According to student evaluations, most of my students appreciate short programming assignments. Yet, every year, some students think that programming is below them or unimportant.
Maybe I should start my courses with this theorem:
Theorem. If you understand an idea, you can implement it in software.
There is no denying that programming requires a lot of technical knowledge. Most programmers do technical jobs, involving testing, building or refactoring code. But programming is ultimately a communication form. And it is as noble as Mathematics or English. Let us compare:
- Writers are considered sexy and non-technical people. Yet, grammar and spelling are technical. Moreover, most writers earn a living by writing ads for boring products. Some of them make a living with grand novels, but fewer than you think.
- Physicists are great thinkers. Yet, their mathematical derivations are often mind-numbing and technical. Many physicists spend years running extremely technical experiments. And when they don’t, they program extremely complex (and technical) simulations.
For some reason, being a writer is somehow considered more prestigious than being a programmer. If you ask me, Linus Torvalds is every bit as cool J. K. Rowling. And I’d rather have a lunch date with Linus.