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Is learning how to code a fundamental skill like reading and writing?

Or is it more like plumbing in that it is incredibly valuable to society but most people don’t need to understand it?

Or is it more like law where it’s good for kids to have a basic understanding of our legal system but they don’t really need any in-depth knowledge?

@Riverman This is my personal opinion, but if you own a computer and you can't write a script it to make it do what you want (that is very basic form of programming), then you are using your computer wrong. Scripting is part of basic computer literacy.
Anything more than that is like plumbing.

@Riverman I just learned some python and learned in the past HTML/CSS. I like the fact that I can read code. I think also that the future brings more and more technology and that being able to read code gets more important. I don't believe as important as normal reading, but is a skill that becomes more and more important.

@Riverman Imho, instead of coding, understanding "how computers work should be a fundamental skill. Nowadays, great part of our everyday life is digital, so, we should be able to enjoy our fundamental rights in the digital world. Regarding code, it should be open to programmers to study it and educate the general public about its functionality.

@Riverman @thomasfuchs I think the legal system is a good analogy, another might be a foreign language: we treat it as generally useful, partly because it exercises one's brain in interesting ways, even though few French II students will become translators

@Riverman Learning to code is a thought process much like the Fibonacci series where in one direction you see the complicated result you desire and at the other end, how to break the desired task down into layers of fragments of fragments to create the desired results.

@Riverman
Plumbing I'll say. Many people know very little about computers but use them in its basic form as intended for consumers. Many people are handyman, fix or build their own house without proper education but knows about plumbing. It's about interests and skills.

@Riverman This is such a great question, and something that never gets covered during all the "everyone must learn to code" pushes. I'm going to vote for the third option

@Riverman I'd say it's currently like law, but I would not be surprised if it would become a fundamental skill in the future.

@Riverman
I would hope we reach the level of understanding the law. We are not there yet

@Riverman
Like, I wish people could see an array and recognize it's a list of things; but the average person absolutely doesn't need to understand more about computers than reading, writing, clicking on stuff, and knowing basic online research methods & use them frequently...

There's plenty of people who know less about computers than us "computer nerds" do, but still make stuff with computers that blows our minds... Then there's the few that ask us for help when we'll just look up an answer.

@Riverman It's like radio: first, mostly hobbyists and a handful of pros with really arcane skills. Eventually, the tech is abstracted to where the pros don't even know how most of it works, but there are still handfuls of hobbyists poking around the arcane edges.

@Riverman Like law (and plumbing): basic knowledge recommended.

@Riverman Like law. Everybody needs to know what computers can and can’t do, some simple scripting will be helpful in their life. But not everyone needs to be a programmer.

@Riverman Of the three, I wish for “fundamental skill” and I have hopes for “like law”, but much more to the point, getting a certified systems programmer (or whatever) to help you renovate how your computer works or talk to another machine should be kind of like getting a plumber or lawyer to help you, not like the current “appeal to whoever runs the Central Server / Update Channel and know that your prayers will probably never be answered”.

@Riverman One of the big things the Free Software movement got wrong was assuming people had social access to programmers. The “but this ‘freedom’ is only accessible to the elite” was never part of the _philosophy_, because the answer was supposed to be “you can pay someone who _does_ specialize in software to do it the way you want”. But the social technology for making those relations connected, trustworthy, and cost-effective hasn't materialized yet.

@Riverman I personally think it could be any of these 3 options, and that's one of the beauties of computing. You can boot up, check mail/browse the Internet, then shut down. Or you can get deep in to the nuts and bolts of the kernel...or anywhere on that scale.

So for one person, it may be a specialist skill, for another like reading or writing.

For me, I'm probably option 3 - a basic understanding at least is a good thing.

@Riverman I agree with Kev on this, having a basic understanding of how coding works and what is possible and what not is probably a good idea for kids to learn.

I feel like a lot of jobs could be so much more optimized if people just knew just a little bit of Python and were willing and allowed to make use of it.

@Riverman
I don't think it's a essential skill now. But one day it could be as essential as agriculture is essential now.

@Riverman I think it's more like law. If you ask any IT guy, they will say it's like plumbing or even fundamental, but if you would ask a plumber he would say the same about plumbing.

It's good to know the basics of as many things as possible so you can help yourself and easily learn more if needed, but the world is too complicated to know everything.

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