why do we need to study computer programming

numerous cathedrals are offering short courses in Latin is a reminder of the long decline of the language over the years. It was a core subject in the British education system until fairly recently Б and not because anyone planned to speak it, of course. It was believed to offer valuable training for intellectual composition, as well as skills and thinking that were transferable to other fields. It may have been the right decision, but when it was ultimately decided that these advantages were outweighed by Latin being a dead language we arguably lost that intellectual training in the process. This is why we want to make the case for moving another discipline to the centre of the curriculum that offers analogous benefits Б computer programming. And unlike Latin, it is anything but dead. Noam lore. ,
There are many computer languages for different purposes. C and C++ remain the fastest to execute and are used by the gaming industry, for instance. In the internet era, much of the page design is done with the likes of javascript or PHP. Meanwhile Python has been rapidly gaining a reputation as a general purpose code that is easy to learn. There are many parallels between natural languages and programming languages like these. You must learn to express yourself within the rules of the language. There is a grammar to comprehend. And what you write must be interpretable by another human being. (Yes, it must be interpretable by a computer. But just as of Бcolourless green ideas sleep furiouslyБ is grammatically correct nonsense, you can write obfuscated computer code that no one else can decipher. ) People who program can communicate with computers, which is becoming more and more important now that computers have a hand in almost everything. In todayБs IT-literate world, we are all expected to be fluent in word processing and spreadsheets. The next logical step is to be able to program. The younger generation are already exposed to computers almost from the day they are born, which explains for example Barclays bankБs of Code Playground, an initiative to engage young children in the basics of programming via a colourful website. There is a myth that only maths geniuses are suited to programming. It is more accurate to say you need a logical approach and an ability to problem solve.


Just as Latin constructs reinforce communication, programming constructs reinforce problem solving. It teaches you to break a problem into achievable chunks and to think very precisely. And once you have mastered the basics, it opens up great potential for creative thinking. Then there are specific workplace benefits, such as for businesses that are building a bespoke piece of software. Errors sometimes occur when documents outlining in English how a program should work are translated into computer code. Those who have an appreciation of a programming language can write these more clearly. Indeed, businesses usually have to employ specialist analysts as intermediaries to help with this translation process. As computers become more dominant, those who donБt know how to think in this way risk being increasingly left behind. We can foresee a time when greater numbers of people become interested in learning to program for themselves, but in the meantime there is a great case for making the basics of computer programming a core skill at school. One candidate language would be, itБs freely available and one of the easier programming languages to learn Б compared, say, to C/C++. It has grown in popularity in recent years, initially for this simplicity but lately because it has been adopted by the. It is likely to be around for a few years and not become a dead language any time soon. There are (online courses) to get you started. If a teacher walked into a classroom and told todayБs students they were going to study a dead language, you can imagine the reaction. Imagine instead introducing them to an easy-to-use programming language which is probably already installed on their laptops. It can allow them to automate many boring tasks such as checking email and sending out pre-written responses; or receive custom notifications by text; or download files or copy text from a website whenever it updates. ItБs time that those in charge of education policy recognised the shift in employability skills and the need for a new generation of problem solvers. We may have reached the point where the three Rs of education Б reading, writing and Бrithmetic Б should become the four Rs, with the addition of programming. Or 'rogramming, as we would soon get used to calling it.


Lots of people get into programming because they love the challenge, are excited by computers and want to build a career creating websites, mobile apps or desktop programs. But even if you don t want to become a programmer for a living, it s still worth your time to learn how to program. I mean this in all seriousness: if computers are at all a part of your life, then learning to program is going to improve your life. And I don t mean in that sort of nebulous, improve your mind, expand your thinking skills and make you a better person sort-of-way. Learning to program can make you more productive, efficient and effective. Here s a real-world example: one of my colleagues at Treehouse is a video professional who films and edits courses for our site. In the process of preparing a course, Wade needs to deal with many different files video, audio, motion graphics, and more. Because he s very organized, he creates a set of folders to organize these materials by type, lesson and course. This requires dozens of new folders for each project. He used to create each of those folders manually for each project. Then he took our course, and with a little additional research created a simple script that creates all of the folders for him. This program asks where to create the folders, the name of the course and the number of lessons in the course. It then creates dozens of folders, all properly named for a specific project. What used to be a tedious chore, is now a simple three step process that takes just seconds to complete. He s not a programming professional, but he s using programming to make his work easier. Many of the programs people use everyday can be programmed in some way. Excel, for example, lets you create simple macros to aid in creatingPand working with spreadsheets. Many Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects can be automated using javascript programming. The Macintosh operating system also lets you automate some of the features of the computer using AppleScript and starting with the Yosemite operating system javascript. There s probably some application you use daily that, if you learned to program, could help you do your work better and faster. I program all sorts of small utilities that help me get my work done each day.


For example, Pone weekly report at work provides various data about my courses it s an HTML table full of data. I wanted to see that data in a different way, so I wrote a small bookmarklet (javascript code that you can run on any page in a web browser) that reads the data from the table, displays a new column of stats and color codes the results. This helps me to better see how my course is doing. Here s another example one particularly annoying form that I have to fill out dozens of times a month requires that I click several buttons, one after the other, in order to complete a task. Another teacher here at Treehouse, created a bookmarklet that clicks all of the buttons with one commandP saving me a lot of mousing around and clicking. An easy program to write, but a big productivity boost for me. I have dozens of these types of programs that I ve written. Some take less than an hour to write, but will probably end up saving me dozens of hours of frustration. I even wrote a program to solve one of our video production problems: teachers often usePteleprompters which display text on a mirrored surface in front of a camera. TheyPhelp teachers remember their scripts and deliver their presentations without errors. The problem is that most teleprompter software isn t very good, and it isn t free. So, using HTML, CSS and javascript I createdPmy own teleprompter in less than a day s worth of programming. I found an itch, and used my programming skills to scratch it. But more than just solving daily work problems, programming is fun. It s problem solving at its best. And, thoughPcreating something like Facebook might require a lot of programming experience, these simple programs I ve talked about here don t. In fact, it s really fun to come up with a program no matter how simple to solve an every day problem. In other words: you don t need to dedicate your career to programming to add programming to your career. Start learning a language like Python, javascript, Ruby or Java today and you could very well be making your life easier, while having fun doing it. What small programs or coding projects have you created to make your life easier? We d love to hear about them. Maybe we need to use it here at Treehouse

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