Can everyone learn to code? According to software engineer Yevgeniy Brikman, that’s a wrong way to formulate questions. He believes that there’s a huge difference between coding and learning IT. What is a more valuable skill?
Don’t learn to code. Learn to think!
It seems like everyone’s trying to learn to code: the Code.org website provides such examples as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Chris Bosh when claiming that everyone can code, CoderDojo is an organization that teaches coding all over UK, and coding classes are included in the official elementary school curriculum.
Can everyone code? What if everyone had some knowledge of coding? Coding shouldn’t be a goal in itself, however. Computers and code are only tools. They are means to achieve ends.
The real goal should be teaching people a new way to think.
What is IT?
To simplify, IT is the science of counting, as in processing numeric Data. There are many branches of this science, and here are some of them:
- Problem solving: learning algorithms, which are general problem solving strategies, such as the famous divide and conquer, recurrence, heuristic approaches, or searching – they allow you to model, break down and solve all kinds of problems.
- Logic: using precise and formalized Thinking methods, including abstract Thinking, algebra, number theory and set theory, so that you can quickly and easily solve problems.
- Data: you familiarize yourself with a theory and start asking questions such as: what is information? What are the ways to represent it? How do we shape reality?
- Thinking: one of the best ways to understand human mind is trying to recreate it. Such topics as artificial intelligence, machine learning, image recognition and natural language processing remain the leading topics not only when it comes to IT but also biology, psychology, philosophy and mathematics.
What is coding?
Coding or Programming is a way you provide the computer with instructions of performing a particular operation. If you have never coded before, chances are you have gotten used to the standard way of using a computer, by clicking icons existing within a particular application.
Coding is based on IT principles mentioned above. It is worth noting that the same set of terms – Logic, algorithms, Data, system engineering – can be utilized to construct any program, from a web browser, like the one you’re reading this entry in, all the way to an airplane autopilot software.
Although coding requires mathematics to a large degree and use of different structures in a similar amount, it is also an incredibly creative exercise: you bring life to new products, line by line.