You can't learn to code in a day

A lot of people are talking about how everyone else should learn how to code
So sure enough at work, like just about everywhere else it seems, there was the spurious suggestion put up that we should have a day to “learn how to code” for non-developers. This was probably prompted by a whole load of noise on the internets about Code Day, Code for America, Codeycodecode, Code for Hope and Freedom, Code-a-rama and whatever other million days and events that are being organised by otherwise rational and enthusiastic software developers who ostensibly want everyone else to be software developers as well.

People like to think that getting kids to learn how to code will create jobs in the future again for white people

Coding is important. This much is inarguably true. Computers and the software that runs on them run more and more of our increasingly interconnected and networked lives. The assumption is that as this happens we’re going to need more people to make all this software that runs things. Following this division of labour logic, the only way for countries like the US and the UK, where all the hullabaloo is about this stuff, to get ahead is to make software like we used to make stuff. Because we don’t make stuff anymore, and people like India and China are, and they’re the ones growing, if we make stuff again, like software, then we’ll be doing well again like we were in the ca. 1850 – 1980. We had a pretty good streak back then and if we tool up the white collar and office park factories we’ll get back in the lead.

Learning to code is great if you are 20, single and have about 5 spare years on your hands

The elephant next to the fusball table nobody in the tech industry is talking about of course is that the reason more people aren’t coders is because they aren’t already coders. It is hard, very hard. You can’t just learn it in a day, week or even a year. It takes an excruciatingly long time to learn how to build software and to think that you as an expert can teach a room full of 20 earnest and willing moms who’s kids are all off to school, out of work office managers and bored retirees to do anything remotely useful in less than a couple of years is misguided to say the least.

Designers are designers and accountants accountants precisely because they aren’t good at coding. Leave them alone, maybe they don’t want to. And maybe, just maybe not all of us want to be the next Zuckerberg

It’s romantic. It really is. It couldn’t be better of an idea in theory that I, as a designer, can simply just learn to make the stuff I design and then I’ll be part of some O’Reilly empowered new economy 4.0 of sharing, disruption, funding rounds and eternal leveraging. Fact is that I’m not going to do any of these wonderful things and way over the 18 year mark for being the coding genius to do these sorts of things anyhow. But that’s okay because I’m not a coder and not going to be one anytime soon and likely neither are you. Instead we’ll do stuff that we might already be good at or enjoy.