Beta
×

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

Thank you!

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

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

Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the elitism-at-its-finest dept.

Programming 608

theodp (442580) writes Over at Alarming Development, Jonathan Edwards has an interesting rant entitled Developer Inequality and the Technical Debt Crisis. The heated complaints that the culture of programming unfairly excludes some groups, Edwards feels, is a distraction from a bigger issue with far greater importance to society.

"The bigger injustice," Edwards writes, "is that programming has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication. The way things are today if you want to be a programmer you had best be someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge — and enjoys it. Normal humans are effectively excluded from developing software. The real injustice of developer inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way." Edwards concludes with a call to action, "The web triumphalists love to talk about changing the world. Well if you really want to change the world, empower regular people to build web apps. Disrupt web programming! Who's with me?" Ed Finkler, who worries about his own future as a developer in The Developer's Dystopian Future, seconds that emotion. "I think about how I used to fill my time with coding," Finkler writes. "So much coding. I was willing to dive so deep into a library or framework or technology to learn it. My tolerance for learning curves grows smaller every day. New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity."

cancel ×

608 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Normal? (2)

PinJunkie (2912369) | about 3 months ago | (#47414509)

Yup, we're all freaks!

Re:Normal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414797)

My tolerance for learning curves grows smaller every day. New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity.

Yeah that's called growing up.

Cry Me A River (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#47414513)

Normal humans are excluded from a lot of things.

1. Olympic Gold Medal
2. 5x Jeopardy Champion
3. Professional Concert Pianist
4. Bolshoi Ballet
5. Supermodel

etc.

The idea is to find your niche in life and exploit it. Not call the whaaambulance.

Re:Cry Me A River (5, Interesting)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47414573)

Somebody didn't read the article:

"In the old days there was a respected profession of application programming. There was a minority of elite system programmers who built infrastructure and tools that empowered the majority of application programmers. Our goal was to allow regular people without extensive training to easily and quickly build useful software. This was the spirit of languages like COBOL, Visual Basic, and HyperCard. Elegant tools for a more civilized age. Before the dark times before the web."

"The web is just an enormous stack of kluges upon hacks upon misbegotten designs. This Archaeology of Errors is no place for the application programmers of old: it takes a skilled programmer with years of experience just to build simple applications on today’s web. What a waste. Twenty years of expediency has led the web into a technical debt crisis."

It's a fair point.

Re:Cry Me A River (5, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47414639)

No, it isn't.

Tools are simpler and easier to use than ever, and this guy is mistaking nostalgia and innocence for actual difference.

Re:Cry Me A River (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414753)

I have seen plenty of these "tools" and they are worthless for anything complex. If you need to put a nail in, I can give you a hammer to make your job easier, but what happens when you need to put the nail someplace the hammer doesn't fit?

Re:Cry Me A River (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47414843)

You're like an old man whining about nail guns(because what are those new kids going to do when they can't use a nail gun for a particular job).

Re:Cry Me A River (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414815)

No the tools are not. Most web development today is done with a text editor. WYSIWYG editors are dead. App development requires a slew of different tools if you want to make anything multi-platform. Desktop development is nearly dead. Unless you're using Visual Studio, or maybe Eclipse there is no intuitive GUI style programming like there was back in the days of VB6. Sure the code was crap, but a person who could handle creating a macro in Excel could turn out a simple program to suit their needs.

Re:Cry Me A River (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47414835)

Oh right, WYSIWYG like COBOL, riiiiiiiiight.

And lots of people are using IDEs. Far more than were ever being used it the times the author the article is wishing for.

Re:Cry Me A River (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414971)

I was actually referring to programs like FrontPage and the older versions of DreamWeaver but feel free to parse my words in whichever way you find it easier to pick apart my statement. I'd be curious to know what IDEs "lots of people" are using who do web development.

Re:Cry Me A River (4, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#47414981)

No, he has a point. Back in the day, we had few tools and we learned how to use them.

now, we have a tool for every hour of the week, and as soon as you've mastered one, someone comes along and says "your skills are sooo obsolete, you must learn now or fall behind", so you get to grips with it and start top master it, and then realise its a pile of poop and hunt around for a new, cooler tech to use instead.

Software projects today are littered with the corpses of technology that was the silver bullet to make your life as a developer so much better, easier and productive. Constantly.

That's the problem - we're not productive, we spend all our time learning new crap that is little better than the ancient stuff we used to use and got stuff done with.

The tools, well I know people who swear vim is easier to use than the latest IDE that has full intellisense and refactoring builtin, and they are probably right - in that they have learned their craft using that tool and actually are more productive than the bloated and slow IDE could make them. The trouble is that newbies start with the IDE and don't know anything else, so they stay in the "its easy" camp and never progress to real masters of their art. Which is understandable when you need to re-skill every couple of years, but not beneficial to the software industry.

Re:Cry Me A River (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 months ago | (#47414701)

It's a fair point if you are deluded.

Programming has better tools for such uses now. It's easier for "regular people" to build useful software now.

Re: Cry Me A River (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414899)

Regular people?
How can they even whet their childhood apetite with simple code if Windows no longer includes the QBASIC exe? An extremely complex barrier to entry needs to be overcome if they want Windows native code. IDE, compilation, Cpp, gui frameworks. If you do toss them Qbasic they cant do very practical things anyway.

And when they, knowing nothing, are told that programming equals computer science degrees?

Re:Cry Me A River (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47414711)

well take that argument to its logical conclusion TCP/IP would have died in a ditch and we would all be using OSI and you subs would take what the PTT allowed you to have.

Re:Cry Me A River (5, Interesting)

robmv (855035) | about 3 months ago | (#47414745)

The Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by amateurs

Alan Kay

http://www.drdobbs.com/archite... [drdobbs.com]

Regular People (4, Funny)

Spazmania (174582) | about 3 months ago | (#47414861)

Regular people can build web apps. It's called "Microsoft Sharepoint."

Re:Cry Me A River (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 months ago | (#47414921)

"Application Programming" is today done in things like Excel spreadsheets. You don't need to write a COBOL app* to keep track of interest payments and such. I'd argue that computers are more accessible than ever, and thanks to Google routine coding often becomes this exercise in searching for already-solved problems and applying the solutions to your similar problem.

* Ahhhh, dear God, "app"? Why did I type that?

