If Brooklyn were its own city, which it was until 1898, it would be tied with Chicago as the third largest city in the US. It is the largest borough in New York City.
So I am excited that the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is going to announce Code Brooklyn today at PS/MS 282 in Park Slope.
Code Brooklyn is Brooklyn’s effort to get every one of its elementary, middle, and high schools teaching computer science. It is highly complimentary to the City’s effort, announced by Mayor de Blasio earlier this fall, to get computer science into all of the city’s schools over the next ten years. Brooklyn is stepping up and getting out and leading the city in this effort and I’m really pleased to see that.
The signature element of Code Brooklyn is to get all 500 of its public schools to do the Hour Of Code this year during computer science week which is December 7-13th. For that to happen, they will need a ton of parent and community support.
CodeBrooklyn needs volunteers to help run “Hour of Code” activities in schools. This is your chance to inspire in students an interest in computer science. The commitment will take about 2-3 hours of prep time and then about 3-5 hours start-to-finish on the the day of the school’s Hour of Code. You can volunteer at volunteer.codebrooklyn.org – CodeBrooklyn partners NPower and #NYCEDU will match you to a school based on your interest and experience. I hope you’ll you’ll use this opportunity to start a long-term relationship with the school community with which you’re matched or be inspired to volunteer for a CSNYC supported program like TEALS or ScriptEd.
If you would like to get your child’s school involved in Code Brooklyn and the Hour of Code, you should connect with CodeBrooklyn to find out how to make that happen.
I’d like to thank my friend and occasional AVC community member Rob Underwood for his leadership in the Brooklyn public school community and his passion for getting computer science into our schools. Code Brooklyn would not have happened without him. I’d also like to commend Eric Adams for understanding the power of computer science education to improve the lives of the students and families of Brooklyn and to change the trajectories of their lives and their neighborhoods.
If it’s not via Donate dollars, it’s via Donate your time ;)Kidding aside, this is very inspiring and shows the magnitude of the preparations required to bring the software agenda into the schools. We tend to underestimate what it takes to make this evolutionary change a significant one.
the real work is always on the street.coding, school lunches, mentor programs–all about the human touch and endless time commitments.true for social change, true for business success.
Is anything like this going on in Toronto that you know of?
Not that I know of, but I was thinking about that. Closest I can think of is this, http://fdschool.co/ but they charge kids, and it’s not programming.
It’s still cool and it’s possibly a start. We’ll end up with a bunch of little Steve Jobs, he he.
so big. i did not know that. very surprised. ive always had the impression that it’s a smallish place tucked away in a corner somewhere, out of sight of tourists and the well heeled. now i know.
Great time to be a kid in NY.
Love Rob’s efforts and love it that Eric Adams is on board.Already planning on helping and supporting however I can.
Dear Fred, Queens is almost 2x bigger than Brooklyn, making it the largest borough in New York City. Brooklyn does have a larger population though. (Source: Wikipedia) Sincerely,Overly Sensitive Mets Fan (from Queens)
I still cant believe that the Mets fell apart last night
comes with the territory. wait ’till next year
Thought that was the Cubs line?
What ever happened to the “pitchout”?
Brooklyn has the largest population. People matter to me. Land not so much
Find Mary. She’s a computer science graduate living on the streets of NYC who wants to teach. It’s two years ago but i wonder if she’s still in this situation? I hope not;http://www.theguardian.com/…
Brooklyn! Super cool. Way to go Rob (you rock) and everyone involved. Will def contribute.
Walked across the bridge to Brooklyn on Honeymoon – i was curious what happened over there that I was missing as a tourist – now i know it is a hotbed of kids coding! Nice one.
I was very impressed the first time I crossed the bridge, as we walked we saw people of so many different races speaking many different languages, a world experience. And the bridge itself is very impressive too. Brooklyn tourism authorities could build a better experience for the people landing off the bridge for the first time.
Totally! I have a great picture of the walkway, and the views across the water are incredible – but the landing in Brooklyn not so romantic. I guess it is still part of a functioning city rather than Disney world. Remarkable city.
Laughed with the Disney part. I mean that there might be a business opportunity for the Borough in building a better landing site, better integration with the promenades, restaurants, information kiosks, that type of thing, not selling plastic scale models of the bridge.
Dem Bums. We will need more coders. The best will be when we have code that is like artificial intelligence and adapts, allowing anyone to utilize and maximize it to run machines and do tasks.
.I had no idea that Brooklyn had 500 schools! Wow!Great initiative.Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
I am working to make this happen here in Athens – Clarke County, Georgia as well. Clarke County is one of the poorest per capita counties in Georgia (and probably in the southeast US), and the economy is severely skewed by the presence of the University of Georgia. Jobs such as dishwasher, servers, and other entry level positions, especially in the downtown area, are usually taken by students pursuing undergrad and master’s degrees.However, I believe the introduction of coding / computer science at the elementary, middle, and high school levels can change this trajectory. I started a computer science and coding class at one of the schools here in the area and it’s already grown by 20% in the past 5 weeks – and this is just one school.So I’m excited and optimistic that we can introduce the same programs NYC is working on, and I’m following the work in NYC (and Brooklyn) closely to learn from what they are doing.Thank you Fred (and the AVC community) for sharing so much information about computer science initiatives – it’s because of this blog that I’ve been inspired to get started here in Athens, Georgia.
