Monday, 26 March 2007

Aesthetics, Programming and the Sex Link

How to code like a girl prompted this post.

My (male) friend’s piano teacher told him:

“If your hands do not look beautiful, your music cannot sound beautiful.”

The teacher was female.

Do aesthetics play a big part in programming? Absolutely.

Clearly the importance of aesthetics has not triggered a rush of women into the profession of programming.

Perhaps – as in mathematics -- it is something to do with the abstract nature of the beauty involved?

I know that my partner -- whose hobby is making patchwork quilts (geometry) and whose addiction is doing Sudoku and Kakuro (NP-complete puzzles) -- is not interested in making the abstraction leap into hobby-programming in Prolog or Scheme. I, on the other hand, have made one quilt, solved one Sudoku and one Kakuro, and that was enough.

I did have some success getting my then seven-year-old niece interested in Logo Turtle programming, but this was compromised by her being "taught" computers at school. Maybe my daughter (aged 16 months) will be a better bet in a few years time?

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