Re:Cry Me A River (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47414925)

"The web is just an enormous stack of kluges upon hacks upon misbegotten designs. This Archaeology of Errors is no place for the application programmers of old: it takes a skilled programmer with years of experience just to build simple applications on todayâ(TM)s web. What a waste. Twenty years of expediency has led the web into a technical debt crisis."

I know, right? We had it so much easier back when we could just write our own interrupt handler (and pray we didn't step on DRAM refresh or vice-versa) to pull bytes directly off the 8250 - And once we had those bytes, mwa-hahaha! We could write our own TCP stack and get the actual data the sender intended, and then do... something... with it that fit on a 40x25 monochrome text screen (yeah, I started late in the game, those bastards working with punchcards spoiled all the really easy stuff for me!).

And now look where we've gone: Anyone using just about any major platform today can fire up a text editor and write a complete moderately sophisticated web app in under an hour. Those poor, poor bastards. I don't know how I can sleep at night, knowing what my brethren have done to the poor wannabe-coders of today. Say, do I hear violins?

Re:Cry Me A River (4, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | about 3 months ago | (#47414933)

If you don't want to get left behind the fads, don't choose an area that's all about fads.

Any kernel developer will currently be using basically the same toolset as they used in 1980.
Any driver developer will currently be using basically the same toolset as they used in 1980.
Any game developer will currently be using basically the same toolset as they used in 2000.

Not everyone jumps on a new shiny framework every 2 years because they're struggling to overcome the limitations of a crappily designed language like javascript. If you don't want to jump from fad to fad... just don't be a web dev.

Re:Cry Me A River (5, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | about 3 months ago | (#47414979)

I don't think its fair. A modern web application is expected to do a whole heck of alot more than COBOL as it was originally designed even envisioned. You can still bang out a simple shell script or procedural program in Ruby today without knowing much of anything but we just don't consider those things 'applications' anymore.

Hell COBOL (propper) isn't really even interactive, its read in records, and write out some other records. You needed something like CICS to do much of anything interactive and guess what its not so easy to use or understand anymore once you go there.

Lets not even talk about the job control stuff to get your program running in the first place; normal people were never expected to handle that, it was the job of the OPERATOR who HAD EXTENSIVE TRAINING to do that.

So really its just not true.

Applications are more complicated to build today fundamentally because they are more complex in terms of what they do. Could it be simplified yes, we could fix lots of the technical kludges by replacing http and other web technologies with some truly stateful application delivery protocol and languages + libraries but it while it would be simpler it would not be simple.

His view of the past is skewed, things were never really available to regular people. There was always specialized professionals in the background handling the details. Except for a breif period in the late 80's and early 90's during the height of the PC revolution. Those machines though were a great leap backward in terms of what the limitations were as compared to the mainframe, and in leaving those limitations like (single user) behind we have put all the complexity back in.

Re:Cry Me A River (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47415031)

"The web is just an enormous stack of kluges upon hacks upon misbegotten designs. This Archaeology of Errors is no place for the application programmers of old: it takes a skilled programmer with years of experience just to build simple applications on today’s web. What a waste. Twenty years of expediency has led the web into a technical debt crisis."

How did it get to the point of being a "series of kludges upon hacks upon misbegotten designs"? So much of it was because of shit-headed ad-hoc, fix-it-now solutions done by amateurs. People like Brendan Eich were nothing but enablers: much of Javascript's stupidity comes his trying to make it accessible to non-programmers.

I suffer through that crappiness every day. I have those years of experience, and it boggles my mind how often the products of flawed thinking got standardized.

Yes, you have to be of a certain mindset to be a programmer. It doesn't have to do with knowledge of toolkits; it has to do with ways of thinking. We would all be a lot better off if more people were at least exposed to these patterns of problem solving to get an appreciation of what is behind all the "magic", but for the vast majority of people, the ways of being a programmer are foreign and uncomfortable. That's just how it is--suck it up.

Re:Cry Me A River (5, Insightful)

DickBreath (207180) | about 3 months ago | (#47414587)

That may be true, but you miss the deeper underlying issue that TFA (the friendly article) is whining about.

They want to be able to be a programming superstar by reading a book such as:
* Learn Programming in 24 Hours!
* Learn Brain Surgery in 24 Hours!
* Learn Rocket Science in 24 Hours!
* Learn To Be A Concert Pianist in 10 EASY Lessons!

Various programming boards are flooded with people who want to know how to break into programming for big bucks, quick, overnight, but don't want to actually do the hard learning [norvig.com] .

Re:Cry Me A River (5, Interesting)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#47414739)

I wonder if anyone in the architecture profession has ever proclaimed "Well if you really want to change the world, empower regular people to build skyscrapers." Probably not. And yet the programming profession seems to be constantly obsessed with making the field accessible to everybody and her sister, as if programming should be something any idiot off the street can do easily.

Re:Cry Me A River (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 3 months ago | (#47414963)

I wonder if anyone in the architecture profession has ever proclaimed "Well if you really want to change the world, empower regular people to build skyscrapers." Probably not. And yet the programming profession seems to be constantly obsessed with making the field accessible to everybody and her sister, as if programming should be something any idiot off the street can do easily.

I think you're mixing your metaphores somewhat.

There's a different between learning to build a basic house and a skysraper. Only the best civil engineers are ever going to do the latter.

Likewise there's a difference between building a basic program (web based or otherwise) to solve some small task and building the next version of TCP/IP.

And yet the programming profession seems to be constantly obsessed with making the field accessible to everybody and her sister, as if programming should be something any idiot off the street can do easily.

Many people including some "idiots off the street" seems to have wound up capable of bodging something really nasty together with exel and possibly powerpoint. Like it or not, that is programming.

And why -shouldn't- it be accessible?

Re:Cry Me A River (0)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 3 months ago | (#47414757)

That's progressivism for ya. Turning ever-more basic traits of human nature and existence into "rights" people are entitled to and building up the grievance industry. I hope we get better at identifying when people are trying to create problems to propose "solutions". Like crying about "inequality" with one breath while advocating for "diversity" with the other.

Re:Cry Me A River (0)

musterion (305824) | about 3 months ago | (#47414871)

Hear! Hear!

