Cross "learn to code" off your bucket list


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/07/29/cross-learn-to-code-off-yo.html


#2
Cross "learn to code" off your bucket list
If "learn to code" is on your bucket list, you need a better bucket.

#3

I laffed 'cause it was funny, but I do have a nagging feeling that I’d like to be able to code, though I dunno how many hours I’d need to invest in it, and I don’t know if I’d have the free time and stamina to see it through, considering my last formal instruction in coding was in ninth grade, using BASIC on a TRS-80 Model IV circa 1984.

And of course it would depend on what I wanted to do with it, too. If I were immortal, I’d want to learn it all. As it is, I don’t feel I have enough hours to spare. I don’t have time for the hobbies I actually love, like playing rock-n-roll and restoring my Cougar. God knows I spend enough time in front of a screen as it is.


#4

Ditto here! I know that I’d be even more powerful with some strong coding skills (I still think there’s a HUGE hole in the corporate market when it comes to data visualization. Tableau can’t hold a candle to Unreal or Unity3D when it comes to visualizing complex data, and it’s fundamentally very similar) … but I’m partly thinking that it might be better to not do too much deep diving and let other people do the codework. It’s not like it’s hard to find kids that can code, and a game-interface mentality is pretty crucial for complex information delivery.

Plus I’m kind of afraid if I try to learn too much I’ll forget how to drive or something.


#5

“learn to code well” is still on my bucket list, but I don’t think I can fix that for sixty nine bucks


#6

Though I’m no fan of Malcolm Gladwell, I tend to agree with the assessment that if you want to be professionally good at it, 10 000 hours is about right. And that’s 10 000 hours of mostly solving problems.
The problem with “learn to code” is that these days it is a huge subject. It’s a bit like putting “learn medicine” on your list. And it’s expanding all the time. Years ago I was working on an embedded system and a visitor asked “did you learn this stuff at university?” And I replied "No, because it didn’t exist then."
So the first question is, what do you actually want to do? If you want to use computers in music, or if you are brave enough to want to get into embedded programming for use in cars, they are very different. If you want to do web stuff, that’s a whole world of fields. You do get people who claim to be able to do the whole lot, but my belief is that they probably do none of it well.
The most transferable skill is probably pure programming, learning to use things like flowcharts, data lifecycle diagrams and entity relationship diagrams. A lot of modern self styled hackers despise these and try to do everything at the keyboard; the result is usually a spaghetti mess with all the security of a pile of dollar bills left on a street corner in East St Louis. But understanding of pure programming has amazing ramifications - you can use it to design processes which are entirely or mostly human-operated. Read about Richard Feynman’s group’s groundbreaking work in the Manhattan Project.
Bottom line? If you are at all interested in mechanical and electrical stuff and not doing this for a living, I’d look at something like Arduino.
The last commercial system I worked on as system architect and CIO was a distributed web based data collection and analysis system using secure messaging, web interfaces, and two database engines, with fault tolerance, mostly working in J2EE and SQL. Now I’m retired I have a tiny lab and I build little boxes to automate simple tasks, using PIC controllers. I can work on things for an hour or two, and I can see the finished product.
Of course, others will have completely different takes on this.


#7

That’s the stuff that looks most immediately interesting to me. Things with immediately-practical mechanical applications in the neighborhood of home automation and half-assed robotics and stuff like that. I’m much less interested in coding apps or web design or things that don’t help me make skeletons light up and move around at Halloween. :wink:


#8

I’m in East Palo Alto, thank you very much.


#9

I’m much less interested in coding apps or web design or things that don’t help me make skeletons light up and move around at Halloween.

Quick trip to the local mortuary and a few cannisters of Oxygen?


#10

This sounds horribly like UML.

I used to love playing around with PICs.


#11

You will find that eBay is a wonderful source of amazingly cheap stuff from China - that works. Gone are the days of ferreting around in the dustbins behind the local electronics factory (we are talking over 50 years ago here.)

Just make sure you look up the safety rules on isolation between mains power and home circuitry!


#12

UML is basically all the stuff we used to learn, with weaponised jargon and located in one place.


#13

Egads UML should be classified as a dirty word.


#14

Crossed that off my list long before I crossed off “See real boobs in person”.

(I learned early but not early enough to make that 100% not sad)


#15

Cross “learn to code” off your bucket list

You’re right, just crossing it off the list was easier and cheaper than paying to actually learn to code. Thanks, BoingBoingStore!


#16

And the reason I can’t use something like codecadamey for free instead is?


#17

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