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(The Register)   No surprise there: "Coding is suitable only for exceptionally dull weirdos"   (theregister.co.uk) divider line 196
    More: Obvious, line coding, I-CT, religious education, Algebra, programming languages  
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4076 clicks; posted to Geek » on 28 Oct 2013 at 9:40 AM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-28 11:22:24 AM
The description fits me well. I am happy, however, to be compared favorably to a plumber or car mechanic.
 
2013-10-28 11:22:38 AM
The purpose of teaching kids code is not to teach them to be coders, it's to plant a bug in the head of the ones who have the knack/aptitude/interest they might never otherwise know is there. Also, it's remarkable what a little bit of information at a young age does to internalize concepts for later learning.
 
2013-10-28 11:23:38 AM

THE GREAT NAME: Most software gets written by a battle of wills between (a) coders who are mediocre social dropouts who are willing to immerse themselves in code but don't have any real skills to bring to the table except a pedantic knowledge of the language and/or libraries and (b) managers who are no smarter than the coders but believe themselves to posess superior interpersonal/business skills, and insist on making technical descisions solely for the purposes of propping up that illusion.

As a result, most software projects get all farked up.

If you actually know how difficult software is to get right (this is a rhetorical qurestion - you the reader most likely aren't smart or exprienced enough) you would know that most practical development operations are about medocre lackwits trying to hide the fact that they are all out of their depth. It's like trying to hide all your enriched uranium shavings by sweeping them into a corner :- sooner or later things are going to blow up on you.


Well the important thing is that you found a way to feel superior to both.

/You sound unemployed and non-technical.
 
2013-10-28 11:25:03 AM

serial_crusher: dittybopper: RedPhoenix122: dittybopper: Not only that, it teaches you how to look at problems in a logical fashion.  And logic is something sorely missing from a large segment of the population.

Agreed.  Hell, even an Intro to Philosophy: Logic requirement would be nice.  Or Discrete Math.  Something that involves how to form a conclusion based on evidence rather than what some talking head told them.

Personally, I think ever single student should have a class called something like "Application of arithmetic to every day life".

It would consist of nothing but word problems where the student has to figure out real-life stuff and the optimal answer can be derived by addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

I don't know how many times people around me, including some very smart people, haven't been able to recognize how to find the optimum solution to a problem when all that was required to solve it was simple, elementary-school level arithmetic.

The problem isn't that they couldn't do it, they just didn't recognize that there was a way to do it.

Separate class seems kind of odd.  That should be part of learning the math itself.  But I agree, it often isn't.
The math books my high school used had some of the worst word problems ever.  "Lancelot and Guinevere sat under a tree finding derivatives.  Guinevere asked Lancelot to find the derivative of f(x) = x3ex.  What answer did Lancelot give?"


"You're not worth it. I'm gonna go nail an illiterate wench."

/What do I win?
 
2013-10-28 11:27:01 AM
Software development, at a professional level, for all it's participants, is for people who can:

1) Hold a very detailed view of a very large domain in memory, all at once,
2) Using a system of layered, abstract symbolic description and notation
3) To produce proven, testable, and, when taken to the extreme, *logically provably correct* transformations of data.

All of this takes up space in your head, and takes a lot of dedicated, solitary time devoted to it.  Opportunity cost is a biatch, huh?
 
2013-10-28 11:30:28 AM

RedPhoenix122: EvilEgg: Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair.

In other words a really handy thing to know.

I like how they equate it with being boring and dull.  Because you can't have a skill and be social as well.


Yeah, that sort of statement is just dumb on so many levels. Antagonize an entire class of people just to make a point (while missing the reason that is a point at all)

You shouldn't teach coding to all children, mainly because it's an engineering discipline (and proper software design also involves art, as well as science) - however, I think offering it as a sort of elective for children, at a young age, would be outstanding. Minecraft comes to mind as filling this educational niche, but more formal training would be nice.
 
2013-10-28 11:33:31 AM

Hyjamon: is that FizzBuzz thing for real? I don't consider myself a "programmer" at a professional level, but that seems a very easy thing to program. How can you have years of programming experience and not know how to program something similar to FizzBuzz? is it they don't know that if something is divisible by 15 it is also divisible by 5 and 3? Or they don't know how modulo division works?

