Codecademy‘s Code Year is a weekly lesson for people who want to learn how to program. Over at Slate, Farhad Manjoo explains a few good reasons why you might want to do that at all, with a quick quote from me. When Manjoo emailed, he asked, “What are some good reasons for people to be more familiar with programming?” I replied:
First and foremost, learning to code demystifies tech in a way that empowers and enlightens. When you start coding you realize that every digital tool you have ever used involved lines of code just like the ones you’re writing, and that if you want to make an existing app better, you can do just that with the same foreach and if-then constructs every coder has ever used. Learning how to code also makes you respect the incredible accomplishments of all the engineers who came before you, the importance of good data, and the systems and services we all take for granted every day, even mundane things like the software that runs an elevator or processes a credit card.
Secondly, an app is an act of self-expression, the same way a novel, a painting, a Lego starship, or a gourmet meal is. The difference is you can distribute your app to millions of people from your spare room over a phone line, so the potential impact of your creation is enormous. You can do the same with a blog post or an ebook, but a software app is a utility as well as a work of art. If you make a great one, it can become an intimate part of your users’ everyday life, like their fork or belt.
To be completely honest with you, learning and knowing how to code is a huge power trip. It’s hard work, but if you keep at it, you’ll experience one revelation after another, and in the end, you’re a mini-god. You can say “I made that machine perform an action I imagined in my head with these words.” That’s the best feeling in the whole world.
You Need To Learn How To Program [Slate]