The 3 questions - October 07, 2015
Even though code is becoming more popular with every passing day, for many individuals it is still a language as mysterious as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. That’s why we called on a professional coder to explain some of the basics of his arcane craft.
Orange Pop: If you had to explain code to someone who was totally clueless, how would you go about it?
Sébastien Soyez: It’s pretty simple. You have to think of a developer as someone who is basically lazy. Instead of getting up to fetch himself a can of soda, he would rather spend hours in front of his screen, searching for a computer program or software solution that will bring the soda to him, not vice-versa. In other words, the idea is to work towards finding methods that will later enable programmers to develop software while expending as little energy as possible on the endeavor.
O Pop: Is code culture developing quickly, outside programming circles?
SS: It’s hard to evaluate, but clearly in the past five years there has been a major acceleration. Overall, whoever works with the Web learns HTML concepts, and high schools now offer classes in programming (France’s National Education Board began sponsoring them in 2012). Actually, the fact that the Web is now omnipresent in more and more trades and industries has brought this about. But code culture is still largely generational. I am thinking of a woman friend who earned a degree as a reference librarian. She was hired to manage a website simply because she was 25 years old.
O Pop: Do coding styles differ significantly from country to country?
SS: In the past, they may have, but style is increasingly universal. Because the Internet is the major learning resource for programming science, styles are planetary. Differences in coding approaches therefore depend more on individual preferences than national ones. The main difference between countries is the way people work (but that is true of every profession, not just IT). Skill sets also vary, because certain countries lack the infrastructure that would enable every single household to have a PC and an Internet connection, which is the case in Europe and the US. As for the rest, with the shareware movement and the concept of making source code available to everyone, the idea of nationality is less and less relevant to the Internet.