Strategy #1: Smooth the Learning Curve
Why does training lots of people to become coders seem like Mission Impossible? Because right now, coding can be painfully hard to learn. But that’s not a feature, it’s a bug.
The techniques to make coding easier already exist: user experience design (UX). UX is routinely used to make websites and apps easier to use and to entice users to buy more junk or spend more time clicking the Like button. But when it comes the coding languages and frameworks that are used to build those websites and apps? Not so much.
We need to do for emerging tech coding what Extension Services did for ag tech: make it a top priority to design it so it’s easier for everyday adults to learn. Here’s how:
Overview: why smoothing the learning curve using UX is crucial to our success – and a brief introduction to UX
Embrace Community-Oriented Coding UX so we expand coding beyond the people who already find it easy to learn. Focus on the needs of everyday adults by creating collaborations between tech companies and community groups to improve coding UX. And in doing so, create coding UX expertise in the community that can lead to jobs or small businesses
Create a Continuum of Skill from beginners to power users to “blue-collar coders” to skilled developers, so there are more opportunities to get into the industry. Then use coding UX to smooth the learning curve along that continuum. And along the way, strive to turn all types of coders from tool users to tool makers; as the report argues in “Hip-Hop Wasn’t Created by Sound Engineers,” you don’t always need to be a rocket scientist to power innovation
Get Coding UX Research Out Of Its Silo so breakthrough techniques get out of the lab and into the hands of the coders who are creating and maintaining programming languages and frameworks
Create Institutional Support For Coding UX, particularly in Big Tech companies, VC, universities, and foundations
Next: Why We Need to Smooth the Learning Curve