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Code.org Discloses Top Donors

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the friends-but-also-buddies dept.

Education 59

theodp (442580) writes "Under the leadership of Code.org, explained the ACM, it joined CSTA, NCWIT, NSF, Microsoft and Google in an effort "to reshape the U.S. education system," including passing a federal law making Computer Science a "core subject" in schools. If you're curious about whose money helped fuel the effort, Code.org's Donors page now lists those who gave $25,000+ to $3,000,000+ to the K-12 CS cause (the nonprofit plans to raise $20-30 million for 2015-16 operations). Microsoft is at the top of the list as a Platinum Supporter ($3,000,000+), while Bill Gates is Gold ($1,000,000+), and Steve Ballmer is Silver ($500,000+). Interestingly, six of Code.org's ten biggest donors are also Founders of Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us tech immigration reform PAC."

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To hell with the capitalists! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 3 months ago | (#47807263)

TO hell with their self-interested phony "philanthropy"! Labor creates all wealth, down with the murderous blood drenched racist rule of the idle parasites! For a Soviet America!

Re:To hell with the capitalists! (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47807507)

Your wish has been granted. [slashdot.org]

Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (4, Insightful)

thebeastofbaystreet (3805781) | about 3 months ago | (#47807329)

A cynic might say that some of the donors are not exactly disinterested parties here. I, in think in common with a lot of people on Slashdot, learned to code for the love of it and then found myself in an industry where programmers are, how should be put it gently, treated like scum? If it made good economic and social sense for parents to push their kids towards a career in coding, initiatives like this would be an irrelevance.

Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47807451)

You need a new job. As long as you are a reasonable person yourself, there unquestionably are jobs where you will not be treated as scum. I've never worked for long at such a place and I've been steadily employed for more than twenty years.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (2)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47807457)

Treated like scum? I agree that I often feel that we're not treated like equals on par with management. I think we get treated better than a lot of other employee groups, though. When I think of professions I'd change places with, the list often comes up short.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47808233)

Treated like scum? I agree that I often feel that we're not treated like equals on par with management. I think we get treated better than a lot of other employee groups, though. When I think of professions I'd change places with, the list often comes up short.

Agreed... I worked my way up from a call center and got my education after I got my job. I'm treated like a God where I am now compared to being hourly. If you think you're treated as a slave now, that just means you've never had a "real" job. At times we get into a spat because I think something could be written better or we should spend more time on X or Y, but when I did hourly work? I wasn't allowed to speak in meetings. Much less have an opposing viewpoint. Arguing with the boss would have gotten me walked right out the front door, and that's been true of every hourly job I've had.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

Junta (36770) | about 3 months ago | (#47810197)

On the other hand, hourly employees are generally held to 40 hour workweeks because they get expensive beyond that.

Frequently salaried individuals have their exempt status abused by making them work 60 or more hours a week. I personally am fortunate enough to not suffer this, but a lot of shops will burn out their coders with ever present threat of finding cheap replacements.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47810293)

but a lot of shops will burn out their coders with ever present threat of finding cheap replacements.

I struggle with this. I recognize my experience may be different, but we can't find qualified people when we interview. Where are these cheap replacements? Do you mean offshore (India)? Seems like my shop is run pretty lean. Yes, there are heavy weeks above 45 hours, but there are a lot of 40 hour weeks. Management seems to be aware of the fact that they're always a moment away from losing a key person. My last place did the outsource thing for a few years, until even the most boneheaded bean counters realized it was counterproductive to use cheaper labor. I just don't feel so threatened. I feel like if I lost my job, I'd have a new one at the same salary within a week.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

westlake (615356) | about 3 months ago | (#47807669)

In common with a lot of people on Slashdot, I earned to code for the love of it and then found myself in an industry where programmers are treated like scum

Workers in other industries solved this problem by forming unions and building the strength and discipline needed to bargain for better wages and working conditions. The price of unionization, of course, is that you have to stop thinking of yourself as something special, and not merely an employee like any other in your company.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47807989)

Workers in other industries solved this problem by forming unions and building the strength and discipline needed to bargain for better wages and working conditions. The price of unionization, of course, is that you have to stop thinking of yourself as something special, and not merely an employee like any other in your company.