Re:Cry Me A River (5, Insightful)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 3 months ago | (#47415007)

I think they're right about the problem, but wrong about the solution. They think the solution is to make it easier, but that's just not practical. Most people can drive, few can design engines. Most people can learn to use a blood pressure cuff, few create them. Most people can learn to use a spreadsheet, few know how to create one. Learning how to write software that's more than just user interface tweaks on something that somebody else built is inherently difficult.

But the real problem is this impression that you have to be born 80% as smart as Einstein to get into this field, and that the learning curve is impossible for regular people. That's totally wrong. Average intelligence plus persistence is all you need. You won't be Linus Torvalds tomorrow, you won't be Steve Wozniak next month. But put your time in, try things out, get used to being frustrated as you learn and keep learning anyway, and in a few years you'll understand what's going on and be able to do anything this side of the most advanced work as well as anyone.

That's the lesson we the progressives should be teaching people. And to be clear, it fits all of my original examples too. Few people walk into an automotive engineering program and instantly grasp all of the concepts involved - years of persistence matter more than raw talent if you want to design engines. Few people start building medical equipment and have an instant knack for getting it right - years of persistence matter more than raw talent again. If you were born with an 80 IQ, sorry there's only so far you can go. But the difference between a person with 110 IQ that contributes code to the Linux kernel and one that works at a gas station is their persistence, not raw intellect.

Professional athletes and "unfair advantage" (5, Insightful)

Dareth (47614) | about 3 months ago | (#47414775)

Some people in life find an "unfair advantage". This is very evident in professional athletes. They must start with natural athletic ability and then hone that through practice and training. And then a select few get paid huge dollars to essentially play a game.

People with natural problem solving and logic skills also have an "unfair advantage". It doesn't generate the quick wealth of the professional athlete but can lead to a promising professional career path. It still takes practice and learning to really take advantage of these skills much like the professional athlete learning their sport.

I will not apologize for taking advantage of my abilities any more than a professional athlete will give back the money they earned playing a game.

"Rare talents"?! (3, Insightful)

ZeroPly (881915) | about 3 months ago | (#47414817)

Those are jobs that involve a vanishingly small percentage of the general population. Programming is not. I couldn't stop laughing after reading this gem - "programming has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication."

Does this egotistical idiot actually believe that?

Programming is not something that requires grueling training or rare talents. Algebraic topology, cardiothoracic surgery, and competitive chess require those. If you're writing code that requires elite skills, you're doing it wrong - no one is going to be able to understand it, and you will never be able to troubleshoot it. Someone with an IQ of 100 can become a perfectly competent Java or C++ programmer with two years of intensive training. Programming is more akin to a trade skill like plumbing or electrical work, than it is to engineering. And before everyone gets on my case that being a top 1% programmer is incredibly difficult, the same holds for a top 1% electrician.

Re:"Rare talents"?! (1)

rioki (1328185) | about 3 months ago | (#47415029)

The novice developer writes code he does not understand.

The mediocre developer writes code that only he understands.

The great developer writes code that everybody understands.

I would say yes, it takes some skill and experience to create simple to understand program. This does not mean that your average programmer can not hack together a functional program. But even your requirements of 2 years worth of training and experience is way more than the TFA would like, it falls more along the lines of "learn programming in 8 hours" type of requirement.

Re:Cry Me A River (2)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 3 months ago | (#47414907)

Normal humans are excluded from a lot of things.

1. Olympic Gold Medal 2. 5x Jeopardy Champion 3. Professional Concert Pianist 4. Bolshoi Ballet 5. Supermodel etc.

The idea is to find your niche in life and exploit it. Not call the whaaambulance.

Sure. But lots of people participate in sports, just not at the Olympic level. Lots of people play Jeopardy, play the piano, dance, and vamp for photos, to the betterment of their own lives and for the entertainment of both themselves and others. How many people are 'casual programmers' in the sense that they can do a little bit of programming to enrich their own lives and those of others in their immediate circle?

I see this as being more about moving away from excessive specialization and exclusiveness, rather than making all programming so simple that dedicated, hard working, deeply knowledgeable programmers are no longer required. We still need wizards to maintain, improve, and expand the underpinnings and structure of programming, and do the really complex stuff. But it's time for average people to have the ability to develop some basic applications, just as they can now produce photographs that two decades ago would have been the exclusive domain of professional photographers.

Not unfair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414517)

Would you say that music excludes those who cant sing well, stunt acting excludes those with delicate bodies\fear of death?

"Normal" is subjective (1)

mike555 (2843511) | about 3 months ago | (#47414519)

What's "normal" and why anyone cares about it?

Apparently dedication = autism (4, Insightful)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 3 months ago | (#47414525)

You heard it here first, folks: if you're going to try to not suck at your job, you're autistic. Normal people don't give a fuck about trying.

Re:Apparently dedication = autism (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47414601)

Or apparently reading comprehension. Look up the term autism and understand why the author used that term.

Re:Apparently dedication = autism (5, Insightful)

canadian_right (410687) | about 3 months ago | (#47414729)

Generally when people say autistic, they don't mean a mildly afflicted, high functioning person, but someone who never speaks, rocks in a corner, and screams if their normal routine is changed. You DON'T have to be autistic, or be anywhere on the autistic spectrum to be a great programmer.

Like becoming good, even excellent, at anything it requires hard work, dedication, and practice. Any normal person can do it. Programming, and I've been doing it since an assembler was a real cool tool, can be mastered by normal people. Sure, I've seen a few odd balls in the field, but no more so than in other fields.

As far as making programming easy for the masses: that is fine for little toy systems, but if you want a large system built, you want properly trained professionals working on it.

Re:Apparently dedication = autism (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47414737)

Look up the term autism and understand why the author used that term.

Because it has become a meaningless buzzword used to describe every introverted snowflake on the planet?

The GP responded more-or-less appropriately to the TFA's nonsense. You have simply said "nuh-uh!". Substantiate, please.

Re:Apparently dedication = autism (1)

emagery (914122) | about 3 months ago | (#47414631)

Actually, yeah... I'm not sure if there's a STRONG link to being on the spectrum (not my area of experience, though I might even find myself on some mild end of it myself), BUT, these kind of things do require a very unusual amount of dedication to learning a thing... most good developers I know have been hacking away since they were between 5 and 10 years old, dedicating their entire lives to it. That is not normal, as defined by numerical analysis of the larger population. The part I have difficulty with, in this statement, is that it is the result of culture, rather than an emergent pattern centered around the depth of education it takes to be a genuinely good developer. Still, I would support a movement to introduce algorithmic (problem solving) thinking classes (as expressed through programming or perhaps interactive models (lego mindstorm or equivalent stuff)) much earlier in schooling...

