Thursday, September 11, 2014

Create with software, don't code - value of non-coders for code

My main aspirations this autumn are testing and agile software development in general (as always), improving my own coding attitudes and skills (can always try to work on stuff) and teaching kids to create with computers.

With the last one, I looked at a really nice presentation video from Linda Liukas last night:

The video is pretty concise to look at, and on it Linda shares with clear enthusiasm her story of why she ended up being into code and inspires people to create similar experiences for all children for a better future - including both genders.

I look at Linda speaking with joy about code and I see similarities. I see similarities in the idea that when you talk about you work, you talk with love, affection and excitement. You pass the feeling on to whomever is listening to you, hoping that it might catch. And listening and experiencing that with Linda, I felt very blessed remembering feedback I've received over the years on my own presentations and trainings, that it oozes that I absolutely love what I get to do for work.

People who wholeheartedly love what they work on might have a chance of catching some of that passion and enthusiasm into the younger generation. At least my kids and their friends know that their mom has the best job ever, and it just keeps getting better with all the collaboration stuff we're working on in the teams under the "agile" flagship.

On the other hand, it saddens me that while there's so much in common, there's also a difference. From the stuff I'm excited about, I wouldn't teach kids coding.  I prefer not to code, and while there's people who prefer not to socialize, think critically, and think systems and value, I can easily work to bring my special skills to creation of code without writing a line of code. I would teach kids code. I would teach them testing and learning about systems someone else created, on levels that many current developers don't do in practice. I would teach them collaboration and valuing the different skills of others. I would teach them drawing and visual aspects as relevant part of what we're creating. And that it's just normal for someone to have an idea, others to run with the idea and all of us to improve the idea and make it practical with all the different skills we're bringing to the table.

Code is a tool that the future generations should learn not be afraid of. But as always, emphasizing the tool instead of the creation process just will not do. Linda was talking about "I made this" feeling. It's a feeling I recognize as tester - I was there to help for this other one to be actually able to use it. It's a feeling I recognize as designer - I was there to help get that important thing done with just two clicks. It's a feeling I recognize as a team manager - I was there to help people excel and reach their potential so that it actually works all together.

Let's teach kids creating with computers (as opposed to consuming). But coding? That too. But let them find roles in groups that are not labeled as strongly as ours are, but ones that bring out their special interests - in collaboration with the others with different skills and emphasis.