Imagine if Mike Bloomberg wanted to learn to play the guitar. To which guitarist guild would reply: "NO! Don't learn to code! There are millions of terrible guitar players, we don't need any more!".
Then Mike Bloomberg decided to learn astrophysics. To which Neil deGrasse Tyson would take offense. "Can you explain to me how Michael Bloomberg would be better at his day to day job of leading the largest city in the USA if he woke up one knowing the total mass of Andromeda?"
The "everyone should learn to code" movement isn't just wrong because it falsely equates coding with essential life skills like reading, writing, and math"
Programming is math.
Look, I love programming. I also believe programming is important … in the right context, for some people. But so are a lot of skills. I would no more urge everyone to learn programming than I would urge everyone to learn plumbing. That'd be ridiculous, right?
Which makes me wonder what is Jeff's problem with more people learning plumbing?
So, why not. If you want to learn plumbing why not. Worst case scenario, plumbing is not for you and you trying to learn it will make you figure that out.
Our schools teach us music, calculus, sports, chemistry and a lot of stuff that we won't necessarily use in our lives. So what? And again, What is wrong of learning for the sake of learning? As humans that is what we do.
What Jeff is saying is simply this. If more people learn to code, we will have more bad coders. Boohoo. Somehow we have gotten back to medieval time, and we are suddenly afraid of other people learning our precious knowledge, really?
Also the call to learn math and reading instead of coding is useless. So, are we really saying that you have to choose between improving coding and improving your reading skills? Sorry but not.
Just because industrial engineers exist, does not mean you shouldn't ever give carpentering a try. And in that regards, just because your job uses something as lovely and wonderful as programming as part of the million of times more ridiculous, silly and frustrating process that is making software for boring business, it does not mean that everyone else should be denied the joy of programming. There are a lot of ways amateur programming can work as an entertaining hobby that is outside of the lame thing that software development is. We got modding, the demo scene, scratch, algorithm contests, games.
More so, more programmers means not only more bad programmers, but also due to any law of proportion, more good programmers.