Re:Apparently dedication = autism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47415017)

Most musicians I know have been playing music since they were 5 years old. Most businessmen have had friends, acquaintances, social skills, and experience with money since they were 3. Most artists have been drawing since they were 2. Most athletes of all kinds got started before age 10, and they've certainly been physically active much longer. A great number of social workers have been honing their nurturing skills since they were children. And so on.

This guy needs to get a grip. Web and app development and scripting do not require arcane knowledge and intense training since childhood. Anyone can do it. It's true that most of the people who are really into it and really good did get started young and that best have devoted their lives to it and can do things "normal people" can't. That's like just about every other field of study in existence.

Writing and tuning efficient compilers and interpreters, core operating systems development, intense graphics programming, etc are just the equivalent of Olympic athletes. And pretty damn good versions of the "tools" he's talking about exist. The only reason this article exists is to get eyeballs. It makes no sense if you put any thought into it.

Re:Apparently dedication = autism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414827)

You heard it here first, folks: if you're going to try to not suck at your job, you're autistic. Normal people don't give a fuck about trying.

You know for being blindingly brilliant developers, they sure are good at pushing a half-baked concept with absolutely zero examples. Hypercard for the Internet? That's kind of a high level view that, like most development projects, comes down to the devil being in the details. We're all on board with your message but your idea is sort of out of reach. So why doesn't Johnny Autism help us out here and put ones and zeros to registers to fulfill his vision?

Worthless and ineffective lament by a self described tortured autistic genius ... waste of my time reading it.

Re:Apparently dedication = autism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414989)

Yeah, I found that comment pretty stupid too. Pretty much all of the really good programmers I've ever worked with were not autistic or on the spectrum and were perfectly socially adjusted. In fact, almost all the ones who claimed to be on the spectrum were among the worst programmers I ever worked with.

Not all of us who are programmers are socially-awkward creeps who self-diagnosis themselves as having Asperger's or on the autism spectrum.

just like EE, ME, CE, finance...... (5, Insightful)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 3 months ago | (#47414529)

just about every field above burger flipping requires specialization. Are you going to ask Joe Blow about your corporate tax accounting needs? Or are you just going to drop by Intel and see if you can lend a hand with some microcode? Work is becoming increasingly specialized across all fronts, time to get used to it.

Re:just like EE, ME, CE, finance...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414801)

Yes, I belive it is called the division of labour.

Instead of 5 farmers all cobbling shoes, and farming and treating sick animals it turns out to be more effecient if they each specialize.

Perhaps it is the same with code. Perhaps not everyone needs to understand when to use what sorting algorithm and what the difference between a 16-bit integer and a 16-bit word really is when to someone else can solve that problem. Enough people can build webapps and mobile apps today as is evident from the number of apps developed. Who cares what percentage of the population writes the code? Isn't it enough to know that all the code we need is produced and that no one is stopped from coding in thier spare time?

Re:just like EE, ME, CE, finance...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414875)

Work is becoming increasingly specialized across all fronts, time to get used to it.

No change, just more whining due to more free time.

Let's go back to the days when family farming was the main occupation. You learned to farm well enough, or you found a way to get really good at one of the rare trades, or you starved.
Much earlier than that, you either learned to hunt, learned which plants were edible, or convinced others that you were worth keeping around despite not adding anything directly to the food supply.

The whole rant is nonsense, every job requires some dedication to the essential skills. I know a lot of moderately intelligent people like to think that construction workers and farmers are complete unskilled idiots and that their services could be replaced by any other population at random, but you really don't want the crops from unskilled farmers and I dare you to live in a two-story house built by illiterate amateurs.

Re:just like EE, ME, CE, finance...... (1)

makq (3730933) | about 3 months ago | (#47414983)

Minor correction. Burger flipping in a modern fast food establishment is the epitome of specialization. The difference is that it does not take a high level of skill. This is by design.

Or Some People are Finally Employable (5, Insightful)

glennrrr (592457) | about 3 months ago | (#47414537)

So there is finally a job that focused, socially clueless people can excel at, and some want to take that away from them because it isn't fair for people who could do other jobs anyway.

Re:Or Some People are Finally Employable (2)

visualight (468005) | about 3 months ago | (#47414623)

After 15 years at this I have met exactly ONE person who is both good at developing AND is socially clueless. Every other socially clueless person I've met sucks at this. So sick of this stereotype...does anyone else look at bigbang-theory and think "wtf, WHEN are we gonna be done with this shit?"

Re:Or Some People are Finally Employable (3)

glennrrr (592457) | about 3 months ago | (#47414677)

So you both think that I'm a negative stereotype and deny my existence.

Re:Or Some People are Finally Employable (4, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | about 3 months ago | (#47414853)

Yes.
You don't exist. Go away.

bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414541)

yes, people should learn basic coding, reasoning, critical thinking. we do not need them making more useless web or mobile apps.

What a load of crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414549)

The last thing I heard 'everyone can code'.
Now an old man rants about learning curves, and how he used to be better in the old days.

Well duh (4, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 3 months ago | (#47414553)

There's a good reason I'm not a brain surgeon or a professional hockey player. Have you ever tried explaining even a 'hello world' example to someone who can't handle strict logic and math?

ridiculous (3)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 3 months ago | (#47414559)

You have to be REALLY smart and good at pattern recognition and logic to be a programmer. And I mean extremely, unnaturally good. I completely disagree with the years of dedication and research, as I wrote an entire software suite that was pretty much flawless right out of college. Experience and training is not very important as long as you know how to write good code that's efficient and makes sense to others. The biggest determining factor is how smart you are. That's just how it is. I'm not a famous singer because I suck at singing and I'm not a famous artist because I suck at all forms of art. You don't see me writing a whiny article about it.

