Hey look it’s a non-photo post.
Do we tell people not to waste their time learning to draw, because they’ll never be Rembrandt?
Do we tell people not to waste their time learning to write music, because they’ll never be Mozart?
Do we tell them not to waste their time learning Spanish, because one semester is not enough to make them a professional translator?
All these things are valuable unto themselves as well as being job skills - AND we do not have some sort of problem with companies hiring incompetent artists, musicians, and translators en masse who only took one class. Any competent hiring manager can easily distinguish people with a professional level of skill from a casual hobbyist.
SO WHY DO WE TELL PEOPLE NOT TO LEARN HOW TO PROGRAM BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT CUT OUT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMMER?
There are two kinds of elitism - valuing the good, and devaluing the average. IT’S OKAY TO BE AVERAGE. It’s okay to know how to bang together a scripted boss fight in a game engine and not know how to write the whole game engine, just like it’s okay to know how to doodle a simple comic but not know how to pull off chiaroscuro. It’s NOT okay to chase someone away from their new hobby just because they are not as good as you are. That is elitism in the worst sense.
Programming is a formal system of describing logic and relationships between concepts, as well as a creative outlet. It is good for your brain. You can even do it on paper, no electronics involved. It is also eminently useful in everyday activities in the modern, connected world. Even a simple theoretical knowledge will dramatically help with making use of electronic devices, as it removes that sense of “magic” and makes the device into something that can be examined, understood, and modified like any other machine.
Someone is going to point out: I am a computer security professional, and as such I should know better than anyone how much bad, buggy, unstable code there is out there. (I do.) My stance is that this is fundamentally a problem of HOW we teach programming, not to WHOM. A drastic reform in computer science education is long overdue - and I strongly believe this includes expanding the amount of people we convey the basics to, not in locking down knowledge of how the most important invention of the modern age - the processor - functions and can be used to improve our lives.
So please, don’t discourage people from learning programming because it’s not relevant to their job or it’s not their strongest skill. Casual hobbyists are NOT going to displace you, the professional programmer, from doing professional programming.
And if you see someone with a stupid, obvious bug in their code - try explaining it to them as a mentor rather than writing them off as too stupid to program. You were a beginning programmer once too.
And if you were like me, you wrote crummy PHP with no security or stability whatsoever. I think I turned out all right.