It doesn’t take an engineer to suggest a solution. If a person can use TextExpander, then they have the skills to make technical solutions to interesting problems.
Shameful geek confession: I don’t know how to code. Not one bit. I’ve thought about learning over the years, but I’ve never committed the time to learning how to make a computer do exactly what I want it to do. When I see the things that people like Brett Terpstra, Dr. Drang and Gabe create, I get envious. When I hear Merlin talk about getting closer to the metal, I get tempted. So when Codeacademy offered Code Year, a year-long plan to learn how to code, I signed up along with 384,000 other eager students.
After a month, I’ve come to a conclusion that learning to code isn’t in the cards for 2012. When I look at my priorities and my goals for the year, it isn’t essential. As Gabe points out, the apps that are now available make it possible for someone like myself who has no coding abilities whatsoever to accomplish just about everything I need to. While I’ve had to stretch my own skills, I’m yet to find a problem that Google1 and an existing solution hasn’t been able to solve2. Oftentimes I need to combine a few things together, but I’m yet to find anything that would warrant the time required to learn these skills at this point in my life.
As someone with a full time job, a family with two young children, a blog and a podcast, learning to code just wasn’t going to be a reality. Instead, I’ve come to realize that what I really want to focus on is what I’ve already started sharing here: code-free geekery… showing people just what’s possible with the tools that are already at our disposal. Tools that are simple to use and don’t require a year-long program. I want to show those who have always used excuses like, “I’m just not all that good at computers” what they can accomplish if they are just willing to get past their excuses and over their fear of technology.
Perhaps I’ll come back to coding when time allows, but the reality is, you can make an amazing amount of things for others with your computer without ever actually learning how to make something for your computer.