If you want to be a programmer it makes sense to learn programming, but what about everyone else that does not want to be a programmer? Should they learn programming? I think they definitely should, And the reasons are here:
Programming is just a way for you to communicate with a computer in order to make the computer do something for you. This can be anything from building a web application or as simple as a Hello World application. A sweet example of programming is when you write a small program that will help you complete a certain task more efficiently than you did before. This is the best use case for programming especially for non-programmers and is the main reason I think everyone should learn to program.
You may be thinking about my previous sentence and wondering if everyone truly could use programming in their lives. It is obvious to see how a manager could use programming in Excel to help them manage reports, but does a cashier at McDonald’s really need programming. At first glance, it doesn’t look like they could use any programming in their work life, but what if when this employee arrives at work they need to mark somewhere when they arrived so their working hours can be calculated. This is something nearly every hourly worker will have to do. On most days this system works fine, but what about the days the employee forgets to mark their arrival time. They may be able to estimate their arrival and mark it in hoping they don’t underestimate their working hours, but they could be subject to receive some form of punishment for forgetting. Luckily, a little bit of programming knowledge is enough to solve this employee’s problem. If this employee set up a basic mobile application such that when they arrived at work it would vibrate or notify them in some way then they would never forget to mark their arrival time. This is also a fairly simple problem to solve since the employee only needs a very basic understanding of how to create a mobile application and how to use GPS. With just a little bit of programming knowledge, this employee has just saved themselves from potentially getting fired from a job for simple forgetfulness. This example also does not even consider the fact that people have lives outside their job where they do things that almost always could be drastically improved by just a little bit of programming skills.
So I have talked about what programming is and why it is important that everyone learns programming, but how exactly is everyone supposed to gain this knowledge. Learning programming is definitely not an easy task and then trying to figure out the best way to teach an entire population just makes this problem even harder.
School is the one place that everyone is forced to go in order to learn skills such as math, language, history, and science in order to make them a more well-rounded and better functioning member of society. Some schools are already starting to see the advantage of programming and are adding programming classes into their curriculum as mostly optional classes, but for the most part, they are doing it wrong. Most of these programming classes are all about HTML and maybe a little bit of CSS. This makes the programming class more fun since it is very visual, but the biggest benefit of learning programming is to make a computer do tasks for you, and HTML/CSS alone cannot do that. These classes should instead be more focused on learning basic programming concepts, such as variables, loops, functions, etc. These are the concepts that are needed in order to write programs that can enhance your life.
Becoming a programmer is definitely not for everyone. Programming is a skill that every person should at least understand the basics of. If we were able to incorporate programming into the required school curriculum, students would leave school with the same level of knowledge they currently are, but with the addition of highly valuable programming skills. Programming is all about fun.