I don't understand (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 3 months ago | (#47414563)

Having read his rant I gotta admit that I do not understand what that guy is trying to say

I mean, ever since Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage labor over the first software / software combination, each and every follow-up of similar devices had been utilized by a very limited group of people who --

1. Have the interest to learn how the device works

2. Have the intelligence to understand

3. Have the time to do it

Of course, there is another type of 'computer' - the Abacus invented by the Chinese - but that device, unlike the Babbage machine and whatever followup devices it had inspired, - was kinda self-limiting

normal people (3, Insightful)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | about 3 months ago | (#47414569)

Have this guy seen "normal people" use a computer? There are some people so uninterested in the thing (even when is their primary work tool) that they can't be bothered to learn so simple stuff as mouse dragging or keyboard shortcuts.

Hell, I've seen people using Spreadsheet software for 10 years without learning how to use formulas. Don't even try to show them what all that HTML gibberish is.

And Spreadsheet software is a pretty good introduction tool for programming.

Re:normal people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414943)

this. One time I asked someone how they calculated up a gross profit margin for a product. they went into this long winded speech explaining the different variables and such, until I was able to figure out the process flow and make a function. I jammed it into excel, and they looked at me like I was a wizard, because I figured out how to turn a task that normally took 8 hours, and turned it into a 10 minute affair of data entry.

any putz who knows math and knows excel could do that.

Bullshit (5, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 3 months ago | (#47414579)

I present Exhibit A: The army of skinny-jean, unshaven "Brogrammers" who use end to end, non-scalable, non-portable, all-in-one blackbox frameworks like AngularJS and a handful of selected NPMs or Gems commonly used amongst 90% or more of the existent Rails or NodeJS based sites, while writing flat MongoDB collections because they totally don't get NoSQL but love to use it because it's the new hotness and refer to themselves as "elite hackers" while fist-bumping and drinking beer at their SOMA office in SF.

Re:Bullshit (5, Interesting)

visualight (468005) | about 3 months ago | (#47414703)

I flew to SF and interviewed at one of those companies. I interviewed with about 7 people. All of them were idiots, all of them were under 25, and all of them thought they were masters of the universe (well, the ruby-on-rails universe anyway). It was an eerie bizarro world experience I will never forget.

Slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414585)

But I didn't just stay mad. It's why I took it upon myself to create the "programming environment for the rest of us", which you can log onto for free from any leading PC, tablet or smartphone and create applications that will amaze and delight thousands or even millions of folks around the world....

Crazy rant full of BS except for one thing (4, Insightful)

pooh666 (624584) | about 3 months ago | (#47414593)

"New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity."

I will mod that one way up.

Maybe because normal humans can't code (5, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 months ago | (#47414597)

Seriously, does everyone think programming is a spatial relationships problem or something?

Let's put this on the table right now: Normal humans can build houses. Oh, you might not have any construction knowledge, and you'll build a horrendous little shitheap that falls over when the wind blows, but that's not the point. I can put construction knowledge in your head and, in a few months, you'll be able to properly select foundation for a site, properly frame a house, and properly build out the sheathing and siding and insulation and walls. You won't be a master craftsman, but you'll be able to do it right.

Humans are good with spatial things. Humans can look at a two-by-four and understand what a two-by-four is. The engineering concepts behind building a workable shed are a little different, but easily transferred. Given a little time and guidance, a human can learn to relate building materials spatially, measuring and cutting and nailing or screwing or gluing as needed, planning and building a proper structure.

Humans are terrible at numbers and algorithms.

Humans are so terrible at numbers and algorithms that they become *extremely* proficient at math if you teach them with a soroban--a machine that converts numerical problems into spatial procedures--and can't be taught algorithms without visual diagrams of trees and boxes and other shit to show sorting and transformation algorithms. Have you ever looked at textbooks or Wikipedia pages for stuff like PKI, red-black trees, or AES encryption? There's pictures of the simplest shit! Why? Because HUMANS CAN'T PROCESS ALGORITHMS!

The easiest process for a human programmer implementing an algorithm like a quick sort is to associate variables with objects in the visual diagram, associate their state changes with the movements in the visual diagram, and write code that carries out the analogous behavior. By comparison, BUBBLE SORT IS FUCKING HARD TO IMPLEMENT when your only guidance is: "iterate through each list element. Compare each element to the previous. If the previous element is larger, swap them." You actually have to think about how to do the comparison (greater than, less than? Wait, which am I comparing to which?), and how to swap them--usually with a temporary variable, although "A ^= B; B ^= A; A ^= B;" works. Most people visualize some kind of diagram while trying to understand the algorithm.

The real world requires interaction with space, mainly to avoid hungry tigers, kill tasty deer, and avoid driving your car into trees like you're fucking drunk. It doesn't involve shift accumulator left and XOR with memory at address $FC. It doesn't involve explicit semaphore locking and deadlocks if you fail to unlock the semaphore in a loop with multiple function calls and thread branching during the loop. It requires things you can put your fist through if they don't work right, and then continue with successfully.

We can't all be rocket surgeons.

Re:Maybe because normal humans can't code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414823)

Best comment yet. We used to call this a block diagram, back when discrete logic ruled. To quote Albert, “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” If you can't explain it to a PhD, you're useless as a programmer.

Re:Maybe because normal humans can't code (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414959)

Men are good with spatial things.

There, fixed that for you. Reference: compare the success of the NBA against the success of the WNBA. Nuff said. Women have their talents but this isn't one of them.

Re:Maybe because normal humans can't code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414993)

>>>>>>> "iterate through each list element. Compare each element to the previous. If the previous element is larger, swap them." You actually have to think about how to do the comparison (greater than, less than? Wait, which am I comparing to which?), and how to swap them--usually with a temporary variable, although "A ^= B; B ^= A; A ^= B;" works. Most people visualize some kind of diagram while trying to understand the algorithm. "

No, most people don't. Most people stop at the first quote because that verbal explanation IS that AB crap just in a different form. It's the same exact thing, you just transcribed it with arbitrary placeholders for spelled out words so it takes less space and can be understood by a computer. Anyone can understand and create the verbal explanation with little training (just understanding, really) and without looking at a computer or code at all.

You're just stroking your own ego, when someone invents a machine that takes your 1st part and turns it into an equation and code you'd be out of a job. Your manager would be doing your job after about a month of training.

And your point? (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47414617)

Normal humans are effectively excluded from developing software.

