Why not everybody has to learn to program

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Every now and then it is proclaimed that “programming” should be a bigger part of education and that every child should learn to program (and every adult should go for it also). Surely this makes sense if you’re a big company and craving for good engineers. It also makes sense for some other cases. But I don’t think that everybody should be able to code.

What I think everybody, and I mean that literally, should understand, is the implication that technology is going to have on our future lives. In the next decades a lot of people will go into unemployment because their jobs are taken over by robots, software and any combination of the two.

I recently read an article by German t3n magazine which listed a few jobs which could be taken over. Even for me, who is well aware of the possible implications of technology, there were some surprises. Taxi-drivers are threatened by Google and their self-driving cars. Just today a prototype of a self-driving “pod” was presented by Google at the CODE conference. But doctors could also be replaced in complex operations by more precise robots. The hypotheses in the article is: every job that consists of just manual work will be replaced, and even some which involve intellectual work. An example could be the in-store sales advisor who would be assisted by some kind of virtual sales advisor that is able to communicate with the customer.

This makes it clear why it’s important to understand technology and what it will mean for our future lives. Someone who has to decide into which job to go, has to make a very crucial decision, because there is no guarantee that his job or even the industry will be there for all of his life. Understanding the general developments in technology can help to make a better decision or – as someone who is already working – put things on the right track in terms of professional development and further education.