We've had a lot of fads over the years:
  • The 1960s had peace signs, yo-yos, and the space program.
  • The 1970s had leisure suits, fondue parties, and investigative journalism.
  • The 1980s had power suits, aerobics, and stockbrokers.
  • The 1990s had grunge, X games, and health care workers.
  • The 2000s had Gen Y, emo, and the World Wide Web.
  • The 2010s have..... the democratization of code?
That's right, 2012 is the year of learning to code. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg  announced that he would be learning to code. Several companies have announced software apprenticeships. Codecademy and Treehouse (and more) are enticing hundreds of thousands of people to sign up and learn Ruby on Rails or JavaScript. Meetups and Hackathons occur every weekend in cities across the country and cover various technologies and various levels of expertise. At this rate, by 2013, the world will be positively littered with coders! [caption id="attachment_49410" align="alignnone" width="300"] What do we want? CODE! When do we want it? NOW![/caption] Now, no one's saying that everyone is going to finish the coding tutorials. No one's saying that finishing a tutorial means you'll be a top-flight developer. Someone with a month or two of syntax and tutorial experience isn't going to be the same as someone who has been through a university computer science program, or someone who has been developing software for several years. The big difference isn't coding. Coding is great and wonderful, but that's not the value that software engineers provide. A good software engineer is a problem solver. A good software engineer is a communicator. A good software engineer uses code the same way writers use words - as tools to make a solution better. Code is merely the expression of ideas, workflows, and data. Engineering is the ideas, the workflows, and the data. So welcome, new coders! Even if you never write a line of code professionally, I'm glad you've learned something new. I hope you've gotten a better idea of what's possible and what's to, what's easy and what's hard.  I suspect that all of software is better for it.