And deal with promotions and salary being based entirely on seniority rather than performance, as well as who is the first to go when lay-offs occur.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47810573)

Then the companies offshored those manufacturing jobs to the far East. It's like that scene in Alf Garnett, where the retired union floor representative goes all nostalgic about how he and the other freight handlers would look out across the harbor and see all the cargo ships lined up all the way to the horizon waiting to be unloaded, and know that he had a job for the next two years. Then Alf points out that they all got fed up of waiting and took their business elsewhere.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (2)

quietwalker (969769) | about 3 months ago | (#47807887)

When I was young, I did landscaping - mowing, edging, laying sod, pulling stumps, and the crap jobs at construction sites, like hauling packs of tiles three floors up on ladders, to get paid $20 under the table, and 2 cans of coke (or a beer - which still tasted horrible to me, but it was a 'reward' at the age of 14).

Then I worked selling concessions at a movie theater, which sucked. Then a lifeguard. Archery instructor. All had some fun points, but they were tiring, exhausting jobs at or near minimum wage.

Then I started working doing software development & system administration. I sat in a nice cushy chair, in a nice air-conditioned office. The work was still fun, but now I had energy at the end of the workday. I could go out and do something other than veg out. In fact, they were keen on flex time. An hour after dinner - I was gonna be on the computer anyway - meant I'd come in an hour late. Or two. As long as my tasks got done, really, no one cared when I was there or not. The best bit? I was paid scads more than I was making at my previous jobs. Even a crummy admin or dev job was 2-3 times more, and for less physical work.

We're not treated like scum. We're treated like standard white collar workers, who get paid more for doing less. We don't have a union, because they offer us nothing; we have good pay, good benefits, good working conditions and hours, good job prospects, and career flexibility

What I see people bitching about is that we're not paid the same as managers, which is just sour apples. Most of the decent programmers I know end up transitioning to manager anyway - if that's their preference - and they make the big bucks in exchange for not getting to work the code.

The fact is, being a programmer is relatively pretty awesome.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 3 months ago | (#47809089)

That's all true - until some manager fails to make his numbers and attempts to blame it on poor programmer productivity. The solution: outsource the whole damn thing to a 'major outsourcing firm' that can 'shift resources at will' to attain optimal productivity.

You end up out of a job, and the company ends up with poorly trained workers that have no depth of knowledge of the software they're supporting - and who are rotated out every 18 months so they're guaranteed never to have any depth. Plus nobody in the organization is acquiring the ability to replace the key people that weren't outsourced when they ultimately change jobs (or retire).

But that manager? He probably got a big bonus and found a new job before the shit hit.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (2)

quietwalker (969769) | about 3 months ago | (#47809337)

I dunno about you, but when that happens, the developers also tend to land on their feet, in a better job they didn't previously go for because they got comfy where they were. In my personal experience, devs are sort of lazy that way. They're not aware of their own value, and they don't self promote for purposes of advancing their career.

That's not how most management types work. Their thinking is always on how to progress. They're not interested in current output, they're interested in increasing the rate of output. They make vertical career changes, going up with each transition. That sort of thinking is ingrained in that domain. Big picture view. They don't have a problem torpedoing a project, if it's already done what it could for them and the company, no matter how much ownership a dev has in it.

Most software devs aren't like that. They don't think of dirty hacks as a good ROI, they think of them as simmering damage that needs a refactor. They're focused on the short term now, and long term personal ownership. When someone asks them where they'll be in the next 5 years (I hate this question ...) they never think "VP in a different company" - they think "maybe ... senior developer?". They don't maintain good relationships with recruiters or contracting agencies. In fact, when I suggested people do this last time in a slashdot post, there were a bunch of angry replies that varied from claiming I was working for contracting agencies, selling out my current company, or was acting like a manager.

As if ensuring a steady paycheck with as little difficulty as possible and watching the state of the company in case it was headed downhill was something only managers should be doing, and screw them for doing it.

