Programming moisture vaporators

Every year in my introductory programming class there are a bunch of students who say they are taking programming because they “have to”, and complain that they will never need to program.

Really?

30 years ago, I would have said this was true, but the now reality is quite different. Yes, there are likely some skills that will never be that useful. I count chemistry amongst those. Sure, had they taught more about *real* everyday chemistry it might have been useful, but laboratory chemistry just isn’t. It’s not like we had chemistry sets to tinker with (I mean it wasn’t the 1950s). Even calculus… useful for a small minority, likely less useful for the rest. Statistics? – yes, one of the few things that would be extremely useful if more people learned about it.

But programming? It didn’t matter so much when we had little data to process, or processed the data by hand. Now all these scientific fields – chemistry, physics, biology – they all have BIG data to parse. So knowing how to program makes sense if you want to have the ability to process the data. Even people like mechanical engineers need to have some idea how to program. Some laugh at this… but they won’t laugh forever. Just like mechanical engineering relies on the ability to build things, so too in the age of computers does it rely heavily on automated systems such as CNC machines. And guess what? There is no fancy way of creating code to run these machines. Many of them run using a language called APT, or Automated Program Tool, first appearing in the late 1950s, and still a standard internationally.

So very few can afford to ignore programming. Okay, so it may be slightly mundane at times. But, by learning to program you will gain a skill which may be of use to you later in you career. You may never have to program in the binary language moisture vaporators – but you never really know do you?

 

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