Coding in education is tantamount to student success, Cook tells Trump

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Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared in front of the White House's American Workforce Policy Advisory Board on Wednesday, telling President Donald Trump that a lofty goal of integrating a new nationwide curriculum requires input from the government, private sector, and educators.

Tim Cook and Donald Trump


"As we've looked at the mismatch between the skills that are coming out of colleges and what the skills are that we believe we need in the future -- many other businesses do -- we've identified coding as a very key one," Cook said. "And we believe strongly that it should be a requirement in the U.S. for every kid to have coding before they graduate from K-12, and become somewhat proficient at it.

"And so we've done a [Swift] curriculum now, and provided it to all schools in the U.S.," he continued. "4,000 have picked it up. Now we have a lot further to go because there's a lot more than 4,000 schools in America, but that is a start. We've also done that with 80 community colleges. And we're really proud of that, particularly with the work that we're doing in Austin, and providing coding education there.

Cook was named as one of 25 members of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board on Feb. 13, along with a selection of other executives, education officials, and members of state and local governments. The group met today in Washington, D.C.

The board aims to provide varied perspectives on workforce issues that face communities and business, while at the same time working to raise awareness of ways workers can better themselves to create family-sustaining careers. The group will work with the National Council for the American Worker, providing guidance to ensure students and workers can access affordable and relevant education and job training.

It will also develop a national campaign to promote education and training, and recommend specific courses of action for improving the labor market to meet the demands of employers, to produce strategies to improve private sector investments in students and workers, and to establish a culture of lifelong learning.

"There's an enormous deficit in the number of jobs versus the number of candidates, and so we are proud to take part and to help to get this alignment much better between education and private sector. We realize that in something this large, it takes government, private sector and education all kind of oaring in the same direction, and we're very proud to be a part of it."

President Trump was cordial to Cook during the meeting, saying that he'd "done such an incredible job at Apple," employing "so many people" and bringing "a lot of money back into our country because of the new tax law." He even said Cook had "become a friend" of his.

It's questionable whether Cook has a genuine friendship with Trump, despite multiple previous meetings. The CEO has regularly spoken out against Trump's policies on matters like immigration, LGBT rights, climate change and Chinese trade. Apple has benefited from lowered corporate taxes, which it used to repatriate some foreign cash and invest in U.S. jobs and facilities.

American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting at the @WhiteHouse! https://t.co/izb2tTrINB

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Do you mean “paramount” not “tantamount”?
    dysamoria1stSpamSandwichlorin schultz
  • Reply 2 of 12

    What?? How is whether or not they are true "friends" and buds a relevant part of this story?? And even if it was relevant, it's a subjective and unknowable thing given what we know.

    Is this what qualifies as "journalism" these days?



  • Reply 3 of 12
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,099member
    I realize the term "coding" is being used in a very broad context and for general consumption by nontechnical audiences, but it still strikes me as overly optimistic to imply something like "it (coding) should be a requirement in the U.S. for every kid to have coding before they graduate from K-12, and become somewhat proficient at it" is a means to backfill the huge skills gap that is leading to so many unfilled software development positions in industry.

    I completely agree that every student should be exposed to coding in a similar way that they are exposed to writing and composition for human languages. Over the past few decades many colleges have put writing skills proficiency requirements in place for graduation. This was done as a remedial action to address embarrassing shortfalls in writing skills attainment by college graduates, especially those in technical curriculums. Doing something similar for "coding" would set a similarly low bar for colleges to feel better about the "coding skills" students they are graduating from their programs obtain. Just like the non-writing-focused students who pass the minimum writing skills requirements for graduation are unlikely to obtain gainful employment as writers, those non-software-development focused students passing the minimum coding skills requirements are unlikely to gain employment as software developers. We'll end up with many more "Hello World" apps but the huge gap in software development capability and capability of our industrialized nation persist.

    I don't want to sound snobbish, but the biggest gap in software development (imho of course) is not finding enough people with skills around HOW to write code, but rather in finding enough people with the language skills, creativity, perseverance, team orientation, imagination, and motivation for knowing WHAT problems to go after with code as a means to an end and not the end itself.  Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Mark Twain, and Ernest Hemingway weren't great writers because they had english composition mastered. They were great because of what they could do with words backed by all of the aforementioned qualities. Steve Jobs couldn't code his way out of a wet paper bag, but he went on to directly influence the creation of some of the most influential software masterpieces of our time.

    Making "coding" rote isn't really going to change much. Inspiring creativity and leading by example, as Tim Cook is doing, may nudge the bar in the right direction. But he'll need a lot more help than what he's getting at the present time.  

    dysamoria1st
  • Reply 4 of 12
    CaffiendCaffiend Posts: 13member
    LOL!

