We have definitely explored a recurring theme here at “The Digital Biologist” concerning the general lack of training and exposure that most life scientists get to computer programming in the course of their educations and careers. See for example, our previous article “Life science beyond the spreadsheet” in which we lament how relatively little advantage most life scientists are able to take of computer programming in their work, even when it has the potential to accelerate their research. We have also advocated the use of extremely powerful, versatile and easy-to-learn programming languages such as Python in biological research, through the publication of simple online tutorials that show how easy it is to learn the basics and to quickly start to use such programming languages to simplify or solve real research problems.
Seems like it isn’t only the life science field that is experiencing this shortfall in programming skills …
Here is a really nice video from the computer programming advocacy group code.org that essentially delivers the same message while also featuring the personal appeals of a few of the biggest heavyweights in the technology world, to inspire kids and the schools that they attend to develop the skills and expertise in coding that seem to be in such limited supply, in spite of the huge demand for them.
Admittedly this video is more targeted towards high school kids than college level or career life scientists, but the message is the same and there is much in it that can also serve as inspiration to those in the life science arena.
This short film starts with a simple message from Steve Jobs: “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think”. We are obviously somewhat biased when it comes to this particular issue, but we tend to agree 🙂
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