Let’s connect re Athens and how I/we can help. I’m rob(at)codebrooklyn.org
The Bronx has a major effort focussed on coding, stem and high schoolers. Assemblyman Mike Blake is a rockstar there and the guys from Liquid Talent (Scott & Alex) held an amazing event there. Growing up here its just beautiful to see the transformative effects of the tech industry. Haven’t seen much of that in my other home CA. Just sayin:)
There is solid leadership in the Bronx — some of us from CodeBrooklyn are headed up there next week to further align.
because of the recent project I helped my 12yr old build…and the pain I experienced in trying to teach him all the bits throughtout…I have been thinking a lot about how best to help “kids code”.I dont have great answers yet, but I can say that more time needs spent getting them early and frequent wins (hello world rarley gets kids excited enough to be hooked these days).We need to help them get things into production…things they can show, share, and evolve with friends…accomplish that and it becomes a game for them (and then they arre really hooked and will start to go the extra mile it takes to really understand all the tech options out there today).unfortuneatly I’m not sure that the traditional, top-down, classroom environment is ideal for any of this (pushing it on them makes it feel too much like work – and very ‘uncool’)Anyway, just my 2 cents
BTW – for those that might be interested, I also wrote a bit about helping my son build his first mobile game app ( colortapapp.com ) -> falicon.com/post/1317435286…
but I can say that more time needs spent getting them early and frequent wins (hello world rarley gets kids excited enough to be hooked these days).I don’t know about that. I say that if a kid isn’t excited at “hello world” then maybe he isn’t cutout to be in programming (as a career). Anything I ever did (photography, programming, business) I was immediately excited and drawn in at the lowest level. The “hello world” level. I don’t think that’s unusual either. The fact is programming or taking things apart (something that I did as well) doesn’t float everyone’s boat. And there is nothing wrong with that. Likewise I didn’t take to playing a musical instrument. Although I’d love to be able to play piano or guitar now, unfortunately it wasn’t the thing for me at an early age. Other things were though. I loved taking and developing pictures and even making movies with a super 8. No arm twisting was necessary.  And even stuck with flying rc helicopters when it crashed immediately after taking weeks to build. And even when it crashed again (nobody to help on this as was typical). I liked it that much. If the immediate love isn’t there (and of course there are exceptions) I am not sure the kid is cutout for the job. Back before there were consumer camcorders I was able to take home a big heavy B&W recorder from the high school. I was probably the only one who was able to convince them to let me remove it from school property. To me it was the coolest thing in the world and I liked everything about it. Ditto for the Ampex decks that the school had with the big ass magnetic tape. (I was also the kid that wanted to fix the projector for the teacher and run it when we had films. Just love that stuff anything moving and mechanical.) Same later on with the VT-100’s at the school computer center hooked up to the mainframe. Just loved the hum of the machines coming from the next room I can remember that to this day (Vance Hall WCC).
If they are excited about “hello world” they have a better shot at a being a coder for sure…those that aren’t excited about it will prob. struggle to be coders (and that’s OK because not everyone has to be a coder)But software is becoming the de facto interface for so much of the world, that I think it makes a ton of sense to at least understand the basics, be able to read some code, follow and dictate some logic or pseudo code…and I think it’s all stuff *anyone* and *everyone* can learn…if they are interested ( <– and it’s that ‘interested’ part that I think traditional schools and approaches are really coming up short right now )
The truth is that most people do not like their jobs (see http://www.vox.com/2014/6/2…. A lot of people are merely choosing between the least of the available evils and quite frankly coding as a job is qualitatively quite good (at least I think so). In a world where we have a shortage of programmers the businesses aren’t going to get all the people who live and breathe code, but need good employees who can be “average” programmers that can do the day to day development work on their apps.
Yes indeed. Lots of little wins early on
That really is for anything. I’ve really changed my policy for new hires. I used to not prepare and just throw them in the deep end. DUMB.Now I have their entire first week scripted and make sure we figure out how they can get a win their first day, week, month, and quarter.After that you are in the deep end 🙂
My first exposure to programming was fun. A classmate showed me how to make music in QBasic. Quick Google search for nostalgia..Ode To Joy NotesPLAY “T120<<e8e8f8g8g8f8e8d8c8c8d8e8e8d12d4″ play=”” “e8e8f8g8g8f8e8d8c8c8d8e8d8c12c4″=”” play=”” “d8d8e8c8d8e12f12e8c8d8e12f12e8d8c8d8p8″=”” play=”” “e8e8f8g8g8f8e8d8c8c8d8e8d8c12c4″=”” edit:=”” disqus=”” really=”” doesn’t=”” like=”” that=”” text..=”” formatting=”” it=”” completely=”” wrong.=”” alwell.=”” lol=”” …=”” this=”” may=”” be=”” a=”” bug=””>>Testing. Neat, after I closed the opened <‘s then it formats properly again.
They give the data here.Their selected “clearly computer science” occupation codes don’t appear to have a lot to do with computer science as a general rule, but you knew that already.