    Perhaps emphasizing coding was Cook’s code for Trump to cultivate patient, persistent, logical and insightful thinking.

    dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Swami BaloneySwami Baloney Posts: 19unconfirmed, member
    He's wrong.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 12
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,215member
    Ah, the myopia... the presumption that corporate interest is also global interest is quite heavy here...
  • Reply 7 of 12
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,215member
    Let’s not talk about how corporations are using programmers like disposables when they need to pump up the quarterly profit margins amid “disappointing” sales figures... Looking at you, video game industry.

    Being a “coder” does nothing to ensure your success in a world of sociopathic employers.
    maciekskontaktbeowulfschmidtmdriftmeyer1st
  • Reply 8 of 12
    I am sorry if i sound a bit arrogant, but having coding and devlopment hands on expertise with some big and medium iconic companies known around the world, I can give one piece of advice to Mr. Cook: Do not teach coding - teach how to use proper engineering techniques to solve life problems (coding might be only small part of it as excercise or POC). If you are running company where development managers cannot grasp that and they cannot comprehend automated testing process with limiting human time on it, then you have very poor idea how to run it while limiting defects, reducing risks, building testing culture and reducing human cost (CPU and storage is always cheaper than human time, but human bring value elsewhere - not on repetitive mundane job wheather it is regression testing or coding similar loop for millionth time).
    dewmemdriftmeyer1st
  • Reply 9 of 12
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,282member
    I am sorry if i sound a bit arrogant, but having coding and devlopment hands on expertise with some big and medium iconic companies known around the world, I can give one piece of advice to Mr. Cook: Do not teach coding - teach how to use proper engineering techniques to solve life problems (coding might be only small part of it as excercise or POC). If you are running company where development managers cannot grasp that and they cannot comprehend automated testing process with limiting human time on it, then you have very poor idea how to run it while limiting defects, reducing risks, building testing culture and reducing human cost (CPU and storage is always cheaper than human time, but human bring value elsewhere - not on repetitive mundane job wheather it is regression testing or coding similar loop for millionth time).
    Well said. And as a NeXT/Apple engineering alum the biggest problem with coders is they were never problem solvers. We hired problem solvers first, and developed language tools for them later on. Nearly everyone had a traditional engineering background [ME and CS myself] but we did have a few exceptional non-engineers and even non-college grads. They were excellent scholastically and left universities when they applied to NeXT. They were just former high school students.

    Apple is having a harder time finding those with engineering degrees because the cost to hire them is two fold more than those without.
    edited March 7
  • Reply 10 of 12
    1st1st Posts: 373member
    Tim Apple went a bit extreme - may be just try to simplify the concept for trump to grasp.  Code just a "language" you might need to interface with machine.  Expose it for every kids is Ok, but master it for all population is bad idea. Apple originally decide to go nitch (old steve days) instead to cover all business software like microsoft, part of the reason was you can't find that many good "coders".  Soon or later, AI will take over majority of the coding.  The key for everyone to understand is the principle behind AI and its limitation (I might be biased, after spent almost one week try to fit my data to someone's FEM model, eventually, check the code line by line to find out the boundary conditions were set wrong - without scientific bases, but the software default).  NA does not need more "code monkeys", but the one can master next gen machine,  If Tim want to fabricate massive next gen apple users using "education" system, that is a different story.  (by the way, I do agree need good courses for CS, just look at india, massive software workforce, and China too, both countries create App that eat your phone memory Gb at time.  12Gb or even 16Gb were marketed in that neck of the woods to hide poor quality phone Apps plus hidden tracking codes... ). 
  • Reply 11 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,198member
    Caffiend said:
    LOL!

    Perhaps emphasizing coding was Cook’s code for Trump to cultivate patient, persistent, logical and insightful thinking.

    Cook is there to push for something which benefits Apple. That’s just a cheap and pointlessly snarky comment about the President.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,739member
    Caffiend said:
    LOL!

    Perhaps emphasizing coding was Cook’s code for Trump to cultivate patient, persistent, logical and insightful thinking.

    Cook is there to push for something which benefits Apple. That’s just a cheap and pointlessly snarky comment about the President.
    It's ironic that you're offended by that, as "cheap and pointlessly snarky" are common criticisms of said President himself! :smiley:

    You're right about Cook's motives though. While I believe some of his actions really are truly altruistic, this one isn't. In addition to the creatives and visionaries others have described, the software industry needs armies of 
    affordable code punchers. Generating early awareness of that career path may sway some kids to consider it instead of other vocational options. That's good for Apple.
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