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Basic literacy in the new age includes…programming code?

October 6, 2010

You can just imagine the future already, can’t you – 20 years from now, with some 1 billion people in the world still unable to read or write, the only way we’ll be able to succeed in Thomas Friedman’s flattened world economy is to know no less than 3 languages – our own, an international one (normally English as it is the international language), AND some form of programming code. Heck, even just to stick this blog together I need to know some basic HTML or it would look worse than it already does.

As the world economy in developed countries continues to shift its employment focus away from traditional industries to technology based ones, it’s a scary thought to realise that being literate is longer the baseline. Being multi-literate is the key, and knowing a programming code of some kind will start to define your professional career and in some ways your ability to interact as a consumer as well.

Don’t get me wrong – we’re not there yet by any means, but this blog by Dorian Sweet, (posted on Econsultancy.com) got me thinking, as it has already impacted my own career in many ways; Despite working in the industry for many years, working my way up the ranks and always building my knowledge and skills, the vast majority of roles in the digital media field are looking for predominantly technical people with technical skills – in fact, I already am impacted for not knowing the intricate details of back-end systems and site construction, despite possessing a Masters of Business & Technology degree!

So in the new world order, it’s going to get tougher to stay ‘in the know’, and learning how to program will be just as important as any of the other skills we bring to the table.

On a more philosophical note, what scares me is that those 1 billion illiterate people are only going to get left further behind unless we do something about it. I doubt the pace of change will slow, so initiatives like this are more important now than ever.

Deliriant Isti Romani (These Romans are mad!)

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