Report Forget Math; Language Skills Are Stronger Predictor of Programming Ability

tom_mai78101

The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host
Staff member
New research from the University of Washington finds that a natural aptitude for learning languages is a stronger predictor of learning to program than basic math knowledge, or numeracy. That's because writing code also involves learning a second language, an ability to learn that language's vocabulary and grammar, and how they work together to communicate ideas and intentions. Other cognitive functions tied to both areas, such as problem solving and the use of working memory, also play key roles.

"Many barriers to programming, from prerequisite courses to stereotypes of what a good programmer looks like, are centered around the idea that programming relies heavily on math abilities, and that idea is not born out in our data," says Chantel Prat, an associate professor of psychology at the UW and at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. "Learning to program is hard, but is increasingly important for obtaining skilled positions in the workforce. Information about what it takes to be good at programming is critically missing in a field that has been notoriously slow in closing the gender gap."

Prat is lead author of "Relating Natural Language Aptitude to Individual Differences in Learning Programming Languages," published in Scientific Reports. The research examined the neurocognitive abilities of more than three dozen adults as they learned Python, a common programming language. Following a battery of tests to assess their executive function, language and math skills, participants completed a series of online lessons and quizzes in Python. Those who learned Python faster, and with greater accuracy, tended to have a mix of strong problem-solving and language abilities.

In today's STEM-focused world, learning to code opens up a variety of possibilities for jobs and extended education. Coding is associated with math and engineering; college-level programming courses tend to require advanced math to enroll and they tend to be taught in computer science and engineering departments. Other research, namely from UW psychology professor Sapna Cheryan, has shown that such requirements and perceptions of coding reinforce stereotypes about programming as a masculine field, potentially discouraging women from pursuing it.


Read more here (Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, monthly journal)
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    My boyfriend is super into Bethesda modding so I'm probably going to join him in that for a bit, then move on to making mobile/browser games.
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    I mostly just want to look at my old projects because I know I posted uploads on here somewhere.
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    My one game was basically Among Us but you sabotaged an entire medieval city simulated drastically inefficiently with dynamic NPCs :S
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    of course I never finished it x D
  • jonas jonas:
    xD
  • jonas jonas:
    I think you can still run the original game, just there's a chance your map won't work with the newer patches
  • jonas jonas:
    what development framework have you been looking at for mobile development?
  • jonas jonas:
    I'm currently creating (as a hobby) a space invaders like game for mobile using Xamarin, after starting a few larger projects that I also may not have finished :rolleyes::p
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Awesome! you should look at the Atari VCS platform it does not have a huge user base but the one it has is super active at around 11k and they have no games in there store
  • The Helper The Helper:
    basically it is linux
  • The Helper The Helper:
    OMG it is BanLord as Blackveiled on the forum
  • The Helper The Helper:
    what is up buddy
  • jonas jonas:
    thanks for the tip, that sounds cool. Never heard about the VCS before but seems like it should be a good match
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    The winter vacation left a toll on me. I missed staying up late and sleeping in late.
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    i haven't looked into it yet
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    If I could use something Python compatible it would save me some learning
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    But Unity might be easiest
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    looking at old posts here makes me happy. Makes me be all like "wow I was pretty smart in 2009"
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    mostly failing at life through adulthood really demotivated me for a while
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    ....what I don't get is why the fuck they would force us to permanently convert to a version of the game everyone fucking hated : \
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    Raid Shadow Legends texture pack smh
  • jonas jonas:
    Most people fail at life throughout their adulthood. Sometimes we get to learn from it. Usually it just feels like crap.
    +1
  • The Helper The Helper:
    What does not kill you makes you stronger is what they say
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    for real! :cool:

    Members online

    Affiliates

    Hive Workshop NUON Dome
    Top