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Why are programmers going online to watch someone else code?

Do you have anything planned for this weekend?

Yeah. I’m going to catch a movie and watch a couple of hours of Java programming.

That sounds very unusual, even for geek conversation, but it turns out, that Java programming bit, or live coding, is actually a thing. I was directed to a recent article on Medium that took a close look at the practice (don’t know if you can even call it that) of watching coders code, or to put it in another way, watching programmers as they write code.

A platform called was cited as the meeting point and key example of this new phenomenon.

In a lot of ways, live coding resembles the more recognisable concept of YouTube gaming. This is the  experience where gamers upload playthroughs or sequences of themselves playing.

Platforms like Twitch (owned by Amazon) have made video game streaming something more than just a geek past time and the practice has made millionaires and internet celebrities out of guys like Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg aka PewDiePie, who has spun a vlogging career and a YouTube channel into one of the better examples of social media entrepreneurship.

So what’s the value point in live coding? Having signed up on and taken a virtual tour of the platform, it’s easy to see where the traction is coming from. Firstly there’s the social extension that’s attached to the coding experience, something that hasn’t been done by any other platform before.

There’s also a lot of value being delivered through this platform as a learning channel. While it doesn’t have the usual approach to sharing knowledge on coding like what we’ve seen from treehouse or Udacity, the fact that you can watch someone break down the actual programming elements for a specific language gives a new definition to the term live tutorial.

Whether or not this concept becomes something as big as  gaming remains to be seen. That will also depend on the monetisation that will accompany this social-media-meets-gaming-meets-learning experiment. In the meantime, Zimbabwean programmers with the right sort of internet connection (fibre is your best bet, or at least a very good WiMax or ADSL connection) can go to and give a go.

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7 thoughts on “Why are programmers going online to watch someone else code?

  1. I don’t think there will be much value here for OOP. If you don’t understand OOP, I feel you’re better off studying UML, OOAD concepts from the myriad of cookbooks available – programming is a piece of cake after that. Better, elegant & graceful programs come from solid design rather than merely cutting code. If its procedure oriented programming, maybe, because these are closed, highly coupled and statically bound programs that lack portability, scalability and reusability.

  2. I keep thinking that maybe one day I might be able to start a Hub but there’s a problem with this… There’s apparently always that one bad seed that will be in it to steal from the company, monetary or otherwise.
    That brings me to the next obvious idea… That we programmers can have our own startups but again, the problem is: It wouldn’t be as logical to have 10 people with different but similar startups providing the same service/product and they’re concentrated in the same vicinity and this is just in our country.

    Might make more sense for individuals to just leave the continent and go somewhere where they can easily make on average 8,000 dollars, pounds, euros monthly than suffer the injustices of our economy and keep blinding themselves.

    It’s fine to hope it will get better soon but rather go and keep that hope whilst doing something worthwhile and come back when that hope has pulled through.

    That said… These videos are the best for absolutely anything and everything. I learnt how to “basically” use Adobe Premier in 15mins compared to the hours I would have spent going through some book, even just rushing through. Same goes for my Android Development and UX Design.
    Tutorials/videos are the essentials, including Google, YouTube and online resources in general. Make no mistake… Utilizing these is key to the future for all.

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