Learning to program does not mean you’ll be a programmer just as learning to read and write does not mean you will become a writer or a professional speaker. But they are a fundamental part of the skills you now need to develop as a person and find meaningful employment. Which I think is pretty important right?
So why do we learn to read and write?
For me, it’s all about survival and communication.
We learn to read and write because we have to survive and to survive we have to communicate. “Run, here comes a tiger!” etc Being able to read a sign warning you not to cross the motorway/freeway can save your life. Being able to write a CV/resume will help find you work so you can feed yourself and your family.
These are skills that are vital to everyday activities in the modern.
Likewise understanding technology is now a fundamental part of that skill set because you now need to communicate to/with technology.
Learning and understanding how computing influences your world and how you can influence those technologies is now part of our everyday activities: from sending email, sharing photographs, buying groceries to making sure your details are safe online and making sure your children are safe online.
So learning to program does not mean you’ll be a programmer anymore than learning to write means you’ll be a writer. But what it does do is provide you with some very powerful ways to think and interact with our, now largely digital world, which will make it much easier for you to communicate with and using technology.
The basis of this post came after I was asked a great question when talking to a parent about their children going to a local computing club which went along the lines of “what’s the point of learning to program if they don’t want to be programmers?”.
I usually respond with anecdotal evidence that it “helps with problem solving” but I find that a bit wooly so I gave it a bit more thought and replied that “it helps them to communicate and I think communication is at the heart of everything we do and today that’s largely reliant technology”.