We're way past the day when tradesmen and artists (however you think of yourself) can expect to be promoted to the highest echelons of pay and position simply for doing a really, REALLY good job for a long time. The average job duration is now right around 4.5 years. Raises and promotions that actually increase pay more than a pittance (instead of just more responsibilities) are almost nonexistent. You want a better position, more pay, you have to take that risk and jump.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47810331)

A thousand times yes. Developers who have the social skills and risk tolerance jump periodically and do well most of the time, and quickly recover after making a mistake (the one time I stayed 14 months at a job it was a recovery step). Those without the social skills and risk tolerance whine, but don't actually take the steps needed to get ahead.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 3 months ago | (#47811209)

You say this like it's a good thing. Sure, if you want to advance your career, you have no choice but to do a lot of job jumping (at least in the beginning). But it didn't used to be that way, and ultimately this dynamic is harmful to the products we work on. The fact that you're going to jump in 2 years just makes that worse. And, one of these days you're gonna hit 50 and find that next jump really hard to make. I'm 62 and have stuck around. Other than hating the way management views the company as it's toy for serial mergers and buyouts, I've had a pretty rewarding time of it. But I'm one of only two who survived the outsourcing push - and are doing all the work to cover the asses of the idiots that thought outsourcing would work. There's nobody in the pipeline to replace either of us, and the latest LBO guys think they're gonna go public in 2 years. Sheesh...

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47812243)

Yes and no. Many developers I work with have been in one place too long, neither facing new kinds of challenges, nor growing to merit pay increases. There is a balance. Jumping every 2-3 years is probably the other extreme. 4-7 years is probably a nice sweet spot.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47809153)

True but you need to compare software professionals to other professions like the Law, Medicine or finance - if your in the uk and work in London take a trip to some of the ins of court or the City and see how the other half lives -compared to them we are treated worse even in the SV where its not quite as bad.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47809193)

If you do that, you also have to take into account that 3 of the 5 guys on my team who are pretty good didn't need college degrees to get their jobs. We're not *really* professionals in that sense. Almost more highly skilled tradesmen, in my thinking.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47809347)

See there is the problem but buying into that line is allowing our " profession" to be downgraded and treated as less valuable - and these days in 2014 IT is much more a gradate entry profession that it was when I started.

How many High school direct entrants does Google Apple and facebook take I suspect a fairly nugatory number. - Nugatory in the sense of "of no value"

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47810353)

Who says skilled trade is a downgrade from profession? You can still make the money and have the prestige. I think the problem is people who think that "professional" is better than "trade". Tradespeople make the world go around; getting past the idea that anyone other than MasterBlaster runs Bartertown is my approach to fighting my way up.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47811411)

Sorry have you gone outside in the real world tell most people you are an engineer and they think you are car mechanic and money prestige do you not understand the class system - and yes America does have class system.

I fielded a call for my dad one time they wanted someone to wire a house I had to explain no he's an EE and is currently consulting for London underground on the tube HVAV power upgrades

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47811777)

You make some assumptions, which is fair, but please read my interesting story, and I hope you enjoy it:

Years ago I played in a fairly successful private event band; we did society parties in and around Philadelphia. One gig we showed up to was at an estate where the driveway was about 1/4 mile long. Realized that the valets refused to help our black musicians park/unload, but offered for us. That was clue number 1 (fyi we all unloaded and parked our own stuff). Clue two was constantly being shushed even though they paid for a six piece band. Clue three was making the wait staff hold the dessert plates at attention for 25 minutes while they prattled on with speeches. Clue 4 was that no one except the event organizer and wait staff looked us in the eyes the whole night.

Yes, there IS a class system in America, but this is the *extreme* high end, where you're in the billionaire range. Outside of that, it's largely nonexistent, except for various race related garbage, which isn't really classist.

Most gigs the people were actually pretty cool, especially the older males and younger women.

Now, what I have generally found in America is it's more about money. Since I make substantially more than most of the highly educated men in our social circle, I get a ton of respect despite not having a degree.

My interactions with people in the UK are different. If they know I don't have a degree, I get treated like an inferior until I can really pin someone down on incorrect knowledge or thinking in a major way.

