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Learning C

August 15, 2012
Head First C

I think C is important to teach the basics of programming.

Someone else gets it. Besides me, I mean. We should be teaching people the C programming language. An interview with David Griffiths, author of Head First C, says that learning C is a good idea. I concur, and I stand by my statement.

It’s not that I think everyone should be a C expert, but I’d like to see more programmers spend 5 months, a semester, early in their programming careers. If you’ve written your own iOS app, this would be a piece of cake. If you’re a Python guru, it would broaden your horizons. Getting closer to hardware helps you write code in a more thoughtful way.

I’d like to see a C programming course as a semester requirement for quite a few fields that might need to develop programs. Not only computer science majors, but also scientists that might need to deal with building their own algorithms. In the same vein, perhaps it’s worth a SQL class for everyone to better understand how to work with sets of data. A query class could also include some of the other query languages, perhaps MDX and XQuery would make sense as well.

I know this sounds like busy work, but as we become more and more dependent on data and scripting for all sorts of jobs I think it makes sense to start setting a baseline of expected skill for knowledge workers. Those people that knew programming could potentially pass a C test,  and they would be exempt. As we evolve into the future, especially as we may move to more vocational type training, I think it would be good to still require some basics of people as they begin their journey to working with code and computers.

Steve Jones


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