I've said that for years. You, however, seem to hold that against those with the rare gift and dedication to code. Kinda missing the point, dude.


a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication. The way things are today if you want to be a programmer you had best be someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge â" and enjoys it

Yes, yes, yes, kinda, yes, and yes. Again - Your point? You've described exactly why normal humans will never succeed as devs, and to a degree, why many devs tend to look down on those who can't even figure out Excel.

And you call that "injustice"? I have a rare combination of qualities that let me do seemingly amazing things with computers, and in return, I make a decent (but by no means incredible) salary. You want injustice? Some of those same morons who can't even figure out Excel (much less writing their own override CSS) make millions of dollars per year telling me they want my latest app to use a differerent font color. Another group of those morons make millions of dollars per year because they can whack a ball with a stick better than I can. Yet another group of morons make millions of dollars per year doing absolutely nothing because Granddad worked a town of white trash (sometimes literally) to death.

And yet you would call me out for busting my ass to turn my one natural skill into a modestly decent living?

Go fuck yourself, Mr. Edwards. Hard.

Re:And your point? (2)

visualight (468005) | about 3 months ago | (#47414779)

I think the difference between this and other professions is we are constantly stacking up abstractions and making development more accessible to less skilled people. I didn't read the whole article (it seemed pointless) , but I'm going to guess he's advocating a drag-and-drop IDE for web sites or something equally stupid.

Normal humans exlcuded from practicing law/medicin (5, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 3 months ago | (#47414627)

"The bigger injustice," Edwards writes, "is that being a doctor or lawyer has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication. The way things are today if you want to be a lawyer or doctor you had best be someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge â" and enjoys it. Normal humans are effectively excluded from performing surgery or arguing cases before a judge. The real injustice of legal or medical inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way." Edwards concludes with a call to action, "The web triumphalists love to talk about changing the world. Well if you really want to change the world, empower regular people to perform open heart surgery and argue cases before the supreme court. Disrupt specialist knowledge and training! Who's with me?"

Developpers effectively excluded from getting laid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414633)

This is just so full of stereotype, I thought I might as well post with a stereotyped title ...

Now, what makes him believe that all developpers are almost on the autistic side of the spectrum ?

That's all well and good... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414641)

... however, isn't software development akin to just about any other specialized field? With few exceptions, you do not find the average individual delving into the depths of fields outside of their daily focus. Usually when that does happen it is because it has become sort of a side-hobby of the individual. Granted, development work could be useful in day-to-day life, but it is by far not a requirement.

I myself am a software developer. I have spent years teaching myself new languages, practices, etc... I have a few hobbies that can make my life easier in other aspects, but they are just that... nice-to-have hobbies. I can change my vehicles oil, breaks, belts, etc... but you wouldn't catch me taking the whole engine apart. I take it to a mechanic. I also like tinkering with electronics, but I probably wouldn't wan't to waste my time fixing a television. Just the same as if I found myself in legal trouble, I like to keep informed on some legal procedings, and I try to know my rights, but I wouldn't ever represent myself in court. And I cerntainly wouldn't remove my own appendix or do my own dental work...

While the notion of opening the field up to more people is a nice one, I don't see it as practical...

Normal humans are effectively excluded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414651)

Re: "Normal humans are effectively excluded from developing software. The real injustice of developer inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way."

I've seen the effects of allowing 'normal people' to develop software and have made quite a lot of money from this. I don't like these project, however, as they're usually a mess and can't be fixed without enormous effort. And you can bet the bad decisions don't stop at who management decides to hire.

Tom

No one is excluded by other people (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 3 months ago | (#47414661)

Things are wrong if a group of people are excluded from something by others for no particular reason or a frivolous one such as: sex, religion, skin colour, ... However: we are not equal in achievement, I will never be a swimming great -- the young lads at the pool power past me, but I could prob write a better C program or shell script than they could. However if they were willing to put many years work they might manage that as well.

Life is not fair, different people have different abilities & achievements. What is important is that society provides equality of opportunity; it is up to the individual to exercise that opportunity based on the time that they are willing to put in and their innate abilities.

Why make it easier? (1)

uneek (107167) | about 3 months ago | (#47414667)

This is simple economics. If the demand for programmers can not be met then there is more opportunity and money for me. Why should I reduce my personal money making capability?

Who cares about the normals (1)

Suiggy (1544213) | about 3 months ago | (#47414669)

Normal people are mediocre. Why don't we just oppress and grind the normals into oblivion. Let us autists inherit the Earth.

Lovely (1)

undulato (2146486) | about 3 months ago | (#47414671)

Great to hear the rantings of other human beings *also* getting older and *also* temporarily unable to cope with the realities of it.

I wrote about this in 1996 in BYTE (5, Interesting)

bfwebster (90513) | about 3 months ago | (#47414679)

The article was called "The Real Software Crisis" (BYTE, January, 1996); you can read the original text here [brucefwebster.com] . (BYTE's archives are no longer online). I wrote a more extended discussion on the subject back in 2008; you can read it here [brucefwebster.com] . One might was well write that "normal humans are effectively excluded from composing and performing music"; if you've ever known a music major in college, you'll know just how true that is (I believe Music to be a harder major than Computer Science, having dated a Music major while getting my own degree in CS). ..bruce..

Depends on what you mean by "develop" (1)

stove (38601) | about 3 months ago | (#47414681)

Program a widget for a smartphone using a already existing framework and pictures that'll display and whatever... Sure, sounds like something "we" should simplify. I'l get on it.

Building said framework? Cool, so you're going to need to know a programming language or two, how those interact with the phone hardware, what the phone hardware's limitations, perhaps some UI design and... hey, where are you going? I've got months more reading for you to do!

In the old days . . . (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 3 months ago | (#47414683)

From TFA (the friendly article, or whatever other F-word you prefer) . . .
> In the old days there was a respected profession of application programming.
> There was a minority of elite system programmers who built infrastructure and tools
> that empowered the majority of application programmers.


I think it is still that way. But now there is a third class who think that breaking into the application programming is some kind of godlike elite skill because it requires you to actually know more than the mere syntax of a language. Programming is racist and sexist because it requires you to even learn the syntax of a programming language. Why can't the computer just do what they say? Why do they need a special language? Why should it be necessary to learn to design complex databases, and understand in memory data structures and algorithms? Why focus on gaining lots of insight in order to come up with vastly superior algorithms?