Re:Silicon Valley runs out of code-monkeys! (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47811885)

Also note, my father owned his own mechanical business and was hands-on to the point of often coming home cut/bruised/covered in filth. We were one of 2 or 3 families of maybe 30 on the street who weren't what you might call "professional class". I really never experienced any classist behavior from the doctors/lawyers/executives on the street or their families, and to this day have never heard anyone in my family say it ever happened. Maybe my experience is unique, but I don't think it was, not for the time in the 1970s through 2000 in the USA. During that time period, so much emphasis was placed on being productive and a respectable earner, so long as you had some level of manners, you were treated OK.

I do think I see a creeping tendency towards some classist behaviors from younger college-educated people, but few take it as more than puffed chests of lightweight intellectual wanna-bes.

its all about salaries (4, Insightful)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about 3 months ago | (#47807475)

Companies dont like to pay $100k+ for top talent so if they can get every high schooler to take CS classes, at least a percentage of them will become coders and will gladly take jobs at a fraction of the price and drive the prices down for salaries. The code will be crap but that wont matter because who needs it to be efficient when we can just toss a couple more CPUs at the problem...

Want to improve the k-12 education? stop building near NFL like football stadiums and bring back music, art and other creative type classes. Stop forcing everyone to be either a Jock or a STEM student.

Re:its all about salaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47807641)

This this this this this.

Re:its all about salaries (2)

ADRA (37398) | about 3 months ago | (#47807751)

You are half right, but utterly delusional for the rest.

An increase in competent available programmers will surely drive down the salaries of developers. Look at game dev's. They're often payed significantly less and work them dry because game companies know there will always be the next great fool to jump into the deep and and work then next set of recruits dry. With greater supply comes less demand, and ultimately that's the start and end to the discussion. There's no need to over-describe your nefarious shitty code problem. If we had more talented people being channeled into our in-demand industry vs. another program that may already be in over-supply, then its a win for all.

From my personal experience in Canada, I'm seeing soo many kids churning through schools from grad programs that are essentially guaranteed to find no jobs at the end. These kids have been deluded or coerced into thinking that if I wanted to be a -whatever-, then that's the career path they take. Currently, about half of them end up in the service industry or other 'underemployed' positions and many will never leave it. Many, if not most could be perfectly employable in fields that are actually in demand (like IT/programming).

My friend is 30 and has jumped around careers. First he entered a chef's program (mostly because he had lousy high school grades and his family was poor) and was a professional cook for lets say 5 years? Then he decided that being the bottom end of a restaurant was not where he wanted to end his time, so he had an opportinuty to travel with some friends, and ended up being an English language teacher in China and Korea for a couple years. This was lousy money, but at least it allowed him to travel to interesting places. When he came home, he realized that cooking or teaching wasn't cutting it, so knowing a lot of nerds (but not really being one) he took non-university level technology development for hardware engineering and software development. It was something that really challenged him intellectually in a positive way, and he ended up getting top marks, finding a job the day he left, and loving a much more satisfying lifestyle than the had previously. Now imagine if my friend had -found- his drive for technology much earlier. His road to success could've been years shorter and it would be a net gain for the economy as a whole.

Re:its all about salaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47812587)

But he's probably a lot more interesting now than if he first jumped into tech. He had a life. Why are some many people in tech against lives?

Value for money (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#47808293)

Companies dont like to pay $100k+ for top talent

Companies will pay $100K for top talent if they cannot get it elsewhere for less. Companies care about the productivity in relation to the cost. Companies want value for money. If they can get the most value for money by paying one guy very handsomely then they will do that. The question is what you are doing to bring value to the table?

Want to improve the k-12 education? stop building near NFL like football stadiums and bring back music, art and other creative type classes. Stop forcing everyone to be either a Jock or a STEM student.