/math guy so seems obvious to me


It's the 15 thing, but it's usually oversight more than lack of knowledge.  It's a test of attention to detail.
 
2013-10-28 11:35:11 AM

EvilEgg: Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair.

In other words a really handy thing to know.


Well, coding requires a good sense of data and workflow abstractions and interactions often in dynamic environments. I wouldn't classify that as a "mechanical" skill.
 
2013-10-28 11:39:23 AM
Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair.

As a subject, it only appeals to a limited set of people - the aforementioned dull weirdos.


Excuse me? Computer programming, plumbing and car repair trades are all inhabited by "dull weirdos?"

I suppose this person doesn't see fashion designers as "dull weirdos" but really well-grounded, interesting people.
 
2013-10-28 11:39:31 AM

duckpoopy: I am shocked by the number of programmers who don't have basic math skills. Sure they will brag about having a BSCS, but go ask your nearest code monkey about the chain rule or product rule for integration. It's basic calc, but they'll start whining about how they "don't write that kind of code".


Heh... I'm one of those guys.  The truth is your average business programmer needs logic, creativity and attention to detail far more than he needs math.  We're mostly just moving data back and forth, and creating interfaces for it.

Now, if I were working on game engines or scientific software it'd be an entirely different story.
 
2013-10-28 11:40:22 AM

THE GREAT NAME: rumpelstiltskin: zyrian: Software engineering is a form of art coupled with a good bit of science.

What's interesting is, when people describe software engineering, they almost never seem to describe it as a form of engineering, as simply the practical application of knowledge.

You have a good point here. It is engineering. It just happens to be difficult because of the complexity, the abstractness, the immaturity of tools etc. People want it to be something else so they can hide from the difficultness. They pretend it's something left-field which they alone posess the magic fu to grok. Then they screw up.


There is probably almost no software engineering going on at most places people code.  We have the tools to do it, and we know how.  NASA's done it for decades.   It's just that nobody wants to spend the time to do so, because you can't be sued for most software, unlike a building that falls, a car that explodes, or any number of other things.  So there's no incentive.

Here are things that real software engineering does:

1) Testing.  Not just unit testing though.  Unit, integration, environmental, everything.  That "% code covered" metric?  Horseshiat.  You need a specific level of coverage (data usage, data path, execution path, etc.).
2) Load capacity, constraints, and expected throughput analysis.
3) Big O and constant factor analysis of all algorithms
4) Sorry Agile folks, but real problems require real analysis and real design.  If you think you don't need it, you're either building a toy project by yourself, or in a team of clones.  This isn't just class design.  This is information architecture and systems architecture.
5) Looks at the process you are trying to replace, and apply some basic industrial engineering to optimize the computer and human interface (i.e. your system is still a participant in a human organization, and therefore is constrained by it).  This isn't just HCI, this is how it fits in the process as a whole.

When is the last time you were asked or expected to do any of this?
 
2013-10-28 11:44:44 AM

NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.


First time I've ever heard of fizzbuzz.  Depends on the language, I suppose.

The first programmer interview with "Real Programmer Questions" (tm) struck me as pretty straight forward at the time:

1.  Given a sting, re-write it backwards (1st character becomes last, second becomes second last, etc),
2.  Demonstrate understanding of binary tree and b-tree,
3.  In the language of your choice, demonstrate recursion.

The guy giving the interview later told me I was the first person in 2 years to get all 3 correct.  It was also in the early 90's so things might have changed.  Based on 20-something years in the industry since then, I don't believe so.

Cheers.

//Really want to know what makes a good coder?   http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?LazinessImpatienceHubris
 
2013-10-28 11:45:55 AM

bigbadideasinaction: The purpose of teaching kids code is not to teach them to be coders, it's to plant a bug in the head of the ones who have the knack/aptitude/interest they might never otherwise know is there. Also, it's remarkable what a little bit of information at a young age does to internalize concepts for later learning.


THIS!  My grades would have been so much better in high school (and consequently I wouldn't suck at math) if I'd had some programming classes in Junior High or even as a Freshman.  School, especially at the high school level, should be all about introducing kids to all kinds of "professions" so they can get an idea what they like and maybe even become motivated/excited about the rest of their education...
 
2013-10-28 11:46:15 AM
Yes, coders are important. So are truck drivers.

