by Andy Stoller
I don’t think there’s anyone left who honestly thinks that computers are still just a “fad;” Ken Olson, president of the now-defunct company Digital Equipment Corp said, in 1977, “There is no reason anyone in the right state of mind will want a computer in their home.”
What Ken lacked in foresight, he made up in chutzpah, but I think the millions upon millions of people who have computers in their homes, their cars, and in their pockets may take issue with being called insane. These days a statement like that would draw quite a few puzzled looks.
So now that we can all agree that computers are pretty much here to stay, and since we’re starting to think of putting them in eyeglasses and sub-dermal implants and who-knows-what-else, I start to wonder why so many people are ignorant when it comes to really taking control of computers.
I mean, everyone knows how to download and play computer games, or send emails and chat with their friends, but when’s the last time you really told it what to do? When have you wanted a computer to do something and reallymade it happen, instead of handing it off to an expert or using someone else’s solution?
The promise of learning computer programming is not the attractive lifestyle of sitting in a tiny cubicle clickety-clacking away in front of a computer screen, or a promise of fame and riches as the CEO of a billion-dollar tech startup.
The promise of computer programming is a promise of agency and control. With these skills, you can be assured that no matter where technology is headed, you’ll have a hand on the steering wheel. It promises that no matter who you buy your computerized tennis shoes from, you’ll be the one who gets to decide how they work.
It’s likely to be a life-long process of learning, as old technology is replaced and improved upon, and each iteration abandoned; but you’ll be able to keep up, knowing that you are not a passive subject, but an active participant in the tech revolutions of the future.
Check out our new programming class starting up this Wednesday, November 6th from 3:30-5pm for ages 9+.