I coach a high school team so I get to see the budget allocated to athletics. Athletic budgets in virtually all high schools account for somewhere between 0.7% and 1.6% of the school budget depending on the particular school. There are some outliers but those numbers account for something like 98%+ of schools. Nobody is forced to play sports and very few play after high school. It's an extracurricular activity just like the marching band. There certainly are no "NFL like" stadiums in any high school I am aware of. Most athletic budgets are heavily supplemented by fundraising by booster clubs because the budgets are so low. Some colleges have a nice little side business in sports but art budgets aren't being slashed to pay for them.

Furthermore relatively few students go into STEM fields out of the total population. The entire market for STEM jobs in the US is generally held to be something like 7-14 million depending on who you believe. Clearly nobody is forcing anyone to go into STEM fields though there certainly are good reasons to encourage students to consider careers in those fields. Nothing wrong with art and other creative classes but if you want to maximize economic output you're going to find that STEM results in a vastly bigger payback. Why would you discourage that? Emphasizing STEM can in the long run result in more money for art classes.

Want to improve k-12 education? It's a lot more challenging than cutting athletic budgets and stopping encouraging people to go into STEM in favor of finger painting class.

Re:its all about salaries (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 3 months ago | (#47809103)

+5 mod this up, excellent post.

The code will be crap but that wont matter because who needs it to be efficient when we can just toss a couple more CPUs at the problem...

Unfortunately, this is the way it is now, and has been for some time.
CPU's are getting faster, programs are getting slower. In essence its pointless to make new programs when previous programs can do it more efficiently with alot more stability.

Goes without saying, bad code using a substandard programming language is now the "accepted" way to program. Its an insult to the last 20+ years of "good" programming if you ask me.

Re:its all about salaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47809823)

Companies dont like to pay $100k+ for top talent so if they can get every high schooler to take CS classes, at least a percentage of them will become coders and will gladly take jobs at a fraction of the price and drive the prices down for salaries. The code will be crap but that wont matter because who needs it to be efficient when we can just toss a couple more CPUs at the problem...

I can't wait until "a couple more CPUs" won't stop the CEO from getting fired for selling an insecure piece of shit.

Insecurity will be the ultimate price with shitty code, not just inefficiency.

Makes sense (4, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 months ago | (#47807477)

All these parties want to make coding an "unskilled" job - not as in making it require any less skill, but as in not requiring any higher education. This will make one of the few jobs that still pays decently (coding work in a select few US cities) dirt cheap, and that means more money running up the tech billionaires' scoreboards.

Re:Makes sense (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 months ago | (#47807523)

Oh and a side-effect this will have that the Silicon Valley elite wouldn't care about if they'd even thought of it, is that outside of the tech hotspots, coding and IT work will become minimum wage jobs right across the board.

Re:Makes sense (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47807655)

Unlikely.

Code and good code are different. You know that. It certainly would depress the marketplace to a measurable degree, but only in that it shifts the bell curve of coder competency vs number of coders a bit taller.

CS education is devaluing coders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47807877)

The market is filled with a glut of CS grads that are 4 years behind the market, have no practical experience, and are asking for huge salaries to offset their student loan debt.

Hiring managers are very frustrated with the lack of value for what they're paying. If you want make sure that coding is still a highly paid job in the future, start treating it as a trade skill with a 2 year degree and apprenticeship so that the people coming into the job market have skills relevant to what actually needs to get done at work.

Plenty of jobs pay well (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#47807921)

All these parties want to make coding an "unskilled" job - not as in making it require any less skill, but as in not requiring any higher education.

I think you may not comprehend what "unskilled labor" really means. I run a company that does assembly work. I hire unskilled labor all the time. These are people who have essentially no marketable talents aside from their ability to follow very basic instructions. This does not remotely describe anyone who writes code for a living. Unskilled labor is essentially a meat robot and they do not get to use their brain much at all.

Unless they find some way to greatly automate coding far beyond what is currently possible, coding will remain skilled labor for the foreseeable future and you'll be able to make a reasonable living at it in some form or fashion. Yeah you'll have to compete like the rest of us but I suspect most good programmers can handle that. The market for code is becoming global so you have to provide value for money for what it is you do. If some guy in India can replicate what you do for $10/hour then what you do probably was of questionable value to begin with. Most programmers I've seen provide considerably more value than that.

