As a proud grew-up-with-the-Commodore-64 type, I’ve always considered coding part of my DNA. (To be precise, “programming” has always been part of my DNA. The term “coding” is a neologism of sorts, but these days I have to self-identify by it, lest I somehow become, despite my thirtysomething creds, “an old guy,” this post notwithstanding.) It wasn’t until this evening that I realized just how mainstream coding has become. Consider my “wake up call” received….
Dinner time brought a conversation between two well-educated women who jointly have two children under the age of two, two MBAs from Harvard Business School (three if you count their spouses), and serious fashion sense. One works for a well-known and recently-public Silicon Valley company; the other is an entrepreneur and former Wall Street investment banker. Among myriad other dinnertime topics was CodeAcademy. They’re both using that particular hot site to get up-to-speed in web development. One of them signed up for CodeYear. The other was talking just this afternoon with yet a third thirty-something woman entrepreneur and Ivy League b-school grad about—you guessed it—CodeAcademy.
Whence comes this new found interest in coding? Do we credit some mass hysteria embodied in the form of people who simply must engage in NP-completeness proofs? Fortunately, not. It comes from a profound reordering of today’s business world. “Coding is the new literacy,” says Zach Sims of CodeAcademy. Just as the well-educated of the 19th century read both Latin and Greek before learning “The Algebra,” so a 21st century entrepreneur must be able–at the very least–to understand the underpinnings of her own website.2 And thus to direct the next step. And the next innovation. Will they develop the next algorithm for the solving of General Lattice Puzzles? Perhaps not. But will they understand all they need to understand in order to innovate in the dynamic, real-time environment which is twenty-first century innovation? Surely. Are they equally likely to avoid being snowed by their coders as their counterparts two decades ago were when presented by a “complex spreadsheet” model? Equally surely.
- Coders will note that my “code” on the left is, in fact, merely markup—of this post, in fact. True. But it gave me a chance plug the absolutely gorgeous syntax highlighting of my new favorite text editor, Sublime Text. Quite possibly the most beautiful text editor I’ve ever used. Consider the tip a peace offering for conflating markup and coding. 🙂 [↩]
- The perspicacious and francophone reader will note that the correct word is ‘entrepreneuse,” but I refuse. [↩]