It's OK to say coding is best suited to odd people - just like truck driving.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imhBoE56OEs
 
2013-10-28 11:52:48 AM

Hyjamon: NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.

is that FizzBuzz thing for real?  I don't consider myself a "programmer" at a professional level, but that seems a very easy thing to program.  How can you have years of programming experience and not know how to program something similar to FizzBuzz?  is it they don't know that if something is divisible by 15 it is also divisible by 5 and 3?  Or they don't know how modulo division works?

/math guy so seems obvious to me


Two things not to underestimate here:
1) There are some truly incompetent people in the world
2) There are some people who freak the hell out in job interviews and temporarily become bumbling idiots.

It's sad that FizzBuzz type problems mislabel #2 sometimes, but the vast majority of people who claim to be #2 are actually #1s making excuses.
Anybody who cops a "I'm never going to have to do something like this in real life" attitude should be immediately thrown out.  Of course you're never going to solve that problem in real life, but we don't have time to present you with a real problem and see if you solve it right.

/ I used to use the Fibonacci Sequence a lot, because a lot of people have practiced it prior to the interview.  Those who haven't get a "math is hard" deer in the headlights look about them and fail miserably.  It's not the best question because really I just want to use it as a base to ask scalability questions.  ("ok, how come the iterative version is better than the recursive?", "even though it's better, the iterative still kind of sucks for really large inputs; what can we do to speed it up?", etc).  Kind of sucks when they can't even answer the base question that sets the others up.
// Nowadays we use a more real-world example that we set up in the phone interview and expect you to have thought about prior to coming in for the in-person.  You're building a forum and need to deal with common scalability issues.  You'll need to tell us over the phone to cache reads and buffer writes.  When you come in we'll make you implement the cache and buffer on the whiteboard.  Works pretty well.
 
2013-10-28 11:57:01 AM
anyone can learn to code.  not everyone can learn to code well.
 
2013-10-28 11:58:18 AM

Brian_of_Nazareth: The guy giving the interview later told me I was the first person in 2 years to get all 3 correct. It was also in the early 90's so things might have changed


Not really.  My current job is the third I've ever had.  When I phone interviewed they were absolutely ecstatic that I was getting things like "what's the difference between a linked list and an array" and "what happens behind the scenes when I type 'fark.com' into my address bar and press enter?" correct in the phone interview.  I almost didn't take the job because I thought it was strange that their expectations seemed so low.  I mentioned it during the in-person interview and was repeatedly assured that some real morons had applied and that was how they got filtered out.  A few years later when I started having to interview people, I understood why.
 
2013-10-28 12:00:20 PM

UrukHaiGuyz: serial_crusher: dittybopper: RedPhoenix122: dittybopper: Not only that, it teaches you how to look at problems in a logical fashion.  And logic is something sorely missing from a large segment of the population.

Agreed.  Hell, even an Intro to Philosophy: Logic requirement would be nice.  Or Discrete Math.  Something that involves how to form a conclusion based on evidence rather than what some talking head told them.

Personally, I think ever single student should have a class called something like "Application of arithmetic to every day life".

It would consist of nothing but word problems where the student has to figure out real-life stuff and the optimal answer can be derived by addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

I don't know how many times people around me, including some very smart people, haven't been able to recognize how to find the optimum solution to a problem when all that was required to solve it was simple, elementary-school level arithmetic.

The problem isn't that they couldn't do it, they just didn't recognize that there was a way to do it.

Separate class seems kind of odd.  That should be part of learning the math itself.  But I agree, it often isn't.
The math books my high school used had some of the worst word problems ever.  "Lancelot and Guinevere sat under a tree finding derivatives.  Guinevere asked Lancelot to find the derivative of f(x) = x3ex.  What answer did Lancelot give?"

"You're not worth it. I'm gonna go nail an illiterate wench."

/What do I win?


Child support payments.
 
2013-10-28 12:02:39 PM
Also in terms of programming, there's a lot of ways you can teach it indirectly to kids.  I used to go to "computer camp" every summer where we'd mostly just play games, but we spent a lot of time playing with Logo.  I spent all that time trying to figure out how to get that turtle to make the pictures I wanted, had no idea I was learning to program.
 
2013-10-28 12:04:52 PM

Brian_of_Nazareth: NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.

