This book isn’t for everyone.
Not everyone needs to program computers. There is a popular myth that if you
aren’t “computer literate,” whatever that means, then you’ll flunk out of college, you’ll
never get a job, and you’ll be poor and miserable all your life. The myth is promoted by
computer manufacturers, of course, and also by certain educators and writers.
The truth is that no matter how many people study computer programming in high
school, there will still be only a certain number of programming jobs. When you read
about “jobs in high-tech industry,” they’re talking mostly about manufacturing and sales
jobs that are no better paid than any other manufacturing jobs. (Often, these days, those
jobs are exported to someplace like Taiwan where they pay pennies a day.) It’s quite
true that many jobs in the future will involve computers, but the computers will be
disguised. When you use a microwave oven, drive a recently built car, or play a video
game, you’re using a computer, but you didn’t have to take a “computer literacy” course
to learn how. Even a computer that looks like a computer, as in a word processing system,
can be mastered in an hour or two.
This book is for people who are interested in computer programming because it’s