The Solution is everyone becoming a coder? No way… by Ignasi Lirio

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Today I found myself gently arguing with a fellow skilled developer about a new JS/CSS framework (yet another one!) that helps designers to build strong, beautiful web apps.

My point was the usual one: the idea is very cool, but look at the CSS class names this framework uses. They all are of the kind of:

cmp_btn — sdn-rnd__b2–2

(for instance!)

— “This looks to me, and to many people, as the typical all-in-one, long, cumbersome german word” — I did say.

— “But it follows a robust necessary logic!” — He replied.

And of course, He’s right. And I agree. But I guess He didn’t got my argument. Even though the creators of such that software framework have surely made their best to make a logic, scalable, shortest possible syntax for that, that code chunk still means nothing to most of people. But not everyone has to understand that, just developers. And this is my point!

In the world we’re living in where most jobs are going to be taken over by machines, robots or software solutions, unemployment it’s likely to become the single, most painful problem for most human beings. Almost every detail of our existence as consumers will be driven by some sort of software. And not just we as humans but all the things that surrounds us, as the big hype of the IoT is becoming a reality.

This is not a big deal for all the guys out there convinced that this is just another industrial revolution, no different from others from the past, and that the blown up jobs will be nicely replaced by others. Even if this comes to be true (that I doubt it), what kind of career shift may be propose to all that bunch of unemployed people?

“If everything is controlled by machines controlled by software, we’ll need a lot of developers for that”

This is a common response. So now there’s more people than never trying to learn how to write code. People that never was in this business, coming from many other professional profiles (but they all needing a job). There are plans to establigh programming code as a mandatory subject in the school since the early years, allocating significant amount of weekly hours for that.

I think this is a mistake.

The solution for the rampant unemployment is everyone becoming a coder?
Sorry, I don’t agree.

I am not a full-time professional developer myself, though I’ve been writing a lot of code since many years ago. I’ve spent countless hours in front of a computer screen typing lines and lines of Assembler, C++, Java, ActionScript, HTML, CSS, etc. I also have spent countless hours teaching IT to non-developer professionals.

And I think this is not for everyone, just like not everyone is meant to become a singer, doctor or poet.

Most people are used to express themselves using natural language. Start minding about case sensitivity, absence of white spaces to separate words and all of the peculiar details of this world can be very disgusting for most people. Although many may claim that some steps have been made in order to make IT clearer and closer to people, reality is still obscure and obfuscating.

Most people are educated to read information in their natural language, structured in the shape of books. Books have introductions, titles, paragraphs, sentences on it, etc. That’s the way most people in the world are educated. If you force them to accept something as harsh as GitHub as the new paradigm for learning, they’d probably fail. Developing code is something made by geeks/nerds for geeks/nerds. They never had the necessity to be understood by other kind of people.

And, at the end, most probably these tasks of developing and debugging code for the myriad of hardware that will control our lives will be made by machines as well, so even after painfully learnt how to code, that new job (if found!) won’t last long.

So I don’t think the “Everyone become a coder” mantra that floats around these days is a good idea. We are human beings, all different, all valuable with our particular features. We’ll need good coders, and new people will find happiness coding, but we also need all sorts of people other than coders. It makes no sense to pull everyone into a world they are not meant for. Let’s better build an Economy and an Ecology based on Talent-diversity and Bio-diversity.

An article by Ignasi Lirio originally published in its Medium


  1. wenmusic

    Muy cierto. Cada vez se nota más en las formaciones que hay gente muy alejada del mundo de la programación. Aunque, por otra parte, está bien que mucha gente tenga unas mínimas nociones, un pequeño acercamiento al menos a la programación cada vez más presente. Quizá muchos no se conviertan en desarrolladores profesionales, pero seguro que ganarán más perspectiva y tratarán con las máquinas de una forma más inteligente y menos frustrante (o más, ¡quién sabe! Jajaja)

  2. Alquimista

    No me voy a enredar en un debate que adivino estéril, así que me limitaré a hacer una pregunta: ¿de verdad creías que las clases de mecánica que recibiste mientras te sacabas el carnet de conducir iban encaminadas a hacer de ti un mecánico profesional? Porque si es así es que no te has enterado de nada.

    1. Ignacio Lirio

      Entiendo tu pregunta “Alquimista” y creo que tu inciso es acertado y nada estéril.

      Pero yo creo que las situaciones o contextos son distintos. Me explico.

      Cuando era niño también recibí clases de programación rudimentarias. Era una hora a la semana, pero creo que era acertado pues era introducir a los niños de mi generación a unas tecnologías que apenas iniciaban. Pero de lo que hablo en mi artículo es algo distinto. Me refiero a que las circunstancias que vivimos ahora están sobredimensionando la profesión de programador como nunca antes en la historia se ha visto. Esto está creando lógicamente una escasez en la oferta, que conjugada con este tsunami de desempleo irreversible que vivimos, pone a mucha gente en el brete de tener que aprender a programar si desea tener alguna perspectiva de volver a tener un empleo más o menos remunerado. Y eso es empujar a mucha gente a hacer cosas que no solo no le gustan, si no que van en contra de sus esquemas mentales.

      Es como querer que todo el mundo sea ilustrador o psicólogo.

      El mundo de la programación es peculiar, endogámico (como casi todos los gremios) y no es plato de buen gusto para una mayoría de la gente.

      Otra cosa es que se abran las escuelas al conocimiento tecnológico, igual que se están abriendo por ejemplo a la gestión de las emociones.

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