Universal Language of CODE

As Americans across the political spectrum argue over Coca-Cola’s Superbowl ad (“America Is Beautiful”), there are people in America and around the world communicating in the universal language known as “Code”.

“Code” is a term for various computer languages and dialects.  Nearly all of them contain subsets of English words, representing human-readable commands that tell our computers what to do.  The first computers were developed in America.  Also, children in many countries learn a second language, English.

In the late 1990s, I worked with five H1-B computer programmers from India.  They were all from different parts of that large country.  They all had different religious backgrounds and spoke different native languages.  Their common language was English.  That’s the only way they could communicate with each other (and me).

Like English, Code is another universal language.  If you can read or write Code, you could get a good paying job in our global economy, or start your own business.

Even if you don’t plan to pursue a tech career, it helps to be aware of some basic concepts about Code.  There is more to “computer literacy” than knowing which buttons to press, where to click, or an app’s features.  I am now reading David Rushkoff’s book, “Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age”.  Mr. Rushkoff is not advocating that we all become computer programmers.  We certainly don’t need to be mechanics to drive a car.  Instead, David Rushkoff makes the distinction between “driving the car” versus merely being a “passenger”.

Rather than arguing about Coke’s Superbowl ad, maybe we could learn a tiny bit about Code.

If you are interested, I invite you to attend our “Hour of Code” event at Rutland Free Library, Saturday, February 8, 1-3PM.  We will learn basic concepts of “coding”, using a fun visual approach.  All ages welcome.  Bring your laptop, tablet or smartphone.  For more info, see event blog post.


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