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posted by martyb on Thursday September 03 2015, @09:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the ignorance-is-bliss dept.

Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic that learning to program involves a lot of Googling, logic, and trial-and-error—but almost nothing beyond fourth-grade arithmetic.

Victoria Fine explains how she taught herself how to code despite hating math. Her secret? Lots and lots of Googling. "Like any good Google query, a successful answer depended on asking the right question. “How do I make a website red” was not nearly as successful a question as “CSS color values HEX red” combined with “CSS background color.” I spent a lot of time learning to Google like a pro. I carefully learned the vocabulary of HTML so I knew what I was talking about when I asked the Internet for answers."

According to Khazan while it’s true that some types of code look a little like equations, you don’t really have to solve them, just know where they go and what they do. "In most cases you can see that the hard maths (the physical and geometry) is either done by a computer or has been done by someone else. While the calculations do happen and are essential to the successful running of the program, the programmer does not need to know how they are done."

Khazan says that in order to figure out what your program should say, you’re going to need some basic logic skills and you’ll need to be skilled at copying and pasting things from online repositories and tweaking them slightly. "But humanities majors, fresh off writing reams of term papers, are probably more talented at that than math majors are."


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03 2015, @04:23PM (#231833)

    but lots of teachers in the primary grades

    The problem is much larger. Even lots of college and university teachers feel the same way.

  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday September 04 2015, @01:01PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday September 04 2015, @01:01PM (#232227)

    I agree that some university folks teaching humanities feel the same way, but I consider it more of a problem that kids are getting math taught wrong and badly from the moment they first enter school, because that scares them away from it before they can even start to learn it properly.

    --
    The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"