Why I don’t want everyone to learn how to code

Distant Ramblings on the Horizon

…if you can imagine a computer doing something, you can program a computer to do that.

Tim Berners-Lee

We’re told that it is important that every child learns how to code. We have “The Year of Code” and a number of other high profile organisations driving coding into schools. This is the wrong approach.

Using a computer system to solve a problem is a fairly complex process involving a number of identifiable stages. Broadly it can be broken down as follows:

  • Recognise you have a problem
  • Recognise that the problem can partially or wholly be alleviated by the use of a computerised solution
  • Set a budget for the solution (and increase this at several stages through the process)
  • Break down the problem into an algorithm
  • Design an interface that enables the parameters of the problem and the solution to be communicated between computer and humans
  • Design the database to hold…

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