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What’s the right way to learn (and teach) programming?

by Paul Cantrell

What kind of education do programmers need?

Are code camps worth it? Is college worth it? Is self-teaching sufficient?

I’ll share insights from my life alternating between software freelancer and professor on how all of us — students, teachers, and professionals — should approach software education. There is no one right answer, of course. (The title of this talk is a trick question.) There are, however, ways of approaching education that make the effort worth it — no matter what kind of education you choose.

There will be some philosophy, some solid practical advice, and some discussion. I can't promise any magical easy answers. But I can at least help you get rid of that nagging feeling that you’re doing it wrong and everyone else knows something you don’t.

All levels

Paul Cantrell

Paul fell in love with programming at first sight on an Apple ][+ in 1982, and never looked back. He is a freelance software developer who (mostly) works with Bust Out Solutions, and teaches computer science at Macalester College.

Living a secret double life as a classically trained composer and pianist and artistic director of The New Ruckus, he brings a musician's passion for aesthetics and nuanced detail to the craft of writing software, thus making his bio sound all fancy.


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