If you’ve never learned to code, to program a computer to do something, I recommend you give it a try. While I wouldn’t describe myself as a professional coder by any stretch, I know how to automate tasks I normally perform manually, scrape web pages for information, and program the machine to do other interesting, helpful things.

The act of programming is a liberating feeling and everyone should try it at least once or twice. But coding isn’t an end in itself. Too many times we get caught up in teaching people how to code without thinking through why we’re teaching the skill at all. What coding does, what it has forced me to do over the course of my life, is develop my ability to think computationally. Coding as a skill — as a way to get a machine to perform some task — is secondary.

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