Ask The Fox: People keep telling me to learn to code, but I don't wanna

Would that we all know what we want. Or at least what we don't.

People who tell others to learn to code pile implicit assumptions into the statement.

Learn to code... fix your tools. make your own tools.

...for fun.

...for freedom!

...for money! understand your computer!

Struggling with the awful UI in most open source tools never felt particularly free. Engaging with the kind of people who comment on issues and pull requests on Github has never been fun. I'm never going to out-do the people who make my tools: stuff like Ableton Live and the Affinity Suite are lightyears ahead of every open source alternative, and I just do not have the interest in coding to get capable enough to make my own.

Sure, sometimes I make a little script in WSL for some useful thing, but it takes an hour of research to remember all I forgot from the last time I thought about code. I spent 2 years getting a networking degree (AAS) with a focus on Linux. We had a whole book on Bash! I still have to look up the operator for sending output to a file.

I am not a coder in any natural or intuitive sense, not in the way the most vociferous "learn to code!" champions often are.

And as a job, most people who make more than they could doing just about anything else came out of elite colleges with job offers in hand. You and I are not destined for high-paying careers in software development without an amount of effort that would get meaningful results doing what we actually want to do.

One thing worth knowing is how your computer works, and learning the basics of just about any programming language will cover that. I hear stories from teachers of having to teach kids what a file system is so they can save files for what they work on in class. Kids aren't learning about files and memory the way my generation did, and we only learned it by necessity.

If I wanted to play Wing Commander, I had to know how to edit batch files to set up extended memory. The basics of computing are still worth learning even if all the natural pathways have gone away.

So sure, learn to code, but focus it with purpose. Go into it knowing what you want to get out of it so you can ask the right questions, pick the right tools, and set the right goal.