Why Coding?

Few years ago, I heard that Samsung was employing humanities majors under the slogan that it sought to cultivate software developers with ‘humanistic’ aptitude. Well, I still do not have any idea what kind of ‘humanistic’ characteristics they looked for and it makes me question, “Does that mean non-humanities majors lack humanistic aptitude whatsoever?” But, the thing is they hired those people, trained them how to code from the basics, and had them develop software. Apart from my doubt on Samsung’s motivation, it is the fact that coding has already pervaded all around us. In that respect, I agree with Kirchenbaum’s argument that¬†humanities majors should also learn how to code.

Then, it makes me wonder why code? In his blog, Kirchenbaum wrote that,

“The exercise of thinking through what it takes to model a snowball in a believable fashion goes a long way toward capturing the appeal of what I mean by programming as world-making.”

As a CS major, I strongly agree what he meant by programming as world-making. As people come up with their thesis and general structures of their papers when writing, programmers also come up with what and how to make/build. It is not like programs or software applications are created out of no where with simple coding. It all starts out with abstract concepts how to model the world around us and implement or materialize them.

In Data Structures class, I learned how to store data using different kinds of structures such as bag, list, queue, stack, tree, and graph. But, wait a minute, computer does not have any idea what a queue is like not to mention how it behaves. So, the first thing was to come up with what kind of functionality each data structure has and what kind of features it entails. Then, we as a coder, materialized those ideas.

But, what does it have to do with humanities majors learning how to code and materialize whatever abstract concepts via coding? In my personal experience, it has taught me how to inquire about the things that I have taken for granted like, “How does this hyperlink take me from one webpage to another?”.

In his blog, Donahue wrote that,

“but furthermore that in many ways the two are working on exactly the same projects”

Works done by humanities, CS, or any other discipline are no different. They all start out with similar abstract ideas. The only difference I think is the approach or methods used. But, I think that coding is really a good discipline in respect to how to dissect the problems at hand and how to explore the best/optimal approaches to find the answers.

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One Reply to “Why Coding?”

  1. I really liked the Samsung example you used in the first paragraph. It’s interesting to see that some tech companies are making an effort to recruit people with humanities background to do the development work.

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