First time I've ever heard of fizzbuzz.  Depends on the language, I suppose.

The first programmer interview with "Real Programmer Questions" (tm) struck me as pretty straight forward at the time:

1.  Given a sting, re-write it backwards (1st character becomes last, second becomes second last, etc),
2.  Demonstrate understanding of binary tree and b-tree,
3.  In the language of your choice, demonstrate recursion.

The guy giving the interview later told me I was the first person in 2 years to get all 3 correct.  It was also in the early 90's so things might have changed.  Based on 20-something years in the industry since then, I don't believe so.

Cheers.

//Really want to know what makes a good coder?   http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?LazinessImpatienceHubris


No.

No it hasn't.

I am amazed how many programmers cannot do basic programming tasks in 2013.
 
2013-10-28 12:11:27 PM

THE GREAT NAME: falkone32: duckpoopy: I am shocked by the number of programmers who don't have basic math skills. Sure they will brag about having a BSCS, but go ask your nearest code monkey about the chain rule or product rule for integration. It's basic calc, but they'll start whining about how they "don't write that kind of code".
 You're not very quick, are you?  You realize that these are two different fields, right?  And that it would make just as much sense for me to complain about mathematicians that write shiatty inefficient code?  And that the complaint would be retarded?  Almost as retarded as conflating "basic math" and "basic calc".
As a programmer, I've never once needed to implement analytic integration.  Spending the time to keep those skills up would mean I have less time to spend on other more relevant skills.  Ironically, I've implemented numerical integration numerous times but had to teach myself, as my mathematics professors never even mentioned them (with the exception of a fifteen minutes for riemann sums, which are just common sense and don't say much about efficient implementation).

I've never seen anyone undermine their own point so thorougly. Congratulations!


He didn't undermine anything. Re-teaching yourself something is much more efficient than retaining it if it's rarely used. Ability to efficiently learn is the most important skill to bring with you out of college. No need to remember everything and carry it around with you.

RedPhoenix122: dittybopper: They can literally do that.

God I hate memory leaks.


I love going after bugs like that. On one game, I had an 8-week assignment to clean up all the memory leaks, then go after the fragmentation so we could load a few of the larger levels (GameCube memory constraints). That kind of detective work is really fun to me.
 
2013-10-28 12:11:46 PM

SpectroBoy: THE GREAT NAME: Most software gets written by a battle of wills between (a) coders who are mediocre social dropouts who are willing to immerse themselves in code but don't have any real skills to bring to the table except a pedantic knowledge of the language and/or libraries and (b) managers who are no smarter than the coders but believe themselves to posess superior interpersonal/business skills, and insist on making technical descisions solely for the purposes of propping up that illusion.

As a result, most software projects get all farked up.

If you actually know how difficult software is to get right (this is a rhetorical qurestion - you the reader most likely aren't smart or exprienced enough) you would know that most practical development operations are about medocre lackwits trying to hide the fact that they are all out of their depth. It's like trying to hide all your enriched uranium shavings by sweeping them into a corner :- sooner or later things are going to blow up on you.

Well the important thing is that you found a way to feel superior to both.

/You sound unemployed and non-technical.


You gotta do more than read XKCD to impress me, boy.
 
2013-10-28 12:13:07 PM
10 REM CRITERIA FOR OH SNAP
20 IF DID SOMEONE TELL HIM? EQUALS YES GOTO END
30 TELL HIM
40 GOTO 20
50 END
 
2013-10-28 12:14:09 PM

NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.


I didn't even know what the FizzBuzz test was until I was asked to write it in an interview. The logic is pretty simple, iterate a variable from 1 - 100, divide it by the numbers and check for a remainder, if there isn't one, do stuff. I can't imagine it would take someone an hour to figure out.

for (int i = 1; i <= 100; i++)
{
    if (i % 3 == 0 && i % 5 == 0)

    {
        Console.WriteLine("Fizz Buzz");
    }
    else if (i % 3 == 0)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Fizz");
    }
    else if (i % 5 == 0)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Buzz");
    }
    else
    {
        Console.WriteLine(i.ToString());
    }
}

Interviews in this business are a tricky thing. You never know if the "prove yourself" portion is going to be something simple or something ridiculously hard. One place asked me to write a function on a whiteboard that would find all permutations of a string of characters. I got to the point where I realized I'd have to rewrite the thing as a recursive function when time ran out. Another place gave me a take home assignment: write a mapping project that'll build a map from an XML file and find the quickest route between two points taking into account obstacles. The requirements were three pages long. I could tell right off the bat that this would be the kind of job where I'd never be off the clock. I saw 15 hour days and working weekends in my future. Nuts to that.