This will make one of the few jobs that still pays decently (coding work in a select few US cities) dirt cheap,

"One of the few jobs that still pays decently"? There are lots of jobs that pay decently. Just because you don't know how to do them doesn't mean they don't exist. Without even getting out of engineering you'll find that engineering in general pays rather well and most engineering does not involve writing code. That's without even bringing accounting, finance, sales, etc into the mix. The average and median wages in the US are among the highest in the world and you think there are no decent paying jobs out there? Hell, even poor people in the US are comparatively well off compared with many places. The number of people making decent wages from programming is a tiny fraction of the good paying jobs out there. The notion that there are only a few jobs that pay decently left is not supported by the evidence.

Pays just "decently?" (1)

westlake (615356) | about 3 months ago | (#47808021)

This will make one of the few jobs that still pays decently

The median household income in the US is $51,000. 15% of Americans living in poverty [cnn.com]

The median annual wage for computer programmers [is] $74,000. Computer Programmers [bls.gov]

Re:Pays just "decently?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833939)

They're above the median household income, but most tech heavy areas like Northern Virginia and Silicon Valley have higher than average costs of living.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47833775)

Someone's definition of unskilled must be a lot different than mine. I code for a living and can assure you that it requires a great deal of skill and continued education to stay current with the technologies. As for not requiring a formal degree and still being able to do the job, I'm sure that would apply for a lot of areas, I know plenty of successful business people who don't have a business degree.

Interesting. Why? (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 3 months ago | (#47807611)

Interestingly, six of Code.org's ten biggest donors are also Founders of Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us tech immigration reform PAC.

Why is this interesting?

Re:Interesting. Why? (1)

theodp (442580) | about 3 months ago | (#47808165)

The Yin and Yang of Hour of Code & Immigration Reform [slashdot.org] : But a recent NY Times Op-Ed by economist Paul Collier criticizing Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC as self-serving advocacy (echoing earlier criticism) serves as a reminder that Zuckerberg and Gates' Code.org and Hour of Code involvement is the Yin to their H-1B visa lobbying Yang. The two efforts have been inextricably linked together for Congress, if not for the public.

Re:Interesting. Why? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47809181)

They are playing both sides its why the AFLCIO donates to some republican candidates

Re:Interesting. Why? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47809411)

They are playing both sides

How are they playing both sides? It seems to me that Code.org and FWD.us are on the same side, with the same goal: To increase the number of programmers in America.

Re:Interesting. Why? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47809539)

Your not thinking with a political mind fwd.us are supporting code.org project and "praying it in aid" to mollify the poujadist politicians also if the USA becomes more isolationist it,s a plan B to provide trained workers. Watch Yes minster on BBC America :-)

Include a intro programming language in Windows (1)

jrifkin (100192) | about 3 months ago | (#47807649)

If Microsoft and Bill Gates are interested in Programmer education, why not add a simple programming environment to Windows? Once upon a time DOS came with Basic. I believe a lot of kids and adults for first introduced to programming with Basic.

Why not include a more modern newbie-friendly language, such as Python (insert your favorite language here). They are already shipping all those Window OSes, why not do some good with them :)

Re:Include a intro programming language in Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47808271)

Every computer have a JavaScript interpreter (included in every browser), which I believe is what is what corresponds most closely to the basic of the time, yet it, in combination with html, vastly more powerful and easy to start with.
Every windows machine comes with a C# compiler (included in the .net-framework, which has been standard on every version after XP, I think) and visual studio express, which makes the developer experience quite newbie friendly, is a free download. And there is a VBA IDE in Office.

Re:Include a intro programming language in Windows (2)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47809267)

Visual Studio Express is already available freely to students and individuals. You can do C#, Visual Basic.Net, or JavaScript. I'm not sure what you consider "beginner", but I don't think there's anything significantly wrong with C# as a first language. Maybe not as simple as Pascal was for starters, but no worse than Java, which is taught at a lot of colleges as the first language.

Re:Include a intro programming language in Windows (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47809361)

If Microsoft and Bill Gates are interested in Programmer education, why not add a simple programming environment to Windows?