Interesting comment. With respect to this:So for a guy in his teens looking for a career, he would stand to be much better off mowing grass, starting on finish carpentry, plumbing, etc. and aim by age 35 to have a good little business and be much better off then the computer science guys who stand to get fired near age 35.Anything to back up the “who stand to get fired near age 35”?.(I agree with the idea that there are many things that young people could do, that they don’t do, because the aren’t viewed as being sexy or in vogue (finish carpentry, plumbing, contracting)).
“35”? IIRC long standard Intel HR policy.Follow some of N. Matloff’s work.One reason I’m an entrepreneur and startup founder is that I’m over 40 and, thus, absolutely, positively, totally, permanently unemployable in any way, for any salary that would even cover basic expenses of living and commuting to the job, single, at anything involving computing. Period. Held security clearances at least as high as Secret. Never arrested. Never been in court except for minor traffic violations. Never filed an auto insurance claim. Excellent health for my age. Never divorced. Nothing wrong in any sense. Taught computer science at Georgetown University, Taught a graduate school class in computing at Ohio State University. Was Chair of the computing committee in the B-school at Ohio State. Was a researcher in a small group in artificial intelligence at IBM’s Watson lab. Published peer-reviewed original research in artificial intelligence, mathematical statistics, and applied mathematics. Hold a Ph.D. in applied math, with a lot of computing, from one of the world’s best research universities. Have designed and written successful software for problems in US national security and business.After sending 1000+ resumes and getting back 990+ cases of silence and the rest just noise, concluded I needed to do a startup.Can I code? Sure: The coding for my startup? After working through 5000+ Web pages of documentation, fast, fun, and easy. I need to do some more testing, but as far as I can tell now the code’s ready for at least early production. The code as written is high performance and quite scalable — if the startup is successful enough to need some major rewriting, then I’ll have aftertax income enough to pay cash for a new supercharged Corvette a week or a nice new house a month.The code is a Web server, a Web site session state server, SQL Server, and two specialized backend servers. They all communicate via TCP/IP; they can all be on one computer or each on several computers. In total it’s 18,000 programming language statements in 80,000 lines of typing, all from my fingers. Still, I’m unemployable.Net, after 40, it’s nearly impossible to get hired in any job that involves computing. In simple, blunt terms, just are not wanted. No matter how many job ads might be running for people in computing, no one over 35 need apply.In simple terms, there are no jobs in coding. Migrant, slave labor, yes. Jobs, no. Darwin’s on the case: Kids that fall for Hour of Code are very much in line to be weak, sick, or dead limbs on the tree. Period.Given the irresponsible, contemptible propaganda of Hour of Code, it’s important to get the real word out.Normal people hate people who code.
I don’t know at least at my startups and my friends startups we love having a mix and it seems to work out that for every person we hire under 30 we hire one over 40. They are really good paying jobs and right now people stay on the street for less than a week, just lost a potential hire because I couldn’t pull the trigger in a day.I’ll be blunt people do worry about academics and those that coded for the government or huge companies because many times they chafe at the just get it done mentality and like to argue and just work on architecture instead of just getting it done. They don’t like to buy and use somebody else’s controls they write their own.So frankly I’d look at the discrimination there.
and like to argue and just work on architecture instead of just getting it doneYep I have run into that situation exactly. “Perfect is the enemy of good (enough)”.
My software and server farm architecture is from an hour with Microsoft’s PhotoDraw and is on one sheet of paper — five boxes, a few lines, and a little text. It was revised just once, when I discovered that I didn’t like Microsoft’s approach to Web page session state store so wrote my own — then I added a box to the architecture.
Hi Sigma, I have a question for you. Why did you choose .net to build your service instead of, say, linux plus something? I am just curious.
Or are you using .net core only?
Hi sigma. Thanks for the interesting reply, could not reply earlier because I was traveling. The important thing about .net core is thats it is Microsoft’s initiative to open source the core parts of .net. If you build within the restrictions (which I ignore) you solution could be a lot more portable among OSes.Its a long story, but for my endeavors I chose native C/C++ on Linux, which later implied a great deal of work because we started the project using windows servers and were using non portable apis.
For production computing, C/C++ are going to be challenging — something like digging the Panama Canal with a teaspoon. My first concern would be memory leaks, especially how to clean up memory when using threading and after an exceptional condition. I’d be tempted to write my own malloc/free pair or at least put ‘wrappers’ around the standard calls for monitoring and debugging — e.g., help in clean up after an exceptional condition and/or catch memory leaks, pointer errors, etc.Trying to use .NET with C/C++, especially on Linux, I’d be terrified at what nearly impossible to fix problems I’d encounter — at busy 5 PM three months into production and, then, going through GBs of data looking for clues at the causes. I don’t want to have to solve such problems and, instead, want to take conservative approaches not to encounter them.To me, Linux instead of Windows Server for a production, server OS is DIY and roll your own OS. I’m sure Google can and does do that and enjoys it, but that’s not for me. I’m letting Microsoft do their work, and then I’m trying to do mine. Microsoft has invented a lot of wheels I don’t want to reinvent — even if I could do better, that’s not my business.I understand that Microsoft has gone open source on some or all of .NET. And there is mono whatever it is. For my business, I had to select either Linux or Windows and selected the second, so I don’t much care about .NET on Linux, OSS .NET, or mono. Just not my business.