Some places think they can weed out the BSers by peppering them with dry questions about OOP terms and methodologies. The problem with that approach is you run into people like me who've been using said methodologies for years without knowing the technical term for it. Oh, that's what refactoring is? I'd always just called it "I can't believe I used to write things this way, what was I thinking?" The pitfalls of self learning.
 
2013-10-28 12:15:42 PM
I was utterly fascinated by programming when I was 11...  Now they pay me for it.

Thank you, Commodore basic!

Also, I am the coolest guy I know...  of the people who hang out in my basement.
 
2013-10-28 12:19:10 PM

bmr68: My older brother loves to code. He just made his own Linux desktop OS. He also coaches Lacrosse and H.S. football. You can love to code and have other non-related hobbies.


Hell, I used to code just for the fun of it.  It *WAS* my hobby.  Then I started doing it professionally, and I lost all interest in doing it for fun, so I have other, different, non-programming hobbies now.
 
2013-10-28 12:21:05 PM

NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.


Wait - what? I had to go look up what this "FizzBuzz" business was about, and was shocked to find that, instead of a complex mathematical problem, the "test" was "do you know what a modulo is?", in loop form. I friggin' jotted out a basic C# solution in less than a minute, on paper, while typing this post - it's not exactly difficult.

Seriously? An experienced developer couldn't do that? There are eighth-grade schoolkids that can do that - it's basic friggin' math. If you couldn't immediately, verbally, provide a basic nested if/then solution, you're not getting hired by me.
 
2013-10-28 12:21:10 PM
I'm a hobbyist coder and put a new toilet in a couple of weeks ago, so I'm really getting a kick...
 
2013-10-28 12:24:53 PM

dittybopper: bmr68: My older brother loves to code. He just made his own Linux desktop OS. He also coaches Lacrosse and H.S. football. You can love to code and have other non-related hobbies.

Hell, I used to code just for the fun of it.  It *WAS* my hobby.  Then I started doing it professionally, and I lost all interest in doing it for fun, so I have other, different, non-programming hobbies now.


Yep. Coding was my hobby into my teenage years. Then I went and got a computer science degree. While getting said degree, I took up guitar. Now my music studio consists of a whole slew of guitars, a bass, a drum set, a couple keyboards, and a bunch of miscellaneous percussion. I now write code so I can fund my music hobby.
 
2013-10-28 12:25:44 PM

meat0918: Brian_of_Nazareth: NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.

First time I've ever heard of fizzbuzz.  Depends on the language, I suppose.

The first programmer interview with "Real Programmer Questions" (tm) struck me as pretty straight forward at the time:

1.  Given a sting, re-write it backwards (1st character becomes last, second becomes second last, etc),
2.  Demonstrate understanding of binary tree and b-tree,
3.  In the language of your choice, demonstrate recursion.

The guy giving the interview later told me I was the first person in 2 years to get all 3 correct.  It was also in the early 90's so things might have changed.  Based on 20-something years in the industry since then, I don't believe so.

Cheers.

//Really want to know what makes a good coder?   http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?LazinessImpatienceHubris

No.

No it hasn't.

I am amazed how many programmers cannot do basic programming tasks in 2013.


Used to having those tasks done for them - object-oriented languages and lots of canned objects mean "never having to look under the hood." So, the basics get memorized, graded, and then forgotten. Tolerable if you're cranking out low-use, "hobbyist programmer" projects, useless if you're having to work in the corporate, academic, or scientific world.
 
2013-10-28 12:26:36 PM

Telos: duckpoopy: I am shocked by the number of programmers who don't have basic math skills. Sure they will brag about having a BSCS, but go ask your nearest code monkey about the chain rule or product rule for integration. It's basic calc, but they'll start whining about how they "don't write that kind of code".

