Is Computer Programming the New Literacy?

Friday May 18th 2012 by Developer.com Staff
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Techies consider whether it's better to know how to code for yourself or to hire people to do that for you.

Recently, the development community has been debating the importance of knowing how to code. On one side of the argument are those like Shereef Bishay, founder of Developer Bootcamp, who sees programming skills as the new form of literacy. He notes that 300 years ago, "you would have to hire to write a letter for you, and hire them to read the letter for you." That type of illiteracy would be unthinkable now, and Bishay believes the same sort of transformation is happening with programming languages.

On the other side of the debate is noted developer and StackOverflow.com creator Jeff Atwood, who believes verbal communication skills are much more important than programming skills. "Literacy is the new literacy," he said. "As much as I love code, if my fellow programmers could communicate with other human beings one-tenth as well as they communicate with their interpreters and compilers, they'd have vastly more successful careers."

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