Please Do Learn How to Propose Better Solutions


Software development is not code. It's solving problems. Before you learn how to code, learn how to propose better solutions. By Gina Trapani (Founder, ThinkUp)

In a post entitled Please Don't Learn How to Code, software developer Jeff Atwood argues that the "everyone should learn programming" meme has gotten out of control, and that most people don't need to learn how to code.

I mostly disagree with Atwood's premise and land on Benjamin Stein's side of the argument.

Coding teaches you analytical thinking skills, logic workflows, and debugging like no other activity can, and you can apply those skills to lots of situations beyond actually building production apps.

But Atwood hit one nail right on the head that I can't stress enough to people who want to make digital tools:

"[Coding] puts the method before the problem. Before you go rushing out to learn to code, figure out what your problem actually is. Do you even have a problem? Can you explain it to others in a way they can understand? Have you researched the problem, and its possible solutions, deeply? Does coding solve that problem? Are you sure?"

I often get email from people who "have a great idea for an app" or newcomers who want to contribute to ThinkUp but aren't programmers. These people are convinced the first thing they have to do is learn how to write code. It isn't.

» Read the full article at Smarterware. Photo credit: Hugh MacLeod.