In short, from what I see on some programming boards, what some people seem to want is a high paying position where an untrained monkey could get a computer to do what the boss wants, and then collect a paycheck -- um, no. Direct deposit.

Normal human beings can not do many things. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#47414733)

Yeah, why can't we empower most human beings to be programmers? Hey, why not empower them to be hedge fund managers or rocket scientists? If Joe sixpack wakes up one day and feels like picking up a scalpel and perform a simple appendectomy why shouldn't he be able to do it? Why are we stopping him?

Even with training most people could not paint a simple landscape or compose new music or even come up with an original joke. So why should everyone be "empowered" to be programmers? Who is stopping them anyway? Heck we don't even have the equivalent of AMA that can sue people for programming without a license. In fact that rant would have more validity against the legally chartered professional organizations that have the monopoly in issuing credentials and stopping people from practicing law, medicine, accounting etc without license.

Weird definition of "normal". (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 months ago | (#47414741)

A normal person is a person who's good at some things and bad at others.
99.99% of programmers, including myself, are normal people who are good at the things required to be a programmer and bad at others (like social things, perhaps?).

TFA is some self-righteous bullshit. Imagine if a garbage collector wrote a blog about "the insufferable unequality in his profession because it takes somebody with rare talents such as muscle-power and the ability to withstand excruciating smells, excluding all the normal people". We'd call that guy an arrogant prick. What is the difference?

Get of your high horse, mr. Edwards. Unless you are one of these [wikipedia.org] Jonathan Edwards's, you're just a normal person like pretty much the entire rest of humanity.

Today, I would never have learned programming (5, Insightful)

jw3 (99683) | about 3 months ago | (#47414751)

I got my first computer in 1986; I was 13, and it was a ZX Spectrum with a build-in BASIC interpreter. When you switched on, you could start away programming. In fact, the computer came with a little book with programming examples and little games. I spend countless hours typing in listings that I found in newspapers. To even load a simple game you had to enter a command.

Since then, I learned C, tcsh, C++, bash, Perl, much later also Python and R. It was a step by step process, and I would never have started it (and became what I am now, that is, computational biologist) if not for this one computer with the BASIC interpreter.

I have kids now, and they have Android tablets. The sheer power, their parameters and their capabilities are overwhelming. I don't know how many instances of a ZX Spectrum emulator I could run on one of these, a thousand?

But even though they run on a system that is related to the system I am using every day, I would not know how to write a program for them to save my life. In theory, I know how I would approach it, I even set up once an Eclipse environment once, but I never got to even start a Hello world program. If I were 13, I would not even know that I can write a program myself.

It is amazing, but I think that actually, my kids will have a much harder time to learn programming than I had, and they will get much less fun in return...

Programmer maturity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414821)

> "My tolerance for learning curves grows smaller every day. New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity."

Congratulations. You've stopped following fashion and started to become a good programmer.

This just in... hard things require skills (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 3 months ago | (#47414825)

And different people have wildly varying abilities by nature. To say that this is a crisis is officially today's biggest crock of shit.

What an injustice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414833)

The world would be much better off if we just encouraged stupid, lazy people to program.

Totally bogus (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#47414839)

"The bigger injustice," Edwards writes, "is that programming has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication.

LESS TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE

Remember what Programming the PDP11 [youtube.com] was like?

Funnily (3)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 months ago | (#47414855)

In most of my jobs, HR hires normal humans. The vast majority of them don't particularly enjoy programming. Most of them got into it because they heard it was a good salary. Some of them are pretty good at it, some of them aren't. Maybe 5% of the programmers I've met will go home and write more code because they enjoy it and have their own projects they want to do. Seems to me that with a small bit of training, a normal human CAN do programming and do it reasonably well if they put their mind to it.

They also seem to have an above-average chance to push management to jump on some new framework bandwagon because they think that will solve all their problems. To be a really good programmer, you have to know how to program, understand the processes that you're automating with your code and realize that no silver bullet will allow you to NOT understand the processes that you're automating. If you don't understand what you're trying to do, you're not going to do it very well.

Brings a tear to this sysadmin's eye... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414867)

"I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity."

That's what we've been telling the Dev side for decades now. .

specialization (1)

deodiaus2 (980169) | about 3 months ago | (#47414869)

I had a back flow device inspected. This stupid thing requires a $500 tester and $200 annual calibrations and additional certifications. While as I agree that these things are needed to prevent contaminating the water supply, I think paying some Joe $75 for 5 min of work is way too much. I would be willing to have the city send someone out to do it. I am sure that the economy of scale is such that if we could have someone do this for $5, but then, the local city council has family who depends on my over priced fees.

WTF are they talking about? (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about 3 months ago | (#47414887)

We live in the golden age of low barrier to entry programming. I'm 31 (upper bounds of millennial). When I started, JavaEE in its earlier stages or .NET were the only choices outside of C/C++ that a typical graduate could get. Now you have Node, Python, Ruby, PHP, Groovy and all sorts of easy to use languages. FFS, JavaScript is now a serious career choice where it was considered a skill that no serious developer needed when I was in college (2001-2005).

I swear, some people won't be happy until the machine becomes sentient, writes the code they really meant to write (originally express in plain English, probably at a 6th grade level) and then gives them all of the credit at review time.

This guy is a complete idiot. (1)

ogdenk (712300) | about 3 months ago | (#47414889)

"Normal humans are effectively excluded from developing software. The real injustice of developer inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way."

Yeah, it kinda does. Face it, computers are the most complex machines ever designed and implemented by mankind. There is no way to make them much simpler without losing functionality and breaking a lot of things we take for granted.

I'm excluded from practicing law and medicine.... OH THE INJUSTICE. I should be able to take a 2 week course and read some picture books and perform surgery, right? IT and development are professional fields that require extensive training. Get over it.

We tried making programming accessible to the common man. These efforts were called things like BASIC, HyperCard and Applescript. And you know what? Common people couldn't even hack it with those. And they were braindead easy to develop in. They were fairly slow but novices could go from blank slate to working program quickly. And still..... most "normal humans" were confused.

"Normal humans" don't see how complex even basic tasks are to the computer itself. They think programmers just punch keys and click all day and it all comes "naturally". They think the job is easy. Computers are insanely complex. GUI's have just made the problem worse because the common misconception is that computers are "simpler" now.