First, you are correct: I basically had to pick one of Windows or Linux to build on.To say whether Windows or Linux, there are several parts to an answer. In part my answer is particular to my background and what future I have in mind — YMMV. Here are five points.(1) My Background.My experience came up via (A) IBM mainframes, the scripting language Rexx, the text editor XEDIT, (B) PCs with Rexx, Kedit (PC version of XEDIT), and its scripting language Kexx, (C) OS/2, with Rexx, Kedit, and Kexx, and (D) Windows 2000/XP with Rexx, Kedit, and Kexx.Right, on Windows, I should change from Rexx as my scripting language to Power Shell — sure, when I need Power Shell, have a week with nothing else to do, and the Swedish Teen Bikini Team offers to bring me coffee, soda, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, rub my back, etc.!Then, as a Windows XP user, for my startup, I had decide on Windows versus Linux.XP Professional still? I’m missing why I should take out a month to install Windows 7 Professional, reinstall all my software, work around all the problems, learn new commands to do what old commands did just fine, etc. I’ll change for my next computer. I will also want the help of the Swedish Teen Bikini Team! :-)!(2) Is the Microsoft Windows Platform Sufficient?Some really big, successful Web sites, inside Microsoft and outside, are based on the Windows platform. E.g., Microsoft’s software documentation site MSDN is enormous and is based on Windows. Some of the Microsoft system management and monitoring for MSDN has been very impressive; no doubt they have done more with their cloud sites.E.g., IIRC, and I likely have the source, for MSDN Microsoft hired some third parties to plug together server computers, install them in racks in something like shipping containers, install the cables, power, cooling in the containers, and deliver the containers to a Microsoft server farm. Then, with the containers still intact, Microsoft just plugged in connections for signals, power, and cooling, and presto, bingo, boom, the servers powered up, sucked in the software they needed, did the right things with configuration, security, load balancing, monitoring, and got to work. The whole server farm had lots of such boxes but only a few people. If my startup gets successful, I could like something like that.It looks like the Microsoft platform would be nicely sufficient for my server farm well into a quite successful business.When my startup is successful enough to outgrow what Microsoft can readily supply will be a day of some very nice problems to have. If at that point I have to take, say, Linux, put in some modifications, and compile my own operating system images, then I will. In the meanwhile I will buy, not build.(3) Infrastructure Software Quality.I like from well enough up to a lot the Microsoft .NET Framework, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, IIS, Visual Basic .NET, and SQL Server and look forward to Windows Server.For these software tools, it’s easy to see that, one way and another, e.g., for the Microsoft MSDN site, their cloud service, etc., Microsoft has driven all these software tools, through all night build runs, test buckets, heavy production usage, etc. harder than one million 18 wheel trucks with 10 million miles each over all surfaces from Interstate highways down to coal mines. So, any bugs I would find, they likely have long since already found and, if only for their internal needs, fixed.I’m not saying that their consumer, client software is so solid, but I suspect that, one way and another, if only for their important in-house usage, their server software I would use is solid. Or if there are bugs, then they will have work-arounds.In the Linux world, I wouldn’t know what to use instead? Maybe Emacs, C++, Apache, Python, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, MySql?Last I checked, on Linux Python was interpretive and, thus, likely slower than compiled Visual Basic .NET.Visual Basic .NET? Sure, on Windows, are programming to use the common language runtime (CLR) and the .NET Framework. To get to those two, sure, can use C#. But the .NET version of Visual Basic (not the version 10 years or so ago) is essentially the same as C# except for the flavor of syntactic sugar. C# borrows the deliberately idiosyncratic syntax of C, invented for an old DEC computer with all of 8 KB of main memory, and IMHO the more verbose and traditional syntax of VB is easier to learn (I may have to train staff), read, write, and understand and is much better. Anyone who worked with C# can work with VB right away; the other direction is more difficult.(4) Product Documentation.For high end usage of high end software products, good documentation of the products is just crucial.The Microsoft documentation on MSDN and in the books Microsoft published was a gigantic amount of work; it could be better, but I have to doubt that in total the Linux world is that good.The Microsoft documentation for SQL Server is enormous; I wish it were better written, but again I have to doubt that in total the Linux world is better. In neither case are we really talking a writer as good as, say, J. Ullman or D. Knuth.(5) Support.For high end usage of high end software products, good technical support of the products is just crucial.As I was learning Visual Basic .NET (VB), I had some issues about how to write polymorphic code. My code did run, correctly, but it ran maybe 100 times slower than I would have guessed.There had to be something wrong. I put a question on a Microsoft forum, and a Microsoft guy got back with me. He was good.Okay, okay, okay! I got it! To be polymorphic, the data I passed had data type just object, and, without the VB complier complaining, the VB run time somehow chased back, discovered the actual data type for that particular invocation, and did the right things for, say, the comparison operations. Amazing. Worked? Yes. Fast? NO — really slow!So, right, for polymorphic code I was supposed to pass, as an interface, a reference to an instance of a class particular to the actual data type I was using on that invocation.Right, the code in that class was basically working with untyped pointers and was not strongly typed. So, that’s where the rabbit was hidden that is to be pulled out of that hat.That use of an interface wasn’t polymorphic or typeless code in any very new or impressive sense. It’s just that some typeless pointers were buried in a method in the interface class. That’s polymorphism? Heck, that’s essentially the same as I did back through PL/I and Fortran. But the support was good.Another time I was screaming until I got a sore throat over how SQL Server installation wiped out my installation on my boot partition. SQL Server wouldn’t run, install, repair, or uninstall. I screamed on some Microsoft forum and got a helpful answer back from some head of SQL Server documentation or some