To those who don’t “speak” the language, programming seems incomprehensible. If you’ve ever taken a course on HTML or Java, however, you know it’s all about the formula. Programming is a key component to our increasingly digital lives. In fact, without programming, we wouldn’t have a lot of the online resources we use today. Programming is a cornerstone of where social and professional life is heading. Look at any list, and you’ll find programming near the top of growing industries and in-demand jobs. Staying on top of current events in programming is a great way to keep up with technology news, so here are 5 ways programming is changing and always adapting.
Penn State Program Looks to Inspire Next Generation of Programmers
A trend in programming is introducing people to the practice. That means at any time in your life, it’s possible to pick up some level of programming. A lot of online courses exist, many of which are free to start. For people who don’t know programming, it’s a great way to diversify your curriculum vitae or resume. Current events in programming are always focused on the importance of programming, so why not get in on the movement? Well, the goal isn’t just to introduce people to programming in later life. Younger kids are growing up in a world full of programming potential. Like typing classes in the 70s and 80s, it’s crucial to get these skills developed early.
Schools are not always equipped to handle this on their own. Many K-12 programs do not have a programming class. It’s not necessarily seen as a necessity for people, as some other subjects are. For example, you need to know math for basic life skills, but not how to write your own code. It’s still a valuable skill, however, so some universities are partnering with organizations to teach these skills early. Much like tutoring or mentorship, programming clubs are popping up all over the United States.
Shaping Young Minds of Future Coders
Penn State is one such school working with younger people interested in programming. iD Tech is an organization that organizes tech camps for students all over the world. Unlike K-12 programs, private groups like theirs help to get information vital to the booming job market and world into the hands of young minds. We saw a huge push for STEM studies in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and now programming is getting its time in the sun. And rightfully so. As more students grow up in a world surrounded by digital media and tools, it’s important to let them know how they could build the next great resource. Academically, it’s a huge hit with college students. Many who study programming in an IT school program at a University get some great teaching skills. Plus, they push the knowledge on to the next generation.
Young children don’t always know how to solve algebra problems, and maybe they don’t know history all that well minus the big moments. Patterns, however, they can pick up on, and by teaching them programming in fun ways, the knowledge sticks. Students all over the country will hopefully have access to these sorts of camps, if iD Tech continues to grow. It’s an important part of a very digital future.
Apollo 11’s Secret Weapon – A 23 Year old Programmer
A lot of amazing moments in history were possible because of programming. A lot of non-programmers think that coding is a simple task of building websites, but so much goes into programming. For starters, anything that runs through computer software is the product of programming. Current events in programming often highlight things like web tools and smart tech, but programming is nothing new. In fact, recent stories on the Apollo 11 landing bring to light the importance of programming. In fact, a 23 year old programmer named Don Eyles ended up being almost as important on that mission as anyone else.
I don’t think anyone questions the difficulty of landing a space shuttle on the moon. In fact, the team at NASA didn’t even know what they were fully getting into. A lot of intangible worries circled around the Apollo 11 mission. Of course, staying connected to the astronauts inside the shuttle would be crucial. Not to mention, all the planning and careful construction needed to hold up for landing and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. All of that seems like big, uncontrollable worries. One thing that wasn’t necessarily on their minds was a programming malfunction. That’s right: programming is the center of the success of the moon landing.
Moon Landing Programming Error
Eyles was a 23 year old programmer fresh out of college and working with NASA on the moon landing. In his retelling of the situation, he remembers everything seeming to go a bit out of wack. Current events in programming always point to the frailty of code. One wrong character or line of code and the whole project can go wild. It’s not the end of the world when a website breaks down temporarily, but coding to keep astronauts alive as they traverse space is a different story.
The Apollo Guidance Computer ran to assist the team of astronauts in their reentry to space. A 1202 error code ran out once, to the alert of NASA, but then continued, causing major concerns. The AGC had lost its connectivity between its two major ports of function, leading to radar and altitude errors. Luckily, Eyles was ready to assist in any programming errors associated with the AGC, ensuring a safe landing. It’s crazy to think a computer programming malfunction could have cost NASA one of its most successful missions. Thanks to programming, however, everyone returned safely thanks to programming.
China’s Tech Sector Suffers from Student Flight to U.S.
The competition between the U.S. and China dates back some 70 years. When China entered the developed world, they immediately worked on a unique set of political and economic programs. Primarily, the communist government would look to work with the growing global economy to develop a pseudo capitalist market. It’s not worth a dive into economic principles and theory for our purposes. China was on the up and the United States dropping in economic and political influence, a dangerous precedent was being set. One, that to this day, is still dictating a lot of the U.S.’s foreign policy. Not to mention, things are not getting worse for China, and not much better for the United States.
