What Is Code?

Put simply, code is scary. Programming is intimidating. Using computers for anything beyond facebook, google, and essay writing can feel daunting; particularly when you are a liberal arts student earning a degree in international relations. Of course, that same student has spent years trying to master a foreign language to better understand the way the world works, so why not the language of programmers to better understand the way the digital world works? For some reason we (we being the humanities students of the world) believe that we can’t code, that it’s only for the math and science students. We give up before we even try, and then we can’t seem to understand what on earth the programmers are talking about when we go into the work force. But how much of that is true inability to understand, and how much is a belief that we can’t or won’t understand. In the 7th grade they tried to make us use scratch in a general “computer class”. The teacher was socially awkward, couldn’t relate to 13 year olds, and failed to engage us in so that we understood how important what we were learning was. Fast forward to college and freshman year most of us had never even heard of computer science let alone knew how to code, never realizing it was what our 7th grade teachers were trying to teach us with scratch. Now speaking with most compsci majors, they tell us “non-programmers” it’s useless to take the basic classes our university offers because they don’t teach the right language.

There is a disconnect between programmers and the rest of the world. However, it is becoming increasingly important that we bridge this gap. As we advance into the 21st century, our technology becomes increasingly complicated and we, currently, non-programmers will be left in the dust if we don’t try to catch up. The article “What Is Code?” gave the example of the fictional boss and the young wizkid programmer. By the end of the article they were finally able to work together, accomplishing something neither could have accomplished on their own, but not before they wasted a substantial amount of time due to poor communication and what appeared to the reader to be a mutual lack of respect. This disrespect and miscommunication could be solved if we begin implementing basic principles of coding in elementary schools, but making it fun and ensuring that students understand the implications of what applications like scratch really are. Beyond that we need workshops for adults already in the workforce who missed out on the coding revolution. Now more than ever it is critical that we unite the programmers with the rest of the world. If we all understood each other just a bit better we could improve by leaps and bounds in every industry. Then again if we all understood each other just a bit better, we would have world peace, but streamlined industry is as good a place as any to start!