such.This was free support.If my startup becomes a big thing, then Microsoft will be getting some significant license fees from me at least for Windows Server and SQL Server. Then, as a good customer, I have to expect I will be able to get some good support.Somehow I have more confidence that paying big bucks will get me better support than going to open source blogs, independent Linux consultants, etc.My experience indicates that can get some good support from Microsoft for less than the cost of one staff member. Or, Microsoft can easily enough answer these support questions faster, cheaper, and better then my startup could in house.And, if my startup is successful, as a high end customer, likely Microsoft will assign an account executive to my account; for any problems I call the account executive, and he pulls on enough chains to get my problems fixed. E.g., I want someone at Microsoft to hold the hand of me or one of my staff and walk us through some cases of automated installation and configuration and the interface to that via some system management console.Right, maybe we will write some Power Shell scripts that use some system management APIs. Okay. Then what are the APIs, what are they supposed to do, where is the documentation, where is the sample code, what else do we need to know?Next, who is really good at this stuff we can fly in for a week? Maybe it’s $2000 a day, be generous, everything included, $5000 a day, for a week, $25,000. Then just got a button could push to do automated installs, configuration, security, performance, monitoring, management on 100 racks with 36 servers per rack, 3600 servers. Then the $25,000, well worth it.And then will be self-sufficient for all of the next 1000 racks.Definitely: Get the guy on a plane, business class, in a good hotel, with a car, and let’s get that automated installation stuff done.Have some guys following around with video cameras. Get recordings and text for everything. And then have all that edited, organized, on internal servers, backed up, abstracted, indexed, etc., and ready for internal use the next time.Heck, then sell that tutorial material to others, too!That whole approach is better than paying some in house guy for months to work through some O’Reilly books, open source fora, several iterations of try, fail, and improve, all to reinvent that wheel, use it once and not again for three months. Bummer. That work is with just Microsoft’s software and hardly particular to my startup at all — let Microsoft do it.So, one reason to go with Microsoft is, from just me typing code into a single core processor up to a significant business, support for the platform software.This is all fairly obvious stuff. Maybe this post should be an article in CIO Magazine or some such! Nope!Ah, today on the way to loading some initial data, I need to review some of the scalable sharding code I wrote. E.g., I have a table in SQL Server that defines the current sharding configuration for SQL Server. Fortunately I do have some good documentation! Looks like I will have to do this work without the help of the Swedish Teen Bikini Team. Thing is, I believe that those girls will very much like the site when it goes live! And just the first, English language version of the site is easy enough to use that those girls, even if they don’t know English, should do just fine! Back to it!
A translation of your second paragraph is that people like to hire people like themselves in as many ways as possible and get suspicious of anything at all different, better, worse, or just irrelevant, and this has been true quite broadly about people for millennia. People get to do such silly things in software development now because there is a great surplus of coders on the streets.What I am saying is old and in, e.g.,If Carpenters Were Hired Like Programmershttps://news.ycombinator.co…For more, a common situation is that the hiring manager wants someone with just exactly the skills the manager needs for the next few weeks or months and no more and no less. The manager is in effect looking for someone with a lot of experience picking apples and only apples. The manager is afraid that, if the guy also knows how to pick strawberries, then he may leave too soon for another 10 cents an hour.When I was in my 20s with an annual salary 6 times what a new, high end Camaro cost, people didn’t worry about such things. Instead they just wanted to know that I could at least learn to do the work. E.g., quickly I had to learn the fast Fourier transform, and did.Write code quickly? Let’s see: (1) In six weeks, while teaching two sections of computer science at Georgetown U., for FedEx I designed and wrote 6 KLOC of code that scheduled the fleet, pleased the BoD, and saved the company from going out of business. (2) At IBM’s Watson lab, one of our student assistants lamented that he had about 2 weeks of hard work to do on some of the run time of our AI language. Right away I shook my head thinking “That can’t be right”, got some dinner, worked out a solution, where the key was to keep some of the right code and its dynamic storage on the stack of dynamic descendancy, typed in and ran some sample code that illustrated the ideas, wrote e-mail to the group, and at dawn sent the e-mail. When after some sleep I got back at noon, the programmer said that he’d be done that afternoon instead of the two weeks. So, my work made his work faster by 20:1, and the resulting AI language was much better. I got an award. (3) Once the US Navy wanted in two weeks an evaluation of the survivability of the US SSBN fleet under a special scenario of global nuclear war limited to sea. I analyzed the problem, saw an approach, derived some math, designed, wrote, and ran the software, got my work past a technical review by a well known prof with suitable background, and was done on time. (4) For the software for my Ph.D., started early in December and finished the writing, on paper, during Xmas at the farm of my wife’s family, and back at a computer had the code running in two more weeks — another 6 KLOC or so. (5) Once some guys wanted to do a digital version of passing white noise through a filter to get a specific power spectrum, and for that spectrum wanted to measure that from sensors on submarines at sea. So, they were doing power spectral estimation and then simulation. So, at dinner I took a pass through Blackman and Tukey, The Measurement of Power Spectra, and designed, wrote, and ran some illustrative software. I started on a Monday, and Friday afternoon called one of the customer guys. We ran my software that evening. My company had been in a competitive bid for some software development, but my work meant that our company then had the only bid that was acceptable technically. (6) For my startup, of course the Web site needs a way to keep session state for each user. The recommended Microsoft approaches are not so good. A better