As I work to get ready for the news to change, we can all learn from ___________

As I work to get ready for the news to change, we can all learn from ___________

As I work to get ready for the news to change, we can all learn from ___________

If an employment manager had any impulse to say that 30 million words are missing from the nation’s educational vocabulary, I’d rather they not.

During a recent conversation, I asked a friend what her favorite words were. “Coming of age,” she said. “What about that overused word, belonging,” I said.

“Actually, the 30 million word gap is mostly a problem when I need to be fluent in how to code.”

If an employment manager had any impulse to say that 30 million words are missing from the nation’s educational vocabulary, I’d rather they not. That’s because language is so important to how we get things done, from getting a job to extricating ourselves from traffic jams.

You don’t need to mine into your pocket to bring up definitions of words. Google tells you what words mean. You don’t need to explain whether you mean what you mean. Or, if you do want to explain, be concise. You can present arguments with emojis or metaphors. Let people read your words, but speak directly to them, not every third word of each sentence.

Though I might just say that if I were looking for a second career, I’d need computer code. Over the past seven years, my job has shifted from enterprise software to tech startups, including GitHub, in which I do custom code for each individual. These days I’m over a million words deep, so I spend many of my waking hours trying to make it all work.

“When we were in college, the word coder was talked about a lot. But the reality is that everyone is a developer now.”

On GitHub, when I’m in the habit of searching for words like “code,” “physics,” “metadata,” and “moderation,” I often find 10-word items with a similar point of view. (The posts I like look similar, too, which is one reason I’ve slowly adjusted to using the pronoun “I”).

I consider the content of those posts to be, “how to code” and “how to understand why developers code.” Before I came to the Internet, when we were in college, the word coder was talked about a lot. But the reality is that everyone is a developer now. This carries over to some of the dialect I must internalize to communicate better, because there are already thousands of other people speaking the same way. My unique linguistic gauntlets may never all be conquered, but I’m making progress.

For most people, getting a job depends on having the right words. Allowing more than a few sentences of overly technical text to fill one’s mind is like making someone present an iPhone without a screen. Ideally, a conversation will flow and be colored by an understanding of the subject matter. But in an uncertain world, learning to communicate better is probably going to help us all—and the absence of texts like “Code 37” won’t hurt either.

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