“I am always jealous of people with good computer skills, mine are terrible”
I am shocked every time a Millennial says something like that. I thought that us Millennials are suppose to be the tech savvy generation. How could then that some of us think they have terrible computer skills?
One time my optometrist asked me why his brand new touch screen computer was having issues the minute he knew I work for a big computer company. When someone hears that you are a programmer or a computer engineer, they directly think you are a computer genius. I have to admit there are so many things I don’t know.
I remember when my mom used to call me to ask me questions about her Apple Mac, a product I used a few times in my life at the time. But nonetheless, I was able to help her with most of her problems. You might be wondering how?
With an immense amount of knowledge at my fingertips, I can Google anything and find an answer. I put some super glue in my mouth (on my tongue and on my teeth). I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t the first person who did this and more surprised to know I was fine and the glue would just go away.
Moral of the story is as a computer programmer, I might know a little bit more about computers and I might be more tech savvy. But I am no better capable to solve any problem than any of you.
If you are a Millennial I hope that you consider yourself tech savvy. I hope you know you have the internet with tons of resources to help you tackle any problem and answer any question you have.
For everyone else, you are as capable of becoming as tech savvy as us. Just surrender to the internet. And here is a little secret: we Millennials think that the next generation (Generation Z) who grew up using phones and tablets will beat us, the tech savvy generation.
What if you wanted to learn programming
Now if you wanted to learn programming, that’s a different story. As a software developer myself, there is a huge amount of programming languages, tools, frameworks, etc. I don’t know all of it and nobody expects me to.
There are a lot of great resources if you want to learn about programming. My favorite is Udacity’s Intro To Computer Science (I don’t get paid for this, I actually really enjoy the course). Another one is CodeAcademy. Now you might wonder why do you need to learn programming, and I will tell you why.
Because programming is becoming a basic science
Although computer science is not a natural science, it is a science that touches everyone. When you start thinking about how to solve problems today, you always think there must be an app to do this or there should be a way to automate this. People always suggest to me these great ideas about how we can build robots that can do this or computers that can calculate that. It is possible but there are many limitations.
When we think of exploring space, we always think of all the restrictions we know from science: gravity, air, darkness, time. When we think of how to tackle a computer problem, we might not think of the limitations of modern technology if we are not familiar with it. Having a foundation in computer science would help everyone be more aware and develop better ideas, and push the limitations of modern technology.
Now still why you will need programming in your job?
Because of DATA
Business decisions should be made around data. Something I learned from listening to people who work for Amazon and a skill they learned from Jeff Bezos : use data. Use data to make your decision. Test your hypothesis. Prove your results. Amazon tests the impact of any feature before they implement it: a form of A/B testing. Before releasing Amazon Prime Student to the public, they test it on a small subset of students and show that it drives sales/purchases. This is a necessity in today’s world.
Now because of huge amount of data available you need to learn how to manipulate it better. Knowing how to do basic calculations in Excel is a start. Knowing how to do it in general using any language by knowing the basics of computer science is better. You don’t necessarily need to know a certain programming language. It’s enough that you understand the concepts for you to pick up any language and use it to solve your problem.
We might be thinking that a world where everyone needs to learn how to use a computer is not here but it is. Think about how much you use your phone everyday and you will realize that computer technology is all around us, and we must all better understand it.
I promise you computer programming is nothing like The Matrix. I think you might even enjoy your first Computer Science class more than your College Algebra or Geometry classes.
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