I wanted to take a break from my normal rant to discuss the implications of a recent study by GILD.com. The study found the United States' computer science workforce has fallen behind the Indian computer science workforce in the subjects of math and logic. On the bright side, the study goes on to read that we are still ahead in the field of web development..... Forgive me, but that's like about the same as baseball team getting destroyed all season and the manager wrapping it up with a "Well, at least we're better than them at raquet ball."
Core subjects like math and logic generally correlate with hard-core programming ability. The basic rule of thumb is that the more effectively a programmer can reason, the more efficient their code will be. On the flip side, web development skills have to do much more with creativity, out of the box thinking, and an innovative spirit.
In my opinion, a powerful workforce is a balanced one. It can be intimidating at first glance to see that another country has overtaken ours in subjects that directly correlate with coding IQ, but it shouldn't come as a surprise. Over the past decade, the focus in the American IT industry has dramatically shifted from competitiveness and a "grind it out" coding mentality to a "Who can invent the coolest website and become a millionaire/celebrity overnight" attitude. I also think that with guys like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey performing a dual role in the public spotlight as coders and entrepreneurs, the social image of software engineering and the IT field has gone from completely nerdy to... enviable.
I feel that as a nation we need to sweep aside this obsession with the public image. It's time to refocus. Coding isn't about personal achievement or 'geeky swagger'. It's about a complete effort, efficient allocation of talents, and excellent communication between team members. It's about putting our noses to the grindstone and sweating out a process. It's about creating something incredible as a group.
It's hard to say where it is the change needs to be made. The easiest solution is to point the finger at our education system and let it be the problem of future generations, but I'm not that type of person, and you probably aren't either. So the change starts today. The American IT industry is going to study harder, work smarter, and achieve more in all fields - with a smile on our face. Starting today, we have some catching up to do.