Market research studies continuously appear decrying the shortage of engineers that we are suffering, specially in the software development field, even as not everyone agrees. To compound the problem, there also seems to be no way of getting more girls interested in programming.
Even though everybody knows that software is eating the world, programming is still not the number one career kids want to pursue, and who are we to blame them? Compared to a firefighter or an astronaut, how do we explain what we do? Typing and staring at black consoles all day long? Mighty impressive.
While initiatives like code.org go a long way towards bringing programming closer to wider swathes of the population, we need a way to get children excited about programming that is every bit as powerful and attractive as any of the top jobs kids want: firefighter, actress, astronaut… magician!
While listening to the talks at DjangoCon, I had an epiphany: we can solve both problems just by letting Django developers explain their stack! Simple as that. Here I have penned a not-so-fictional conversation between a father and his daughter:
– Daddy, you build web apps you say? And how do you do that?, – the little girl asks
– Oh, easy! So there are lots of people using the app, and we need to show them the right pages. So we have lots of helpers for that. The first one,
the , brings each visitor to …
– Unicorns don’t exist!
– Will you let me explain? So as I said, the visitor is passed on
to a who knows what people want.
– A magical pony? You are making it all up!, – the kid says with a stern look, but smiling in the way only children can when they don’t quite believe something that is so cool, that they actually want it to be true.
– No, really, I’m serious. Most of my work consists in writing messages with instructions to make sure it knows.
– Cute! But how does the magical pony remember everything?
– Well it has some friends that have such a long memory that they don’t forget anything, like, ever, so it can ask them. Some like the speed better, some think are wiser.
– Coooool! – by now, the kid’s eyes are shining. – But, what happens when too many people like your app? Neither the ponies nor the poor elephant will be able to answer so many questions so fast!
– Well, when such a time comes…
we call upon the for help.