I cannot name any other group of topics that have the potential to get people into heated debates like Religion, Politics and Code. Even though I have been in technology for over 15 years, I am still surprised at the fervor that many bring to a technology stack debate. It’s as if our stack of choice is akin to our religious or political affiliation. It’s silly and I generally do not have much to say about all the fuss but it really bothers me when these debates spill over into the #LearnToCode world. This world should be free of all politics and religion.
Often I hear established programmers proclaim to an aspiring programmers that their stack of choice is the way to go. Out of instinct and habit they often enter into some type of rehearsed, one sided debate about why they are right, ignoring the fact that the novice before them probably did not understand a single thing that was just said.
Learning to code is hard enough. Imposing our own beliefs on to a young programmer makes no sense. I want us to refocus on to the most important thing in any of these discussions; the fact that someone wants to #learnToCode. We need to make sure that what they are learning is engaging, enjoyable and rewarding to them, not us. We need to make sure that the first few steps are not going to scare or confuse.
As a technology community we cannot afford to lose any potential programmers. We need as many as we can get so it’s with that goal in mind that I do one or all of the following.
I find out what type of programming or scripting they would like most. I ask if they have any resources that they can leverage like a friend or relative that already programs. I encourage them to bug said friend knowing that most developers are happy to answer the plea of another. I point them to many of the online resources that I know and give them some key words to Google so that they can get started on their own research. I do this even though it may not be my stack of choice.
You may have a healthy amount of feedback regarding this post. I know.