flag on the queen's birthday......

But as they have felt the need to label us techies who are building the modern world as "exceptionally dull weirdos", let me introduce you to the paper's owners, a pair of reclusive twins who own a private island outside British tax jurisdiction, and you can make up your own minds : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_and_Frederick_Barclay#Controversies

They should learn it (2)

Samuel Dravis (964810) | about 10 months ago | (#45265287)

At least in my job -- call center management -- people need to learn how to use spreadsheets effectively, as well as simple coding techniques (for scripting). It is endlessly useful to me that I can do those things. I've personally automated a lot of our current systems and saved endless man-hours.

Some can but some can't??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265301)

This is must be a mega trolling article.

Understanding (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#45265303)

I find many people who have an "artistic" background simply don't understand us technical types. This lack of understanding seems to frustrate them. I think that technically minded people don't mind not knowing the details of other technical areas, as they know that they could learn them if they cared to. But for artistic types they see technical stuff as a dark art. This leads to a huge source of frustration when they have to step into our area such as working a ticket kiosk, their laptops, their home router, the dashboard in their cars, or write articles about things like thorium reactors.

After a while they start to think that the various bad interface designs are a conspiracy against them; this is only compounded when a technical type reaches over and helps them with a flick of a single switch, and when asked why couldn't it have been designed better it becomes obvious that the technical person is hunting for a way to not say, "They assumed that you had at least a double digit IQ." and then it becomes hatred.

Another source of frustration is the implied knowledge that the world could get by with far far fewer artists but not with far fewer engineers. It might be a less colourful world but the engines of civilization need engineers.

Re:Understanding (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 10 months ago | (#45265377)

But for artistic types they see technical stuff as a dark art.

If it was an art, wouldn't they have some grasp of it? If you know about computing and electrical engineering, you can explain how things work down to the electron level. Someone else performing the same actions on a computer can produce identical results.

Art, on the other hand, never produces the same results from different people, and you can't step someone through things in the same way you do things, and yet artists have individual styles that carry through their pieces. Why isnt that considered a dark art?

Re:Understanding (2)

kidchameleon (3391437) | about 10 months ago | (#45265477)

This is a rather uninformed post regarding the field of computer programming. I don't mean to disrespect you, but I implore you to a) do a little more research and b) open your mind. As an "artistic" type myself, I have found that it has only helped me in the field of software development. After all, a system is an abstraction of a process, or series of processes, that represent a real world problem to be solved. The nature of that abstraction is manifested in its objects and their implementations and properties. These things aren't tangible; not in the sense of concrete or steel anyway. Yet they are every bit the result of a creative approach. I've been developing since 1986, yet I received a degree in architecture; a hightly "artistic" endeavor to say the least. Throughout the years, I have found more similarities than differences in these two fields. Surely one can make a concrete box with a roof on it (like Wal Mart). Similarly, one can make a program that "works" (like a program that updates databases). But the real beauty of software should lie not only in its function, but its form. Does it inspire the users who interact with it? Has it solved a problem elegantly? I agree with the importance of technical aspects present in programming. However, to assume that engineering is only a technical endeavor or that artists only provide a "colorful world" is to miss a major facet of our field.

All trolling aside, it's the right idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265313)

Don't teach coding to everybody. That's too specific a course for everybody. How about a mandatory course in basic computer usage and online safety/security? That would make more sense.

Flamebait perhaps, but largely true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265323)

FTFA:

"Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair."
Correct.

As a subject, it only appeals to a limited set of people – the aforementioned dull weirdos.
Correct. Same goes for Accounting, Plumbing, Car repair, etc etc

There’s a reason most startup co-founders are “the charming ideas guy” paired with “the tech genius”. It’s because if you leave the tech genius on his own he’ll start muttering to himself.
Correct.

Trying to pretend that coding is the right skill for everyone is utter nonsense – for most people, it’s exponentially less useful than the basic level of IT literacy most people still lack...
Correct.

However, the new curriculum that Jack likes so much wrongly thinks that teaching everyone to code is the answer
Correct.

If a school subject is to be taught to everyone, it needs to have a vital application in everyday life...
Correct, and...
and that’s just not true of coding.
Correct.

  it doesn't begin to compare with basic maths, spelling or reading
Correct.

