Friday, January 18, 2013

About that Assumption

I am one of those who started CodeAcademy with wonderful intentions and found myself promising that I’d catch up as soon as I had a couple more spare hours a day. While I’ve found another method of learning introductory programming that works for me, I do still get the CodeAcademy emails and have been watching what they’re offering with interest. It’s been a wonderful opportunity for many of my colleagues and has prompted some programming continuing education for librarians that might not otherwise have sprouted. 

Then there was this morning’s email which opened with
“You wouldn’t knit your own sweater. So why code your own map?” 

Gee, thanks for trivializing my craft in such a gendered fashion. Because, obviously, if I knit my own sweaters–tackling simple repetitive processes that can be combined to create large and wonderfully complex products–I have no interest in coding. Obviously.

I shot an email back to Zach pointing out that at least one of his readers does fall into the sweater-knitting category. Just now I had a quick browse through the forums on Ravelry (the knitting/crochet/spinning community with nearly 3 million members) and found conversations about CodeAcademy in a number of the groups–starting with one that pointed out that I’m not alone in being annoyed by this.

Knitting is often perceived as old-fashioned and, in this instance, a waste of time. And knitting, no matter how many men I know who do it, is perceived as a woman’s craft. With so many non-gender tinged automated processes available, and as you’re trying to appeal to people for whom coding has seemed off limits (women frequently fall into that category), there has to have been a better comparison.

**Cross posted to Hedgehog Librarian**


  1. I completely agree with your post. In fact I see many people on Ravelry who are programmers or in IT jobs so I think Code Academy are way out with this one

  2. I'm a senior in college getting my Bachelor's degree in computer science and I worked as a software developer for six months at Intel.

    And I LOVE knitting.

    In fact, I think it's easy to relate programming to knitting. You can engineer a sweater in the same way that you can engineer software, and both have creative aspects to them.

    They're definitely way off base.


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