Should Everyone Learn to Code?

column | Coding

Should Everyone Learn to Code?

Jan 30, 2014

Joyful podcast conversation here from a site called RubyRogues about the value of teaching programs.

Uberprogrammer Ron Evans (Twitter / GitHub / Blog) from Los Angeles, who founded KidsRuby, a project which helps teach kids to code in Ruby, said that even as he's excited about the enthusiasm of Hour of Code, he still must ask: "We've raised visibility, but visibility to what? There's a lot of reasons why we might want to learn to code."

Evans then asked his own questions: It's not about stacking resumes or honing your brain--but about creating a life. He said:

"The great B.B. King, the blues musician...said there were only three reasons to learn to play music and I’ve always tried to apply this to coding: It’s either to have some fun, make some money, or to learn something. And if you were doing it for any other reason, you should put your guitar down. Or in this case the keyboard."

Evans described how he worked with kids from Baltimore's Digital Harbor High School, which is a public school.

"They came to this class starving for knowledge. We had a box of books that was kindly donated by O’Reilly. Every single one of these books was gone. And these kids, they weren’t grabbing gratuitously. Their questions were hyper-focused. They were, 'How do I build an app and get it on the app store so I can charge for it?'"

"That’s my problem with charging people for [teaching kids to code]: We’re really charging them for access to oxygen."

His challenge: Coders, give back! Help others learn to code. And hey, looks like another CodeDay is coming up fast on Feb. 15. How's that for a digital Valentine?

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