[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#4278: Re: #4249: Cotton & Computers (fwd)

From: sean harvey <seanharvey@juno.com>

I think computer literacy is a terrific idea for Haiti, and not such a
pipe dream. After working as a freelance writer in various fields for a
number of years, I'm currently a consultant at a software company and
have found that the programmers there are divided into those that went to
top schools and the grunts who figured it out for themselves. Often the
latter category is far superior. Of those that sort of cobbled it
together themselves and then refined their skills in a public university
(like the CUNY system), the programmers displayed the same sort of
personalities that you are describing -- smart, self-motivated, curious
and improvisatory, and willing to think hard about something that could
materially improve their lives. In six months I've already picked up one
and a half computer languages myself so that I can understand clearly the
code that I'm documenting. There's no reason anyone else couldn't do the
same thing. 

The things that you would need to pursue such a course include:

- literacy (for the books that will teach you the programming skills)
- books on the most important computer languages, notably Java, C/C++,
  Basic/ActiveX and Web development skills like HTML and Javascript (in
the language in 
  which the students are literate)
- a slowly built culture of the computer literate to pass on skills and
provide jobs and role  

You would also have to think about how the first generation of
programmers would make a living. Ostensibly, through start-ups, which is
an organic process that is difficult to plan. 

The other problem that Haiti would face in any serious computer literacy
effort is what Eastern Europe and the Indian subcontinent have been
learning about for years  -- the American brain drain. The US basically
soaks up anybody with strong computer skills, which would mean that most
of Haiti's top programmers would probably be headed north in droves with
the promise of immediate top dollar lasting into the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, this could provide the initial motivation for a culture of
computer literacy. Get the ball rolling and it could have a huge economic

On Sun, 18 Jun 2000 07:31:49 -0700 (PDT) Robert Corbett
<bcorbett@netcom.com> writes:
> From:NLaleau@aol.com
more productive endeavors, like... computer literacy??? (I've 
> brought this up 
> on the List a number of times but nobody has yet responded to it...) 
, the common denominator, I think, is amazing mental 
> flexibility, 
> creativity, ability to improvise, curiosity and willingness to 
> entertain any 
> concept that could produce something profitable and/or interesting. 
> I think 
> these traits are very consistent with the basic make-up of an 
> excellent 
> computer programmer or software designer... Why doesn't anyone else 
> notice 
> that? 
> Nancy

Juno now offers FREE Internet Access!
Try it today - there's no risk!  For your FREE software, visit: