Nice post from Mark Glaser about the growing number of newsroom programmers. I’ll respond to this quote:
â€œA huge number of journalism students select that major because they are math-phobic and they think they will get away from numbers,â€? Bentley said. â€œYou donâ€™t have to be a mathematician to program, but you canâ€™t be afraid of math.â€?
Some might dispute that I was ever a programmer, but I learned a thing or two along those lines, wrote some worthwhile applications, etc.
For years, I avoided programming and only got into it out of economic necessity. For several years, it’s how I made my living, and if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
The thing that kept me from programming in my younger years was the math thing. Numbers and I are not friends. You could say I’m afraid of math.
When I got into programming, though, I found numbers (unless you were writing an app specifically to calculate something) had nothing to do with it.
Programming is more about grammar and punctuation than math formulas. It’s also about logic, and the disciplined mind that is usually the math mind helps, but logic is also something that can be learned.
Great programmers, I’ve learned, are great at math. I wasn’t a great programmer.
But I was good enough for a newsroom.
Most of what is needed in newsrooms is pretty basic at this stage. What’s needed for most newspaper business apps is pretty basic. This isn’t rocket science.
The point here is that if you’re a journalist and have an opportunity to make a contribution to your career, your company or to our industry through programming, don’t let the math thing scare you. You can do it. Eighty percent of programming (if my math is right) is easy. If I can do it, you can.