Thursday, May 5, 2011

Social Coding?

When I first started writing code the general stereotype of a coder was that of a loner geek sitting in front of a computer in his mom's basement. This stereotype has gone on to cause a decline in the number of Computer Science students that this country produces every year.

We may have rightfully earned this reputation (I have at times called myself an indoor enthusiast). There are, of course, still plenty of message boards filled with smug coders who think that they are above helping a "n00b" or who are tired of students looking for homework help. These people were, until recently, the vocal minority. They were the ones screaming the loudest and that was all anyone heard.

Recently, this stereotype has changed. Now people are seeing developers as cool, sheik (thanks for pointing out my error Ellie) chic, and interesting people who have a wide variety of interests and who have social lives. This is evidenced by the influence and reach of programmers through Twitter and by a  number of code hosting/social networking sites that have recently started cropping up. There a plenty of places now for Coders to go and find other people who are interested in the same projects and languages. There are sites for finding open source projects like Ohloh, Project Kenai, Launchpad.Net, Git Hub, Source Forge, and Google Code (I'm sure there's even more than that).

There are sites like DZone and Stack Overflow that help bring the community together and solve problems. These communities help programmers from all over the world share ideas, knowledge, and allow for easier collaboration.

The Social Web has been able to bring together like minded people from all over the world and has helped to make computing better for everyone.It has also, hopefully, put to rest many of the bad stereotypes about computer programmers. This should also help to increase the number of students who choose Computer Science as their major and increase awareness of the need to begin teaching computer science in primary school. If you are a programmer (or a parent) find out why schools should teach computer science and the facts about CS education.