It was exciting to see this video rocket to four million views in the course of a couple of days, but it earned every single view it got:
The video echoed the sentiment i expressed in the TEDx talk i did with my daughter last fall, a sentiment which i in turn borrowed from a number of different (and infinitely more wise) visionaries, all of whom are chanting the same refrain: LEARN. TO. CODE.
In the climax of the video, Gabe Newell says that coders of today are wizards of the future. Confirmed: after i had spent 3 years on the job as a video game developer and really had a solid handle on Actionscript 2 programming in Flash, i literally felt like i had magic powers. It felt like the world was mine, and an entire, previously hidden dimension of possibility had opened up before me. It’s a lot like what my daughter Cassandra is currently experiencing as she learns to read. Imagine that incredible jump, from a world filled with complex runes in all different sizes and colours and styles, to a world where it all comes into focus and you can finally make sense of it all … and do powerful things with your newfound knowledge. That is what learning to code felt like for me.
The Contagion Spreads
An excellent companion piece to the video is the story of Tanmay Bakshi, a Canadian kid who – at NINE years old (NINE!!) – had his first app approved by Apple. The amazing thing about the article is that it casually mentions Tanmay had also written his own operating system at one point. Despite all my experience with computers, i barely understand what an operating system even is. The fact that a 9-year-old wrote one boggles my mind.
This is my favourite tidbit from the article:
His teacher says another boy in the class is now into code because of Tanmay.
Attaboy! Like a virus. The good kind.
Now, please feel free to leave a comment below and smugly explain operating systems to me.