Given the extent to which all aspects of modern society (at least in industrialized countries) have come to be dominated by computers, it is not surprising that those with a detailed knowledge of how such machines now have a massive structural economic advantage over those who do not. Indeed, it is clear that a detailed knowledge of programming today confers an advantage similar to that of knowing how to read or perform mathematics in centuries past.
Acknowledging this fact, I’m forced to make a sad admission: I am illiterate in the ways of the twenty-first century. Or semi-literate rather; I’m not one of those people who treat their computers like magic boxes which allow them to play games and talk to people in other countries. I know the elements of programming, a lot of the syntax, and I can, with some difficulty, figure out what other people are doing, or even write some simple codes of my own–or even complicated ones, in an unnecessarily cumbersome fashion. But it is not good enough, and it is time that I faced this fact.
My job search has been impeded by my difficulty in this area; physicists have a lot of transferable skills, but in this day and age, few of them are worth much without the additional knowledge of programming. I have been trying for months to dance around it, but the fact remains: I’m going to have to seriously apply myself and learn how to code.
As they say, there is no shame in ignorance: only in choosing to remain ignorant.