Should Everyone Learn to Program?

As the computer has become more and more ubiquitous over the past few decades, program has become more and more popular with it. This popularization is immediately visible, too, we’ve seen school after school invest in computer science programs, dozens of apps that revolve around making programming easier and more understandable have flooded app stores across all platforms. Needless to say, programming is more popular than ever, but should it become so popular that everyone should learn it? Should we put as much of an emphasis on learning a programming language as we do learning a primary language, such as English? Well, not exactly. While programming is certainly extremely important to the advancement of technology, that doesn’t mean that everyone should learn it. Learning programming is more like learning an instrument or even trade than another language. That’s because learning a programming language is typically done for the sake of making something with the language you’ve learned. When you learn a world language, you typically do so to communicate. When you learn a programming language, you do so to make something. The type of work that goes into learning a programming language, while certainly homologous to that of a world language, is much more analogous to learning an instrument. I guess what I’m trying to say is that programming requires a specific mindset, the way an instrument does, and that means that we shouldn’t try to force it on everyone, but we should certainly offer it. On the other hand, the computer science classes that more and more schools are developing are certainly important, if not for teaching computer skills, than for teaching computer literacy, which is getting more and more important as technology becomes more and more intertwined with our everyday lives.

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