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No IT Education:  Cargo Cult



As pointed out in No IT Education: "I Can Use A Smart Phone So I'm A Genius" Syndrome and No IT Education: "The Defaults Work So I'm A Genius" Syndrome, society, particularly IT, has become a "cargo cult", doing things because it has seen them done that way but not understanding why, which ultimately fails.

In World War II, the Americans, after the Japanese, occupied the previously rarely-visited Melanesian Islands. By plane, they delivered many supplies to the islands for the war effort, but these also greatly enriched the lives of the Melanesians. After the war, the Americans left and so did their supplies, returning the Melanesians sadly to their primitive lifestyle. Having seen the supplies being delivered by plane, the Melanesians thought if they built things that roughly looked like planes, the supplies, and their prosperity, would return. Of course, it did not work.

Doing IT is mostly just thinking, so it is hard to see what an IT expert actually knows and does. In particular, programming, including websites and making settings on equipment, has become akin to magical incantations. To do something, IT incompetents Google the particular magical incantation, usually a command and its options, to do what they need, without understanding any of it. If it works at all, great, if not, they look for another magical incantation. This is extreme security stupidity.

For-profit and community colleges teach programming as copying and pasting in existing code from elsewhere, like the Internet, hoping it was programmed by someone who actually knows how to program (it probably wasn't). That's why so many websites work so badly.

IT incompetents proclaiming themselves as IT experts to IT incompetent employers and the media speak in generalities -- like fortune tellers -- they think sound like what an IT expert would say, not any actual detailed IT expertise.

In the end, we'll end up as impoverished as the Melanesians were.

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