Current events in programming would have you believe there’s a bit of a race happening right now. Much like the space race in the 20th century, a tech race is in full effect between the United States and China. Primarily, the race to 5G internet connectivity is drawing a lot of programers to the IT sector. The issue with an race to a new technology is getting the best minds to run, so to speak, for your side. Amazing programmers come from all over the world to help one country push to a new digital frontier.
Keeping Great Minds at Home
China’s main concern at the moment is student flight from the country. Countless brilliant young men and women, who will likely be at the forefront of tomorrow’s greatest programming feats, are heading to the U.S. for college. Scholarships for international students are bountiful, and the promise of a U.S. tech job in Silicon Valley or the likes is a huge draw. Plus, the biggest tech company in the world, Google, is in the United States. These draws are causing major problems for Chinese companies trying to keep local programmers in the country.
It’s not fair to say one country has more opportunity than the other. Both are incredibly dedicated to programing projects. Each country is making the push for the next great technological advance. The narrative of the United States, however, has always been about opportunity. As money and resources continue to get poured into the United States’ programming efforts, the best of the best will consider the country an option. Maybe a top option, at that. One thing is certain: people make programing wonderful. Current events in programming rarely touch on the human side of the profession, but needless to say, the best programmers make the best tools for society.
Gender Imbalances in Programming Classes
A long standing issue has been the diversity of members working and studying STEM subjects. In no field is the disparity worse than in Information Technology. Men dominate the industry, both in study and career. Women push for more gender equality in opportunity, such as camps for girls and other introductory classes. The problem is not just in programing however. A number of women who do work in the STEM fields, as with any profession, say they are treated differently for their being in male dominated sectors. It’s not easy being the only girl in a programming class, or one out of 40 in a lab focused on a hard science. The concern is that women do not feel pushed to pursue these fields.
It’s not like every male in the programming world makes women feel uninvited or limited in their efforts. A tricky thing about gender imbalances in programming is the knowledge that the problem causes certain environmental hurdles. Women often see their male peers as uninterested in their being there. As a recent discussion on women in programming mentions, computer science has always been a boy’s game. Changing that won’t be easy, but it is important.
Growing the Number of Women in Programming
Current events in programming ought to give more attention this issue. While not deafening, the silence surrounding gender imbalances in the industry are rough. Parents and teachers do not encourage women to follow these fields. Educators need to do a better job courting young women interested in STEM. The issue goes further than that, however. Most job fields struggle to find ways to get non-traditional candidates to their jobs. That starts sooner than college, and even before high school. The hardest part of getting these candidates is encouraging them from early on.
It’s a long process of teaching people what programming is. More often than not, women in programming know the field because of a family member. If the exposure to science and technology comes early, and from more than one source, we may see an increase in candidates. Students studying IT need to build a passion before they start their serious studies. That comes from an effort to get students involved in programming and IT early on. The key is not 50/50 representation, but equal exposure to the possibilities that programming can lead to. Overall, the push needs to be more widespread, according to women who actually work in the industry.
Colleges Not Teaching Java, Yet Students Still Learning It
Coding changes all the time. A lot of the ways that programming is taught today is vastly different from 5 years ago, 10 years before that, and so on. To be fair, technology runs on programming. Technology changes so much, many IT textbooks get updated annually. Other than coding, any thing in information technologies gets updated regularly. For a long time, Java led the programming curriculum. Java is never the best code to use, or even learn. Yet, it was often used to be an introduction to coding. Now, that’s being questioned quite a bit. To the point, in fact, that schools are abandoning it altogether.
Schools are not teaching Java anymore, according to a recent article. Programmers have called for this change for years now, as the language is not conducive to an adequate intro to programming code. A lot of college courses try to focus on the easiest way to learn the concept of code, rather than throw students into the deep end. Current events in programming highlight how tough it is all the time. The world is built on code, but the concept is key to every major software in the digital world. Yet, students still look to learn the code language, as the recent article shows.
Why is Java Still Popular?
If you’ve ever looked for a coding class online for free, Java is usually the one that pops up everywhere. Stanford University even offers their intro coding course, which uses Java, for free on Youtube. The best part about Java is the ease of picking it up quickly. For starters, the code is simple to follow. Also, Java helps students learn the base of programming. The ability to understand how coding works is half the battle. Now, students who do not learn Java in school still pursue it on their own time.
It’s great to see students wanting to learn everything there is in programming. Of course, teaching yourself is never as helpful. Yet, with colleges featuring classes for free online, everyone has access to these courses. Students aren’t giving up on Java, even if programs are. Learning code is not a fast process. It’s nothing like reading a book, or writing one for that matter. To be fair, Java is easy, and maybe not worth the cost of a college course. Yet, it’s wonderful to keep in the repertoire. It’s not likely to go anywhere any time soon.
Programming is changing every single day. Students and professionals alike rely on it for their professional aspirations. Some major in it, and other use it for a resume boost. Keeping up with current events in programming is the best way to know what’s on the cutting edge of technology.