Heh... I'm one of those guys.  The truth is your average business programmer needs logic, creativity and attention to detail far more than he needs math.  We're mostly just moving data back and forth, and creating interfaces for it.

Now, if I were working on game engines or scientific software it'd be an entirely different story.


Pretty much this. Most the time I spend as a business developer is trying to get other departments to decide what they really want

What they really want is usually a combination of:

1. A totally different thing then they describe.
2. Will result in massive security violations or data corruption.
3. Basically an impossibility.
4. So complex and convoluted that they have no real idea what they are asking for.

So you have to sit down with them and figure out what they really want, what can be done, develop a model and time frame, and work out how it will interact with the rest of the software. All the time the objectives and goals can be changed, and you are at the mercy of others who can change their mind and you have to fight for your views to do what is best for the company and what will work without causing problems and damage.

Putting it to code is just one of the many features and I don't see how many of the coding jobs required could exist if you can't communicate.
 
2013-10-28 12:29:04 PM

miscreant: dittybopper: bmr68: My older brother loves to code. He just made his own Linux desktop OS. He also coaches Lacrosse and H.S. football. You can love to code and have other non-related hobbies.

Hell, I used to code just for the fun of it.  It *WAS* my hobby.  Then I started doing it professionally, and I lost all interest in doing it for fun, so I have other, different, non-programming hobbies now.

Yep. Coding was my hobby into my teenage years. Then I went and got a computer science degree. While getting said degree, I took up guitar. Now my music studio consists of a whole slew of guitars, a bass, a drum set, a couple keyboards, and a bunch of miscellaneous percussion. I now write code so I can fund my music hobby.


Coding was my hobby, and then my job, in my teenage years, and I did it professionally, whenever I could, for the next dozen or so years after I left home. Then, I spent the following dozen years as a programmer/writer, because I not only liked writing code, I also liked writing about code - I specialize in content for developer audiences.

I write code for fun & profit, and I write content for profit. (Although, after the gig at my current company ends one way or another, I'm going back to development - they've soured me on writing content.)
 
2013-10-28 12:29:05 PM

Telos: duckpoopy: I am shocked by the number of programmers who don't have basic math skills. Sure they will brag about having a BSCS, but go ask your nearest code monkey about the chain rule or product rule for integration. It's basic calc, but they'll start whining about how they "don't write that kind of code".

Heh... I'm one of those guys.  The truth is your average business programmer needs logic, creativity and attention to detail far more than he needs math.  We're mostly just moving data back and forth, and creating interfaces for it.

Now, if I were working on game engines or scientific software it'd be an entirely different story.


I have spent nearly 20 years developing various bits of software. The most complicated maths a customer or the business has ever needed I can think of is calculating the values for a cusum plot or a few other tasks of similar (lack of) mathematical complexity, so knowing more than an 11 year old in maths seems pretty irrelevant from my point of view.
 
2013-10-28 12:31:51 PM
i am a highly paid glorified plumber.
 
2013-10-28 12:34:50 PM

xalres: <riidiculous slow Fizz Buzz algorithm>


Does NAME have to do everything?

for(i=0; i<1000; i+=3) printf( "FizzBuzz %d1 %d2 Fizz %d4 Buzz Fizz %d7 %d8 Fizz Buzz %d1 Fizz %d3 %d4 "
                               "FizzBuzz %d6 %d7 Fizz %d9 Buzz Fizz %d2 %d3 Fizz Buzz %d6 Fizz %d8 %d9 ",
                               i, i, i, i, i, i+1, i+1, i+1, i+1, i+1, i+1, i+2, i+2, i+2, i+2, i+2 );
 
2013-10-28 12:35:02 PM

FormlessOne: NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.

Wait - what? I had to go look up what this "FizzBuzz" business was about, and was shocked to find that, instead of a complex mathematical problem, the "test" was "do you know what a modulo is?", in loop form. I friggin' jotted out a basic C# solution in less than a minute, on paper, while typing this post - it's not exactly difficult.

Seriously? An experienced developer couldn't do that? There are eighth-grade schoolkids that can do that - it's basic friggin' math. If you couldn't immediately, verbally, provide a basic nested if/then solution, you're not getting hired by me.