approach, likely now an industry standard, is Redis. I was reluctant to dig into Redis, to understand, evaluate, install, and use it, risk having to modify it if it was not quite right, so just designed and wrote my own session state server code quickly. It’s a class that is serializable used with two instances of a collection classe and some TCP/IP sockets. Time out on the sessions is handled nicely. Some code statistics: file lines = 8412 blank lines = 1751 comment lines = 3468 debug blocks = 56 code lines = 3193 code statements = 2132Timing: On a 1.8 GHz single core processor, the code is fast enough to send 653 Web pages a second, that is, for each page, read the session state and then store it. That timing did include the TCP/IP communications. That’s darned fast. The development time was no doubt faster than doing much with even just the documentation of Redis, and now I have something small, fast, simple, I understand and can easily modify.Sure, I’ve written a lot of code in a hurry. Nothing about my academic, DoD, etc. background says I should or shouldn’t be able to.All of the above is just irrelevant: Putting such things on some of the 1000+ resume copies I sent did no good at all.To pursue a career based on coding, I’d be a fool.I’m unemployable. Period. So, I must be a startup founder.But, Dad assumed that with a college degree I’d be able to get a good job for life. He was badly wrong. He didn’t warn me I might have to be an entrepreneur, help me learn how to do that, tell me its pros/cons, or just simply explain that nearly always in US business it’s crucial to own a good business. I’ve learned those lessons now.For Hour of Code, better lessons are: Get good at reading and writing. Pay attention to what is coming and going in business. Plan to start, own, and run a successful business, maybe with 10 employees, maybe with 10,000. Do not expect to do at all well just as an employee. If are going into computing, have a lot more of value than just coding, e.g., some applied math, e.g., resampling plans for hypothesis testing, e.g., improve on some of what Paul Graham did with some First Round Capital data.1000 resume copies ago, maybe I would have been be encouraged or even tempted by your post. Not now. I’ve learned my lesson: I see no hope in being an employee. I need to be an entrepreneur.
Part of the answer of why an older person has a hard time of getting hired (despite their knowledge) is similar to the answer to this question (give it a shot):”Why does the older successful man, perhaps a CEO, perhaps an entrepreneur go out with a younger woman instead of someone in his own age group?”.Answer?
Law and medicine are respected professions, and, if need legal advice or medical care, then want all the competence can get, with gray hairs.Even if just want the kitchen redone, still want some gray hairs.But, in comparison with law and medicine, computing is not a respected profession. And compared with carpentry, the person doing the hiring knows very little about the work — the guy hiring can sense when his carpenter knows what he’s doing but can’t do that for a software developer.If the hiring manager is in a serious, high end IT shop doing challenging work, then he knows he will get measured based on the good work of his team and, thus, wants the best people he can get except he does not want a subordinate to be a threat to his job — thus, unless he is darned good technically will engage in goal subordination and deliberately hire someone who won’t compete with him, that is, look too good to the higher ups.Still mostly software developers are hired like workers on a factory floor of Henry Ford where the supervisor knew just what he wanted done and hired to get just that done, no more, no less, nothing especially good wanted, nothing at all bad tolerated.And, often the hiring manager wants someone naive who can be manipulated, exploited, someone desperate, trapped, who will be secondary, submissive, subordinate, etc.Finally, heavily there is no real job for a coder but just some temporary work for a few weeks or months.I tried to suggest much of this with the explanations that, still, really, software is not in the mainline, is off in IT and not wanted or liked but is feared and resented. E.g., CEOs can come up from marketing, sales, finance, …, but nearly never from IT.When I was in DC, the US Federal government and most of the Beltway Bandit contractors were different and welcomed all the competence they could get. Broadly, still, US mainline business doesn’t want computing and doesn’t know what the heck to do with it. There are some exceptions — e.g., Bezos. I can believe that Bezos values anyone who has turned out a lot of good code, done some good applied math on recommendations, targeting, logistics, successfully directed a significant project, etc. But Bezos is a bright guy, IIRC a Princeton CS guy.Generally the problem is, in the org chart, on the path from the bottom to the C-suite, somewhere there has to be a computer nerd reporting to someone who knows next to nothing about computing, and is afraid of it, doesn’t like it, and wishes it would go away — that interface is tough to do at all and nearly impossible to do effectively. That’s a sick-o situation for everyone involved.One result will be what I outlined: A lot of commodity, mobile client devices, a good last mile network from an ISP, the Internet, a cloud, and on the cloud software from some vendor, Google Docs for document preparation, Google gmail for e-mail, Salesforce for CRM, SAP for ERP, some Adobe suite for some marketing videos, some Autocad suite for engineering, some HR package, some benefits package, some inventory package, some accounting package, etc. Then everyone in some mainline US business in a fly-over state will just conclude that their cloud based IT is competitive or at least plenty good enough. Then they will kick out the CIO and his whole team and cheer. If they are in some significant way wrong, then Darwin will handle it. Of course, someone like James Simons at Renaissance Technologies will write the crucial, proprietary code in-house, but someone like Simons is rare, and the lower 99% will be like I described.Life Lesson: There’s a lot of failure out there. Darwin is a very busy guy. A job offer from a bad organization is not a happy day. There are a lot of ways to take a long walk on a short pier — looking for a career in coding is one of the more obvious.Of course for me, I’m coding. But the business potential is not the coding but the market, what I’m delivering to that market, the applied math that lets me so deliver, etc. Given all the rest, the coding is routine — fast, fun, easy. There’s no promise of $ in the coding, just in the rest. There’s not a lot of money in being a chauffeur. So, as I explained to someone once, I drive my own car, but I’m not a chauffeur. I write my own software, but I’m not a coder.