The "normal human" computing skillset consists of opening Word or double clicking the blue E to get to facebook. Sorry, I don't want these people writing software. Most of them have no interest in writing software, either.

The biggest "injustice" is that IT/development folks are generally excluded from any other field after dealing with IT/development for a few years unless we can pull an MBA out of our ass. We are "excluded" far more than most others. And the common line of thought is "this stuff should be simpler so we don't need those weird IT people". The reality is "simpler for end users" means insane complexity under the hood.

spectra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47414901)

"... someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge — and enjoys it. Normal humans..."

One does wonder what those "normal humans" end up doing with themselves? It can't be a big problem, since there sure aren't very many of them.

There's a reason it's called a *spectrum*; and, there's lots of other spectra.

oh i agree... (1)

Kookus (653170) | about 3 months ago | (#47414939)

...with the Finkler part at the end. I've gotten to the same point where I'm coming across "frameworks" that are supposed to be the be all end all of everything you could possible want to develop on to make your enterprise applications. They are designed so generically, and configurably, that they become useless and waste much more time trying to find the right combination of configuration to make things actually work, since they had to duct tape 30 different other kinds of frameworks together into their framework. Not to mention, the documentation falls apart in the end, and the amount of untested combinations leads you to just working your own hacks in.

I walk into a store to buy a hammer and I can find a sub-selection of the ones listed here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]
There's a reason why there's variations, because each one makes a particular job easier. Is this really a bad thing to have so many variations? I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and I certainly don't want to try to make a 1 hammer fits all when it results in a Swiss army knife in which people only use 2 or 3 parts of it.

So yeah, I really like the idea of stability, clarity, and I'd add purpose. Make the frameworks do 1 thing right 99.999% of the time and shoot for 100% before tacking on 29 other things to the side of it to make your Swiss army knife.

what? (1)

a2wflc (705508) | about 3 months ago | (#47414961)

I know quite a few "normal" people who have developed software. I've worked with a doctor (MD) and CPA who learned programming on their own and decided to switch careers. No to mention a lot of people with non-technical backgrounds who got into designing web sites, then javascript, then backend work.

If anything it's getting too easy to get a "software development" job. Lot's of "programmers" work their way up to all levels of "software development" without expanding their understanding of software systems. Lots of others do learn along the way and belong where they rise to. But there is a lot of learning that needs to be done and many colleges don't even give a broad base to start with so even that's not always a good start. My guess is that healthcare.gov had too many people who knew how to program (i.e. "programmers") and not enough who understood systems/engineering ("software engineers" though that term is misused often since people don't understand the "engineering" aspect which takes a lot of learning )

If you want to see "exclusion" from a job try to help a sheetrocker, electrician, or plumber be allowed to be the lead architect for the next 70-story skyscraper. Or see if they can work their way up to that responsibility over the next 20 years without "requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication".

I'm torn (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#47414975)

"Normal" people are why we have security issues in the first place. So many bad design out there. Back in the "glory days" anyone could program, yeah, because few systems had databases full of all kinds of information about many different people with public network access.

In more modern times, systems are hooked up to the Internet and need to be properly designed to not have security holes that can be easily probed by bot nets. Security is now more important than functionality. Better to have something not work than to have a few million names, SSNs, and addresses leaked on the Internet.

On the other hand, I don't want to be stuck doing boring things, so we need normal people who are good enough, and we can't scare them away.

pluEs 4, Troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47415003)

chronic Abuse of [goat.cx]

Let's try this on for size... (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about 3 months ago | (#47415005)

The bigger injustice is that mathematics has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication. The way things are today if you want to be a mathematician you had best be someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge — and enjoys it. Normal humans are effectively excluded from contributing to the field of mathematics. The real injustice of mathematics inequality is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Yeah... that feels about right.

Not True (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47415019)

This may be true from an elitist standpoint, but take the guy that built that Flappy Bird game for example. He's just some Joe Schmoe who not only is not an elitist, but ran away from the public once the slightest hint of controversy came up regarding his game. I think plenty of people can develop software from mobile apps to web apps to business applications, you just have to want to, that's all.

Some are slow on the uptake. (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 3 months ago | (#47415023)

New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives.

Really? What to you so long? I reached that point long ago, like the last part of the last century.

Learning Doing (1)

src1138 (212903) | about 3 months ago | (#47415033)

Eventually your priority shifts from learning new things to actually utilizing your knowledge to do and make things.

Coming up with 20 good ways to build a bridge is not as productive as coming up with one good way and doing it.

Oh, and check your incredible arrogance at the door - normal people are doing much more complex things than coding, and with today's dev tools the entry barrier is significantly lower (and initial learning curve shallower) than it was 20-30 years ago. You are not "special" because you "get" algorithms.

It seems that "regular people" are those that have more than one facet to their life. I wonder if brain surgeons or mechanical engineers ever think like this.

And of course the best answer is to dumb down the subject matter rather than educate the masses...

Douchebags!

anti-intellectualism (0)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about 3 months ago | (#47415037)

The normal humans he talk about are "normal" only if you consider low IQ to be normal, which may be the case. Most of the world has an IQ average well below what the average 100-110 IQ among some populations.

What he is saying is absurd as well in that programming does require special skills so its sort of an oxymoron to say that people who do not have special skills should get involved in something that requires it. Its sort of like saying that we should whine about a heart surgery only being done by heart surgeons and how these heart surgeons should be reviled for having special skills and how we need to open up heart surgery so that any joe off the street can do it. Obviously absurd. With the disasterous affects of the say the OpenSSL bug, the UPNP bugs in 80 million routers at one point, these are cases in point of why you must have conscientous, aware, meticulous people who really know the ins and outs of what they are doing to develop software.

We should encourage people to have any interest, anyone who wants the knowledge, to be able to study heart surgery if they want to, and even become one.

The parent article displays sort of an anti-intellectualist as well. if people want to become a software developer, please do, its not an off limits thing that where only people pre-selected at birth can do it. Anyone can, you just need to learn the skill sets to do it. But he seems to suggest people who don't have a clue should meddle in something they dont understand and that we should almost promote such ignorance, that we have to dumb things down for people who are too clueless to understand things.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?