Either you get with the code or get left out in the cold.

As technology becomes more and more ingrained in our everyday lives, you have to make a choice: Are you a consumer of tech, or are you someone who understands it?

Buying the latest iPhone and keeping up with the who-works-where, who’s-launching-what tech gossip is all good and fine, but if you can’t code, you ain’t no kind of techie.

Startups like Codecademy are making it easy to learn coding online — easy enough for school children, in fact. More intense programs like DaVinci Coders take learners from total noob to novice programmer in an 11 week bootcamp. And one game, Coderacer, will have you on the ground and coding in just five minutes…

All this supply exists on the market because there’s a huge demand for coding education. One startup we recently heard from decided that in 2012, all its employees would learn how to code. And in Estonia, every single kid in public school will be learning computer programming.

“While the entrepreneurial community has exploded within the past year or two, there’s a constant shortage of developers and a tremendous number of businesspeople trying to learn to code,” said Codecademy founder Zach Sims to VentureBeat in a recent chat.

“Programming literacy is going to be an incredibly important skill in the next few years, and we hope we can bring that to new groups of people.”

Still, not everyone buys into the “everyone must code” mentality. In a recent chat with Internet co-inventor Vint Cerf (he was one of the two creators of TCP/IP), the venerable innovator said that while he likes Codecademy’s aims, he’s not sure that coding is the right pursuit for all humankind.

“I hope it won’t be necessary for [all] people to be programmers,” he said, “but it is necessary for people to have an appreciation for what is possible because of science and technology… an abstract understanding of how things work.”

“A lot of people who use spreadsheets on a daily basis don’t think about it as coding, but it is. It’s just simpler than if you were writing an operating system,” Cerf concluded.


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