TITLE: "You can code. That is pretty damn cool." AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: June 27, 2011 5:03 PM DESC: ----- BODY: I've been off-line a lot lately, doing physical therapy for my knee and traveling a bit. That means I have a lot of fun reading to catch up on! One page that made the rounds recently is Advice From An Old Programmer, from Zed Shaw's intro book, Learn Python The Hard Way. Shaw has always been a thoughtful developer and an entertaining writer with a unique take on programming. Now he has put his money where his mouth is with a book that aims to teach programming in a style he thinks most effective for learners. I look forward to digging into the book soon, but for now his advice page has piqued a lot of interest. For example:
Programming as a profession is only moderately interesting. It can be a good job, but you could make about the same money and be happier running a fast food joint. You're much better off using code as your secret weapon in another profession.
As a matter of personal opinion, I disagree with the first sentence, and could never make the switch discussed in the second. But I do think that the idea of programming as a secret weapon in other professions has a lot to offer people who would never want to be computer scientists or full-time software developers. It's a powerful tool that frees you from wishing you have a programmer around. It changes how you can think about problems in your discipline and lets you ask new questions. Finally, Shaw tells his readers not too worry when non-programmers treat them badly because they are now nerds who can program. He gives good reasons why you shouldn't care about such taunts, and then sums it up in a Zed Shaw-like killer closing line:
You can code. They cannot. That is pretty damn cool.
Amen. -----