‘Programming Is Hard’ Considered Harmful
theodp writes: The commonly held belief that programming is inherently hard lacks sufficient evidence,” begins CS Prof Brett Becker in [an article published in the journal Communications of the ACM]. “Stating this belief can send influential messages that can have serious unintended consequences including inequitable practices. […] Language is a powerful tool. Stating that programming is hard should raise several questions but rarely does. Why does it seem routinely acceptable — arguably fashionable — to make such a general and definitive statement? Why are these statements often not accompanied by supporting evidence? What is the empirical evidence that programming, broadly speaking, is inherently hard, or harder than possible analogs such as calculus in mathematics? Even if that evidence exists, what does it mean in practice? In what contexts does it hold? To whom does it, and does it not, apply?” Becker concludes: “Blanket messages that ‘programming is hard’ seem outdated, unproductive, and likely unhelpful at best. At worst they could be truly harmful. We need to stop blaming programming for being hard and focus on making programming more accessible and enjoyable, for everyone.

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