"Language skills are a stronger predictor of programming ability than math knowledge" as I have been saying for years

· · Mastodon Twitter Crossposter · 12 · 73 · 73

@nex3 Similarly, any programmer can write a complex application. What requires skill is writing a simple application, and having it still meet the requirements.


Also interesting, as someone learning french:

"Prat showed that patterns of neural activity while the brain is at rest can predict up to 60% of the variability in the speed with which someone can learn a second language (in that case, French)."

@nex3 "Programming involves creating meaning by stringing symbols together in rule-based ways."

I bet if they studied mathematicians working on proofs they'd see the same language areas firing. Meanwhile the tests they ran to assess math ability likely involved adding things in your head or rotating 2d figures.


"If there's nothing different about UNIX people, how come so many were liberal-arts majors?"

"Suddenly the overrepresentation of polyglots, liberal-arts types, and voracious readers in the UNIX community didn't seem so mysterious […]"

"It's the love of words that makes UNIX stand out."

The Elements Of Style: UNIX As Literature, Thomas Scoville, 1998

@nex3 Because the article mystifyingly doesn't even link the paper they're citing, here's a direct link:

@nex3 This paper does say that they tested "numeracy", which is very different from math knowledge.

@nex3 this is stunning to me because I'm garbage at spoken language learning but aggressively autodidactic when it comes to programming
@nex3 that said, I have said this before, but I think my biggest issue with spoken language learning is not being able to immediately put my new knowledge into action and I have to get over that hump of getting myself to actually speak to a native speaker with it and that spikes the shit out of my anxiety

@nex3 while programming certainly isn’t nearly as mathematical as people claim, i don’t think you can extrapolate from “ability to write rock-paper-scissors in python after 4 hours” to “programming ability”

@nex3 oh, absolutely, i’m not saying the study is bad. just that the article oversells it, as usual

@nex3 i didn't read the paper, did they control for language aptitudes impact on /understanding the instructional lessons/?

@veer66 indeed. It may not need much math when programming at work.

It just needs when programming on online contest. problems on it sometimes need math skill. 😅

@mayuutann The hardest part of AtCoder is probably comprehending the requirements. 😅

@nex3 This makes a lot of intuitive sense. Programming is communication

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