We need tool builders

“We need to get (students) to the level of creating original works with their skills,” Stephenson said. “We want to see a generation of tool builders, not just tool users, because tool builders have the economic power in the world.”

– Chris Stephenson, executive director of the Computer Science Teachers Association
[via AP].

I wholeheartedly agree. We need more programmers as I like to call them or software engineers as they’re more commonly known. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, while acknowledging that the growth in jobs won’t be as good as in the roaring 90s, states that Software Engineers are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next several years.

5 Replies to “We need tool builders”

  1. I kind of diagree with this. This sounds like the factory worker who says “my children will be proud to work in the factory.” We should want the next generation to take what we’ve done and do it better. Software doesn’t need more engineers; it needs folks from other disciplines to come in and bring the great ideas with them.

  2. We definitely want the next generation to do everything better. The point is that there are less and less people going into software because of the perception that because of the Dot Com bubble bursting, that there are suddenly no software jobs anymore. That’s no more true than the assertion that there are no more Dot Coms. And businesses are realizing more of what software can truly give them. So there is a growing need for engineers, but not enough kids studying it now.

    I don’t know if we need folks from other disciplines to start learning programming. That might be good, but what we do need in the future is to get closer to the users, the folks from other disciplines, so that we program more with them at the center of the software.

  3. I find it funny that the Computer Science Teachers Association wants its students to be tool builders, but (speaking for my alma mater, Drexel University) they are at least partially responsible for why students end up being tool users.

    Drexel, like most schools I’m guessing (MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford not included), teach the theory of computer science and not that much application, apart from learning a programming language. This results in students graduating from college not having written anything close to real software.

    When they get a job, they find out that they won’t be using all that theory they learned and it’s more important to have “x years of experience” in a specific software tool. Both of these things lead to students learning tools instead of creating them.

  4. I respectfully disagree…

    Much of the tools are now being used to create more tools, thus making it a circular reference. So you’re both wrong.

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