Mental-manual labor

Recently, a friend who works in marketing and business development at a small tech startup was offered the chance to attend a two-month code academy, paid for entirely by her company, as a first step towards transitioning to a role as a developer. (Go get 'em, girl!) I am writing this post in response to a conversation with her.

When I interned in Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Late-Stage Chemical Development group, I was told entry-level chemists get paid only three-quarters what an entry-level chemical engineer makes. "Chemistry is a skillset; engineering is a way of thinking."

It’s an ugly distinction. After all, critical thinking is what makes us human, and chemists are unquestionably human!

In light of this fact, I am wary of the idea that “everyone should learn to code.”

Coding requires critical thinking. (In fact, because coding requires a strong grasp of the rules of logic, and I would argue that coding IS critical thinking.) But, too often, programming is considered a skillset by wannabe-tech-founders. Coding becomes a form of mental-manual labor, where coders have limited choice in project and platform.

Learning to code opens new job opportunities, but it's not a magic bullet. Critical thinking and communicating that ability to employers is more crucial to success in the corporate world than any programming class is.


Popular posts from this blog

How to make your own light-up shirt