Most of the Slashdot readership is more "computer literate" than most, but that does not mean the whole world should be. I just plain is not necessary. The only part of programming that could be useful to most young minds is the concepts behind breaking down a problem into manageble parts and solving those one at a time. That's a "philosophy" and it requires no coding.

So while the author of the article may have intended to start a bit of a flamewar, at least he had some solid ground to stand on.

At the end: *dumb* weirdos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265325)

"Dull" is used here to describe boring, not stupid people.

Re:At the end: *dumb* weirdos? (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45265371)

"Dull" is used here to describe boring, not stupid people.

Yeah, Creationists are real party animals.....I mean party humans.

My take (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45265337)

Well, as an exceptionally dull weirdo......he's right.

- EDW

Initiate Flame Thrower (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 months ago | (#45265343)

Hmm. Journalism Degree. Work for minimum wage (or less) for your entire career. Waiters make more money than you. CS degree, sixty grand a year right out of school, most of them will be making at least six digits long before the end of their career. I enjoy being an exceptionally dull weirdo. How's journalism treating you?

Coding is vital to everyday life ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 10 months ago | (#45265351)

Much like mathematics, our society has a tendency to treat computer programming as something exceptional. At best, it is treated as the domain of the very bright. At worse, the people who are passionate about it are seen as weirdos. That is a huge problem.

Even though people can muddle through life without these skills, they could do a lot better if they had those skills. Take the simple matter of money. As an individual, programming (and math) can help you save money. As a business person, programming (and math) can help you run a business more efficiently. This is the case because these skills are extremely useful in decision making processes. Programming can help you obtain and process large amounts of data in ways that prepackaged software wonâ(TM)t. Mathematics will help you find ways to optimize outcomes.

The problem is that a lot of people simply donâ(TM)t understand that. They would rather use their instinctive responses, or rules of thumb (which are often untrue) than actually analyze a problem. The origins of that attitude are likely due to a lack of education: they either missed the motivation behind what they are learning, or they are dismissive of it because they failed to learn the skills. And yes, that needs to be overcome.

Happy to be a dull weirdo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265355)

I make 3-4x the average income, probably 4-5x what a newspaper columnist makes. I get to travel for my job: India, Japan, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, and England this year alone. I like the work I do.

And on top of all that there's the hookers and blow.

Re:Happy to be a dull weirdo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265497)

Ahh, but you'll never master creative writing, which is an essential skill for anyone who wants to succeed in life.

Willard Foxton IS AN ASS WHIPE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265365)

The THING calling itself 'Willard Foxton' if such a human does exist is wrong.

The THING wants his breakfast in Bed.

The THING wants his ass whipped hourly.

The THING wants his penis pleasured within 45 minutes and on a 24/7 schedule.

I say, KILL THE THING, BURN IT, SCATTER ITS ASHES and be done with it.

Don't forget to apply a little Apple vinegar over the ashes to ensure proper biodegradation. :-)

Boolean algebra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265375)

Just teach the kids boolean algebra early on and how to apply it to their daily lives. You will end up with either a bunch more programmers or a revolution 20 years later.

who the F cares? (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 10 months ago | (#45265381)

who the F cares about what some telegraph contributor says? not my shirt, not gonna wear it. (alt tab back to visual studio)

Coding has no vital application to every-day life (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 10 months ago | (#45265385)

Unlike solving integrals, analyzing Shakespeare's sonnets and knowing the difference between ionic and covalent bonds.

Somebody said something wrong on the internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265393)

Ermagad, I gert to gerr cerrekt demmm!!@#!@

Coding is a niche, mechanical skill? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#45265413)

Coding is a creative process, closer to painting or writing.

And "Telegraph Contributing"... (1)

turrican (55223) | about 10 months ago | (#45265445)

And "Telegraph Contributing"... is for... exceptionally self-aggrandizing idiots?

