Does code matter?
Well, I have already mentioned Codecademy’s approach and will get back to this.
Disclosure: I have been using their site to look at their lessons for 97 days, now. There are other sites of this type, but their setup is nice to use to twiddle with a little code each day. But, I have a bunch of content to worry about, too, and, unfortunately, or fortunately, the world of content and code are disjoint (actually, the former – truth engineering would have us get those two better related).
This month, May, in the CACM, Bertrand Meyer has a little article, “Those who say code does not matter.” He mentions that he’s going to look at the agile side, see what they have to offer, and get back to us. Who on the agile side is going to listen to the older folks, like myself? Say what?
My time using Codecademy, and playing with some stuff, has basically been for the purpose of seeing where things have gone the past 1/2 decade (at which time, I had left Lisp/C and moved over to Python/Perl). Then, a need to focus on content came to fore.
Is it that the youth take over software (modern programmers) due to their energy? From my observations, this has happened with each succeeding generation with a measurable period. The real trouble is that the older folks let this happen. Well, what prevents things from unfolding?
Mind you, we’ll get back to this, the whole context has to do with the genie that was let out of the bottle when IP was let out into the world (wild west style – as in, like post-Jefferson’s purchase, a whole lot of area opened up for the taking, irrespective of the occupants at the time). Sure, many billionaires (millionaires) have ensued. Does that outweigh the negative impacts (to be defined — SAT solvers, and more)?
I will say that arguments about lack of people who can do the work (required by the new paradigms, such as webbiness or cloud’dness) is plain wrong. There are lots of older programmers about who can be trained. BTW, I was into objects in the very early stages and worked thusly for many moons. … It’s more a cultural thing (but how can one argue with the monied? as in, if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? — near-zero, people, near-zero as the reality) as USA Today reported: the silicon’d valley being a testosterone pot of mostly white males. I say, too, this: look around and you will see all sorts of havoc wrought by these ones (even if they have big pockets thereby) due to several lacks (which I am prepared to discuss, maturely and rationally).
Any way, back to code. The more who know, and are familiar with, code, the better. Code as a lingua franca? Well, not (but the point is arguable). I did know of someone who, in the ’70s, was allowed to use FORTRAN (what’s that, the young folks ask?) as a foreign language at a college. So, there’s nothing new there.
Put it this way: just as mathematics has been given more power than is actually there (a matter of being, folks – we have been overlaid insidiously – again, to be defined further) so too is code deficient in a whole lot of areas.
Disclosure: 50+ languages (not counting DB systems, OSs, etc) used, in modes that contributed to oodles of projects on all sorts of platforms and under all sorts of user requirements including running the whole gamut (early AI applications – way before agile – there, before it was cool, so to speak) to the more structured as shown by attaining SEI/CMMI Level 5.