That's kind of the point:   http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/02/fizzbuzz-the-programmers-sta i rway-to-heaven.html
 
2013-10-28 12:35:24 PM
Well, that explains a lot. I write software all day everyday for robotics and automation. I play lead guitar in two rock cover bands. I have a weekend FWB and a weekday FWB who has her own key to my house. As long as I bang the weekday girl, she cleans my house and does my laundry. Plus leaves cookies, cupcakes, and bunches of stuff she bakes. IT'S SO DULL!!!! SAVE ME!!!!
 
2013-10-28 12:35:30 PM
I can remember a time when the very definition of 'computer literacy' was being able to write you own
programs.

While I am very glad that the field of computing has advanced to the point where not everyone needs to have
programming/coding skills for the routine use of computers, nevertheless knowing the basics of computer
programming will make you a better consumer of the devices.
 
2013-10-28 12:36:11 PM

xria: Telos: duckpoopy: I am shocked by the number of programmers who don't have basic math skills. Sure they will brag about having a BSCS, but go ask your nearest code monkey about the chain rule or product rule for integration. It's basic calc, but they'll start whining about how they "don't write that kind of code".

Heh... I'm one of those guys.  The truth is your average business programmer needs logic, creativity and attention to detail far more than he needs math.  We're mostly just moving data back and forth, and creating interfaces for it.

Now, if I were working on game engines or scientific software it'd be an entirely different story.

I have spent nearly 20 years developing various bits of software. The most complicated maths a customer or the business has ever needed I can think of is calculating the values for a cusum plot or a few other tasks of similar (lack of) mathematical complexity, so knowing more than an 11 year old in maths seems pretty irrelevant from my point of view.


Odd. I've spent nearly a third of my career, if I'm correctly counting the years, handling business problems that involved algebra, geometry, trig, calc, and stats - gaming, actuarial analysis, cartographic analysis, network analysis, business intelligence, and so on. I've not been to college - this is all high-school mathematics, and that solid grounding in mathematics has opened doors that would've otherwise remained closed to a developer without a degree. Yes, you can get away with not having a solid grounding in mathematics, but that does limit your options when it comes to business application development.
 
2013-10-28 12:36:43 PM
I don't see myself as exceptionally dull.  Why just this morning I woke up and said good morning to my very non-dull wife Audrey and then we had a breakfast of toast and eggs as we do every Monday after which I brushed my teeth counting 10 strokes per tooth in a clockwise direction for the upper teeth but in an excitingly counterclockwise direction for the lower teeth. After brushing my teeth I completed my activities in the toilet and proceeded to select my very non-boring attire for the day.  I then observed the dog as he was let out into the yard for his morning evacuations.  He urinated for 12 seconds and defecated quickly after that. Preparing for my commute I checked the tire pressure in the car's tires only to find that the pressure in tire #3 had dropped by an unacceptable 1/2 pound per square inch.  This compelled me to engage the compressor and return the tire to operating pressure.  Once the tires had been validated I ensconced myself into the driving position of my quite non-boring Camry and verified that each mirror was in a proper position to allow me to see appropriate objects behind me.  As I backed out of my garage I waved at my quite non-boring neighbor who was walking a canister of garbage toward the street.  On my commute I observed 12 pedestrians and noted with the slight chill in the air 7 of them were wearing coats with 3 of those wearing hats.

It as only after this thrilling morning routine that I began my day job of coding.
 
2013-10-28 12:37:32 PM

Telos: FormlessOne: NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.

Wait - what? I had to go look up what this "FizzBuzz" business was about, and was shocked to find that, instead of a complex mathematical problem, the "test" was "do you know what a modulo is?", in loop form. I friggin' jotted out a basic C# solution in less than a minute, on paper, while typing this post - it's not exactly difficult.

Seriously? An experienced developer couldn't do that? There are eighth-grade schoolkids that can do that - it's basic friggin' math. If you couldn't immediately, verbally, provide a basic nested if/then solution, you're not getting hired by me.

That's kind of the point:   http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/02/fizzbuzz-the-programmers-sta i rway-to-heaven.html


This is what we call "violent agreement" - I'm emphasizing the point.
 
2013-10-28 12:42:30 PM

I_Am_Weasel: EvilEgg: Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair.

In other words a really handy thing to know.

For those times when an application springs a leak at 4 in the morning?


You'd be surprised by how often this does happen.
 