Ivory tower attitude (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 10 months ago | (#45265447)

This is exactly the type of blather I'd expect from academics, especially from those who've never had to learn anything about science and/or math in a college-level class. They don't understand it, they don't see any reason why they should understand it and they don't think that anything outside of their narrow specialty is at all important to anybody in the world, but they look down at everybody who isn't fascinated by the the most minute aspects of whatever navel-gazing "discipline" they've decided to make their life's work. Most of them know little if anything that could possibly be of the slightest use to anybody who isn't part of academentia, and they think that this makes them better than everybody else. Some of the posters here have called him a troll, but he isn't; a troll takes an extreme position to get other people to over-react, but this man really believes that what he's writing is true.

This, ladies and gentlemen (3, Informative)

Swampash (1131503) | about 10 months ago | (#45265465)

Is the state of Slashdot in 2013. Posting troll articles for ad impressions and clickbait.

Re:This, ladies and gentlemen (1)

tftp (111690) | about 10 months ago | (#45265585)

Fear not, nobody is going to click to RTFA. Slashdot's readers don't need to read someone's opinion (that is also wrong, of course.) Every reader has his own opinion. Slashdot's value is in discussion on a given subject. If the subject is sufficiently presented in the summary, that's all that is needed for a lively debate.

The UK had it all (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45265485)

With the BASIC, BBC computer literacy project hardware and software. So many where been offered that once in a generation access to emerging tech.
It seems the US did *something* to ensure an uptake of their educational brands at a competitive price.
The UK computing is now the plaything of expensive US brands, the NSA and junk encryption.
With UK end users simply tapping, pressing and consuming US products and apps.
Higher education teaching UK generations how to use junk US encryption and been locked into a life of expensive US programming software.
The exceptionally dull weirdos could have saved many in the UK from global snooping with more secure domestic code.
The UK had a vibrant cassette and code magazine marketplace with very skilled computer entrepreneurs.
My advice for any UK IT press story is to look into who activily slowed/sold out the UK computer market and let the US in for free.

Coding does have real-world applications. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265509)

In my experience, learning to be able to code well also teaches you how to deal with complex problems by breaking them down into manageable parts. It enhances critical thinking and problem solving skills like no tomorrow and really should be something taught in classes. Just so long as you actually teach children why and how code should work, rather than falling into only a pattern of rote memorization and repeat-after-me coding.

Writing and Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265513)

Language teachers said that learning to write clearly required learning to think clearly, as well. Learning different languages reveals different ways of thinking. Not just more ways of thinking.

Coders are logical poliglots. Their languages can vary from the very abstract to the very objective. They can think better, farther, wider, and deeper then the standard literatus. And, they can even make declarations that work. Multidimensionally. In parallel. In sentence, chapter, and tome.

Consider Terry Pratchett's magical libraries, for example.

I find this very funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265531)

So I'm a programmer, mechanic, and plumber ... yet my friend who's a banker is an accountant and a programer, my friend who's a teacher is an educator and a programmer, and my friend who is a biologist is a programmer and geneticist. We all deal with programming, eh its not integral for higher education ... yet we all get paid less then a mechanic and a plumber!

False dichotomy (2)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 10 months ago | (#45265537)

Why is the ability to think logically the opposite of being socially persuasive?

It's not, and in the trivium [wikipedia.org] of classical education, rhetoric follows logic and grammar.

What if the world were filled with citizens who each combined the best of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak? There would be a lot fewer nerds in the basement grousing about social inequity (and instead doing something about it), and a lot more politicians who would be able to foresee the unforeseen consequences of Obamacare. The current power brokers would be threatened. Thus, no real education is made available in the public schools.

News? (1)

Brien Coffield (3026589) | about 10 months ago | (#45265565)

Every day I interact with "tradespeople," beit fabricators, metal spinners, or HVAC specialists. I'm a software engineer by trade. The line between making things and taking credit for their success/failure can be a blessing or a curse for my kind. Let's hope that software engineering continues to be an in-demand skill, especially for those whose projects fail.

I would go prove him wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45265567)

but i'm going to sit at home in a pokemon shirt and program. i'm 43

There's more than one definition of "dull". (2)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 10 months ago | (#45265569)

There's more than one definition of "dull". Perhaps he doesn't mean "dull" as in "dullard" or a stupid person. Perhaps he means "dull" as in unexciting and uninteresting. Being boring and poorly social is true of some programmers, but it's true of some people in lots of useful professions.

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