They already do. It is called "Internet Explorer". You can use it to program in JavaScript, Scratch, and dozens of other programming languages. You can also use it to download hundreds more. Microsoft provides free programming tools for Visual Basic, Visual C++, and C#.

Re:Include a intro programming language in Windows (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 3 months ago | (#47810107)

Once upon a time DOS came with Basic.

Better still, it also came with DEBUG.COM.

Have we solved... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47807799)

Have we solved that big problem of graduation rates and grade level literacy yet?

Computer Science or Coding? (2)

Nkwe (604125) | about 3 months ago | (#47807807)

"Under the leadership of Code.org, explained the ACM, it joined CSTA, NCWIT, NSF, Microsoft and Google in an effort "to reshape the U.S. education system," including passing a federal law making Computer Science a "core subject" in schools.

There are lots of comments here that show concern about mass producing coders and driving wages down. It is important to distinguish between Computer Science and Coding. "Coding", being the act of taking a specification or design and translating it into the syntax of a given computer language, likely is or could be a commodity skill or vocational level activity. "Computer Science", formally being the study and theory of how computers and software work, and informally the development of algorithms and solutions using computers (architecture and design of a specific solution) is a different animal. Computer Science is unlikely to be a commodity skill as it requires advanced skills, training/experience, and level of insight or art that not everyone has or can achieve.

Re:Computer Science or Coding? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 months ago | (#47809203)

well pure CS is Like Music theory knowing what cords Smoky Robinson o Burt Bacharach uses doesn't make you a song writer in their class or make you a bass player as good as James Jamison, Bach or even Paul McCartney

money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47807823)

you made money, thats great. That doesn't mean you know anything about education

Defrauding education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47809263)

These people are pumping money into revamping education into a for-profit enterprise. They want charter schools, they want to force technology into classrooms ensuring expensive contracts to maintain and upgrade equipment, they want testing systems adopted that *require* computers and Internet access even for poor students without it, and they want testing systems that are unfairly biased towards people who are tech literate.

Everyone suffers when monied interests want to reshape education.

Can you imagine how much education would improve if they pumped that money into just running schools correctly? Bring back vocational training, woodshop, metalshop, art, music. Keep the library open before and after school. Fund breakfast and lunch programs. Pay for classes to have complete sets of books for reading, pay the teachers, keep class sizes down, actually fund ESL and special-ed education programs. All of these things will make a real, tangible, long-lasting difference.

Trying to shoehorn students into STEM careers won't, and reshaping education into a source of endless revenue from taxpayers won't help anybody. Other than making these contributors even more filthy rich than they already are.

Education works, when properly funded and when administrators and the government are hands-off so the teachers can teach. It really is that simple.

True dat (1)

echtertyp (1094605) | about 3 months ago | (#47809845)

Why the U.S. lets this happen is a mystery to me.

lower labor costs = more money in owner's pockets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47809301)

Here's a basic economics lesson for you: Supply and demand. If you increase the supply of something, its price goes down.

Increase the pool of laborers, then the price of labor goes down.

In this case, YOU are the laborer. Do you really want the price of your work to go down?

Two prongs of an Astroturf campaign (1)

echtertyp (1094605) | about 3 months ago | (#47809829)

This makes perfects sense, if you are a corp like Facebook, you want to say "we've tried everything, it's no use, please raise the H1b quota" It's a lot like Microsoft cynically concluding that paying large anti-trust fines was a rational business decision, the revenues outweighed the penalties.

CS degree no panacea (1)

BobandMax (95054) | about 3 months ago | (#47812777)

My last company was a well-known, major defense contractor. HR sent CS grads, with credible paper GPA's from well regarded universities, who claimed to know C, and could not explain the source code for "cat". I'm no C programmer and it took me about thirty seconds to puzzle through it. It does no good to produce legions of CS grads whose diplomas are valueless. Coding, even with modern tools, is not easy and never will be. The way to attract more ***QUALIFIED*** people to CS is to allow the market to price their services accordingly.

Friends with H1B hungry commercial companies report similar experiences. A few imports are very good, most range from barely Ok to competent and the rest are dead weight.
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