Ask a lawyer or a doctor how they feel. I know tons that are leaving their profession.
Young doctor/lawyer or old doctor/lawyer? And what are they doing when leaving the profession?
Old ones. Doctors hate the whole billing issue and having to deal with lawyers, the same exact thing with lawyers :-). I know of one of each (fraternity brothers) that are leaving this month.People think its easy out there. It does get easier if you set things up right but the days of just working at a job keeping your head down for 40 years and retiring are gone.But saying people shouldn’t be exposed to programming??
Doctors hate the whole billing issue and having to deal with lawyers, the same exact thing with lawyers :-).I mean seriously you are going to tell me that someone who went to Penn Undergrad and then went into either medicine or law is calling it quits because of “billing and having to deal with lawyers”?For one thing there are plenty of jobs in medicine where you don’t have to deal with “billing and having to deal with lawyers”. My wife works for a hospital and doesn’t have to deal with that. She could easily have been in private practice but choose not to do that (I offered to set her up actually but she just wanted to work for someone else. A doctor in my complex was retiring and I was in the process of buying his practice for her.)Likewise you are trying to tell me that a lawyer with a good practice and adequate business is just deciding to leave the profession? I don’t buy this (at any scale). There has to be more to this story than you either know or are able to mention.Have things changed in medicine and law from “the golden age”. Of course they have. But what exactly is the alternative unless you can afford to retire?Also (and I have to point out that you know more about programming jobs than I do – not my area of knowledge) isn’t it possible that there are two worlds out there. One world is the startup world pumped full of money from VC’s and angels. The other is the “real world” which doesn’t have ping pong tables. I am thinking that Sigma Algebra is talking about that world most likely. Is that possible?With what I sell it’s the same thing. Startup world will pay big dollars for my product or my service. “Real” world it’s like pulling teeth they just don’t part with the dollars. No funny money, totally different behavior. I
Afford to retire and say screw this. You know me, I don’t need to take on new projects, but I love them. Same for many of my developer buddies.We have all met people that get old and cranky and Bob Dylan said it best, “I wish that for just one day you could stand in side my shoes, and for just that day, just that one day I could be you…..then you know what a drag it would be to see you”
I think this is an important point, but the other thing to point out is that a reason that the start-ups have to work so hard to attract talent with free food, ping pong tables, and compensate so highly is that most of them are going to die. If you want to go work for Apple or Microsoft you basically have tenure. Meanwhile as big as twitter is its existence isn’t exactly clear or guaranteed (neither was MySpace).
> If you want to go work for … Microsoft you basically have tenure.Catch up on the large Microsoft layoffs.And HP.IBM? At one point they took their 400,000+ head count and in a few months cut it in half.People get fired for all sorts of goofy reasons. One of the main ones is some boss just wants to fire some subordinates. E.g., maybe the old boss died or left, so the new boss wants to clean house, really cut down on internal competition, open up slots where he can put in his buddies, etc. There can be cliques with anyone out of the click at high risk. Doing too well is also a risk — the boss can fear that the higher ups will promote the guy that did well.If don’t want a boss to fire you, then don’t have a boss and, instead, own your own business. There, either get rich really fast and move on or have a really stable collection of customers, be immune from new technology, have a great barrier to entry, e.g., geography, etc.The situation is so extreme that doing well mowing grass, say, have five crews, can be better than nearly any salaried job unless somehow grass stops growing. Or, I know a guy, great personality, just awful appearance, from Turkey who runs five Burger King restaurants. He’s good at hiring people. I suspect he’s doing okay.From all I can tell, now a job for a salary and no stock in a large corporation is no way to obtain financial security, have kids, get kids through college, etc.Tonight just out of curiosity, on YouTube I found some episodes of Trump’s The Apprentice Since I’d never watched even a minute of even one episode, I watched one. From that, it seemed that Trump had had people working for him for a decade or more. But, for trying to do that at GE, UGE, GM, GF, P&G, etc. strikes me as just foolish — quite literally grass mowing and running a few fast food restaurants is better. It’s a strange world.
I’ve got to agree with sigma on that one. That theory ended in the recession of the early nineties.Microsoft had a big layoff. You could be the best person there and due to politics you are gone.If you are the best person at a startup you have a material effect on whether it will succeed and if it does you are a key person.
is that a reason that the start-ups have to work so hard to attract talent with free food, ping pong tables, and compensate so highly is that most of them are going to die.I think a larger reason is that that is what the competition does. Same thing is happening with colleges, right? If one has nice dorms and a rock climbing wall then the others are forced to keep up with the Jones.Also if you work for a startup you can kid yourself that you have a shortcut to success and happiness since there is such a halo around that entire process. “The streets are paved with gold”. Apple in a way provides more certainty. Of course all of this depends on the person and their capabilties so it’s hard to make an orange to oranges comparison.This all assumes that job seekers are rational and that they carefully evaluate all alternatives and make a decision. We know that this can’t possibly be the case, anymore than it is with dating. Not like buying a car (and even there people make bad decisions and you can line them up and compare).