2013-10-28 12:45:14 PM

FormlessOne: Telos: FormlessOne: NewWorldDan: serial_crusher: not a way to give kids the basic info they need to fake their way through an entry level programming job

Guys with 5 years experience can't fake their way through the FizzBuzz test. Takes you an hour to finish what should be a 3 minute exercise? And you're asking for $80k? Nope. Most people just aren't programmers. Nothing is going to change that.

/yes, I am a dull weirdo.

Wait - what? I had to go look up what this "FizzBuzz" business was about, and was shocked to find that, instead of a complex mathematical problem, the "test" was "do you know what a modulo is?", in loop form. I friggin' jotted out a basic C# solution in less than a minute, on paper, while typing this post - it's not exactly difficult.

Seriously? An experienced developer couldn't do that? There are eighth-grade schoolkids that can do that - it's basic friggin' math. If you couldn't immediately, verbally, provide a basic nested if/then solution, you're not getting hired by me.

That's kind of the point:   http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/02/fizzbuzz-the-programmers-sta i rway-to-heaven.html

This is what we call "violent agreement" - I'm emphasizing the point.


Yes, and I was belaboring it... :P
 
2013-10-28 12:45:26 PM

dittybopper: I_Am_Weasel: EvilEgg: Coding is a niche, mechanical skill, a bit like plumbing or car repair.

In other words a really handy thing to know.

For those times when an application springs a leak at 4 in the morning?

They can literally do that.


Extending the car repair simile, the Memory Leak is the "intermittent electrical fault" of computer science, in terms of the scale of things that are annoying to find and fix.

 I just moved to a new job doing firmware for industrial process robotics - now I get to troubleshoot memory leaks AND intermittent electrical faults in the same devices.
 
2013-10-28 12:46:12 PM
I`ve dabbled with programming, engineering, 3D CAD,3D and now I do video effects in a very relaxed company. Biggest thing I was involved with was a game that me and one other person wrote together and that was about 150,000 lines of code in C+. It was very rewarding and let me know I didn`t want to do that every day, every week so I looked in other areas.

If you can write small bits of code with flashy icons to grab attention for apps to go on smartphones you don`t need much else these days. Bit of low level hardware access and some graphics (and the spyware code but you get given that)

Why would you need maths?
 
2013-10-28 12:49:24 PM

FormlessOne: Used to having those tasks done for them - object-oriented languages and lots of canned objects mean "never having to look under the hood." So, the basics get memorized, graded, and then forgotten. Tolerable if you're cranking out low-use, "hobbyist programmer" projects, useless if you're having to work in the corporate, academic, or scientific world.


This is something I ran into when I taught some intro to computer science courses.

After introducing the If-Then-Else Structure
Assignment:  Get two integers from the user and print the maximum integer.

What I wanted them to do is something akin to:  If (A>B) then print(A); else print B

most would use two separate if-then statements and some wouldn't account for the case where A=B (and program wouldn't print anything)

Then there was this kid's project:  Print(Math.Max(A,B))

How did he know about the math object? His Dad was a programmer.  Went rounds with the student (and eventually the father).  They couldn't understand why they had to program it with and if-then statement when the math object can already do that.  Well, fast-forward to the end of the course and this kid is struggling with more complicated structures and assignments.

So, should we teach students "under the hood" stuff or just show them the objects that already do it?  Should we teach how to run a bubble sort or just tell them Array.Sort() will do it for them?
 
2013-10-28 12:49:35 PM

DjangoStonereaver: I can remember a time when the very definition of 'computer literacy' was being able to write your own
programs.


I can remember a time when literacy also had a different meaning.
 
2013-10-28 12:51:54 PM
THE GREAT NAME:
You gotta do more than read XKCD to impress me, boy.

Oh noes! He called me boy!  He must be a big bad internet toughguy!

/ eyeroll
 
2013-10-28 12:53:05 PM
There's a reason most startup co-founders are "the charming ideas guy" paired with "the tech genius".

Yeah. It's because you need a charming sociopath to bring in the big venture-capital bucks.
 
2013-10-28 12:57:26 PM

SpectroBoy: THE GREAT NAME:
You gotta do more than read XKCD to impress me, boy.

Oh noes! He called me boy!  He must be a big bad internet toughguy!

/ eyeroll


Errr, see your sig.
 
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