‘Puters Is Complimicated

Did you know that computers are actually very complex pieces of machinery? We have built remarkably complex systems for symbolic manipulation, and using these we create ever more interesting pieces of software.

Laypeople frequently assume that because coding is the manipulation of a mechanical process it must be itself a mechanical process. I suppose in some ways it is, much as the sentences you are reading now are governed by mechanical laws.

Matters, order does. Verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs are permitted orders with flexibility. Convoluted structures makes finding errors all the more difficult. Not all that is grammatical is pleasing to the eye.

So, sure, coding is mechanical just like any form of expression. The problem is at least half of programmers do not understand that they are doing something requiring nuance. They see programming as a way to get a computer to do what they want. If it works then that’s all that matters, right?

They don’t consider the time that they spend hunting for errors in the mess they’re created or how difficult it will be to fix what they’re created in the future. They don’t think about the people that have to come along after them and maintain their work.

Every programming class I have ever seen has only focused entirely on a program taking an input and generating an output. So long as it works, it passes. If I ever am in a position to teach a programming class, I’m going to do my best to train my students how to get the job done well.

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