> Apple in a way provides more certaintyIIRC, for the price of Apple’s stock, if take away the cash Apple has, what’s left has a P/E down there with Jeb — single digits. The market has spoken: Jobs is dead. Watches and TV will not another iPhone make.
> But saying people shouldn’t be exposed to programming??Of course, no one here said that.Have the kids play with tablets? Sure. Show them some of how coding works? Of course. But I’ve made these two points crystal clear and am repeating.But telling people 4 years old with a big, flashy video, that coding is a great career direction, without careful references, is sick-o.
I totally disagree with the question.The question is this: Why hasn’t this person become a treasured elder statesperson?Could it be because instead of mellowing with age and using wisdom they have become embittered and just want to tear things down instead
I think “embittered” is a byproduct of “frustration” with having to deal with someone who you feel is wet behind the ears and won’t listen to your wisdom or respect it.I think “tear something down” is really just a way of acting out and feeling good about yourself. Trying to prove how smart you are. That you still have value.Of course it’s obvious that none of this is healthy.Mythically, back in the day, I seem to remember that younger people kind of respected older people much more. Today it seems that the only older people that they respect are perhaps those that they view as celebrities (internet or otherwise) or at the top of the heap.
I don’t know, I have had really good luck integrating younger and older people.I have however, fired an older person on the spot for just being disruptive and embittered.And I should add a young person for being incompetent and not following instructions.
Have a several dozen friends my age programming and happy at Intel
I hope the people at Intel are safe.Early in my career, I had a good job in computing working for a huge company, but the company decided to shrink that division. So, I sent maybe 20 resume copies. I got a good response: In two weeks I went on seven interviews and got five firm offers. The one I took made my annual salary 6 times what a new, high end Camaro cost. I was saving money rapidly. Working for IBM’s Watson lab in AI, I lost money — cost of living was more than I was getting paid. To get the cost of housing down, I used a long commute, but that wore out my cars, and when I got new cars I lost money, there and otherwise.Seven interviews and five offers — I was an attractive employee. I’m much better now, but I would be a fool to try to get any decent financial security just as an employee. Our economy and country are in deep financial trouble, so deep the number of children per woman is less than needed to maintain the population. So, the population is shrinking, and we are going extinct. Deep trouble.But computing is a great opportunity for a startup founder; I have a good project; I’ve written the code and will write any additional code needed; writing the code was easy.
The length of your reply is your answer. I’ll give you a brief one because I took the time to be brief.When you say: “Hour of Code is propaganda, deceptive, poorly referenced, irresponsible, and contemptible.” for something that is going to take an hour to expose kids to coding, something that nobody should be opposed, think about it versus an hour of TVThat is just pissing in the well.I think about what it would be like to work together, and I think, no way, life is too short.
It’s not the hour of time, it’s the propaganda packed into that hour carefully designed and intended to get the kids all fired up, as in the Hour of Code materials, to make coding a biggie in their life. You could not have missed all the big claims of big shortages of coders, big future for computing and, thus, coding, etc. That was contemptible propaganda.Similar things have happened in the US often enough before: At one time, chemistry was promulgated as the biggie future. When the chemistry students finally got out of school, the chemistry jobs were all gone.Hour of Code is a flim-flam, fraud, scam. Parents: Be warned.What I wrote was long to help people understand it. Can lead a horse to water …. The person most difficult to convince is one paid well to have conflicting views. As it is, too many people in the US dream of having the streets out front packed with coders eager to work for next to nothing.
Open access to programmable hardware is a powerful factor in the success of these type of initiatives. What are they using at the labs in Brooklyn? Raspberry PI, Arduino, proper apps on tablets/mobiles or web based solutions?
Have you heard of New York on Tech? It’s a Brooklyn based non-profit focused on working with high school Juniors and Seniors. Helping them learn and hone coding skills, matching them up with techies in the industry, and putting them on a college trek in tech. Check them out: newyorkontech.org
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Last Friday, about 70 Cornell Tech Grad Students held a Halloween Hackathon with about 60 Roosevelt Island 6-8 grade middle school students. The students learned coding language Scratch to build Halloween themed games.The kids loved it including one young girl who describes what she built as being lots of fun and she hopes to make more games and sell the games around the world.FYI – more info on the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Halloween Hackathon.http://rooseveltislander.bl…Cornell Tech is a new graduate computer engineering school in NYC, temporarily located in the Google building, but will be moving to a new campus currently being built on Roosevelt Island.Cornell Tech has agreed to “adopt” Roosevelt Island’s local public school.
this is awesome
12,500 Students across Brooklyn + 5,000 hours of volunteering + 500 #TheCommunityCorps NYC Tech Volunteers + 500 Public Schools = #Winning. Can’t wait to see all of you join as volunteers to help teach students code: http://ow.ly/U9lI7