Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Should you learn to code?

by Chuck Solly | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | March 14th, 2018

Do things look bleak in your working life? Every job is a contract position. Nothing comes with health care. Many of us carry so much debt.

Not if you can code…

You probably already do code. You do it in Excel or Google Spreadsheets. You run little processes in a sequence or do a series of find-and-replace routines in a big document. How many Find and Replace routines have you done in your computer career?

Programming as a career can lead to a rewarding, solidly middle-class existence. If you are inclined and enjoy the work, it’s a good way to spend time, and if you work for and with good people, it can be very fun—even the dry parts have something to teach you.

Of course, this is true of any place where smart people work. If your situation is lousy, you can probably find another job more easily than, say, a writer. If you are a little older or retired it can be a second career or just a fun skill with which to impress the younger know-it-alls.

The industry twists and turns so often, though, that who knows what the next 10 or 20 years will bring?

The iPhone, and mobile in general, created a brief renaissance for people who could program using lower-level languages such as Objective-C, people who could worry about a computer’s memory. Perhaps the Internet of Things will turn everything into a sensor.

Did you know that you wander Disney World with a wristband tracking your location; the whole place is a computer. This will require yet more low-level thinking. And then there will be websites to make, apps to build, and on and on.

There’s likely to be work for a coder. But it’s a global industry, and there are thousands of people in India with great degrees. Some used to work at Microsoft, Google, and IBM. The same things that made programming a massive world-spanning superstructure -- that you can ship nothing and charge for it -- make it the perfect globalized industry.

There’s simply no reason, aside from prejudice, to think that Mumbai or Seoul can’t make big, complex things as well as Palo Alto or Seattle.

Aside from the flu, trips to Las Vegas and the occasional trip out of town for a wedding, I’ve used a computer every day for 28 years. I learn about the world through software. I learned about computer-aided-design from CADKEY and AutoCad, and I learned about color and art by using a program called Paint Shop Pro. Software taught me math and basic statistics. It taught me how to calculate great circle distance, estimating the distance between two points on a globe. I learned about the Internet by creating Web pages, and I learned how to do a Find and Replace from many editors. And most of all, software taught me about software. So am I a coder or not? You decide.

You might learn to program because there’s a new economy as irrational, weird, and painful as the old one. Books and songs are now rows in databases, and whole films are made on CPUs, without a real ray of light penetrating a lens. Maybe learning to code will give you a decoder ring for the future.

The coder-turned-venture-capitalist-turned-Twitter-public-intellectual Marc Andreessen wrote that software is eating the world. If that’s true, you should at least know why it’s so hungry.

What code can I use? What software will teach me what I need to know? When I want to learn something and no software exists, the vacuum bugs me—why isn’t someone on this?

This is what Silicon Valley must be thinking, too, as it optimizes the hell out of every industry it can, making software (and the keepers of that software) the middlemen. The Valley has the world in its sights. Government, industry, social services, human sexuality, agriculture: They want to get in there and influence the whole shebang.

Skilled practitioners have transformed this industry, to their near-total benefit. The aforementioned Mark Andreessen says that “Bookstores exist now in opposition to Amazon, and Amazon’s interpretation of an electronic book is the reference point for the world. For its part, Amazon is not really a bookseller as much as a set of optimization problems around digital and physical distribution.”

So are you going to learn to code regardless of your age? You decide.

www.g2crowd.com

Recently in:

News

​Expecting suicides

by C.S. Hagen

BISMARCK – Jessie Quinn and J.S. may soon have two choices: relocate, buy black-market opioids, or commit suicide, and Quinn’s options are even more limited. At 65 years old and after 25 years battling degenerate spinal issues,…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.com“North Dakota (and Minnesota) nice” is an attitude, a stereotype, and a way of life that has permeated our region, as well as perceptions of the Midwest, since as long as people have been…

Friday, March 22, 6-8 p.m.Red Raven Espresso Parlor, 916 Main Ave, FargoDigital photos from North Dakota’s backroads. Hornung has been exploring the roads less traveled for close to a decade. Carefully documenting and collecting…

It is possible, even ethical, to stand behind Israel and criticize the nation at the same time. No country, no man or woman, is without fault. While we at the High Plains Reader believe the U.S. House of Representatives’…

The Battle Between Extreme Capitalism And Democratic SocialismAfter Vice-President Mike Pence representing racial and extreme capitalism ended his scathing rant about democratic socialism at the Conservative Political Action…

The eighth week of this year’s HPR Cocktail Showdown was another tripleheader for our panel of judges. On this particular week, we found ourselves focused on a trio of downtown dining and entertainment establishments to visit…

In rural Minnesota, outside of Park Rapids, Amy Thielen was attempting to light her wood-fired oven. It is in her brand-new kitchen that she hopes to teach cooking classes out of, which is a far cry from what it was when she and…

The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra has had its fair share of guest performances headlining its concerts over the years. They all have impressive resumes, their fair share of awards, and worldwide recognition. However, bringing…

The 19th Fargo Festival begins on Tuesday, March 19th and runs until Saturday, March 23. Continuing a tradition of excellence in local arts programming, the event provides both casual moviegoers and cinephiles with multiple…

Hidden away in the tiny North Dakota town of Lefor I find Karen Valley, an author and an artist. She is without a doubt the artist’s artist. Her soul is art, talent and words. Meeting her is a true experience in finding a soul so…

To many people unfamiliar with the wide range of the musical genre, the word ‘opera’ conjures up stereotypical images of people in period costumes and large women in Viking garb singing in foreign languages. The truth, however,…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

I’ve got a problem. I need to write a column that is going to be kind of critical of three people I like, and I’m trying to figure out how to do it without making them all angry at me. Their names are Sara, Doug and Marvin.…