originally posted by Stefan:

How many of you have had the thought of educate your partner and invite him/her to the beautiful world of programming?

I once started to give my wife lessons twice a week, It was a competition between me and another programmer, we thought it would be nice to have our wives understand why we work as programmers and also have it as a hobby sitting all night long. Maybe we could get our wives to feel the power too?

After a couple of months my wife didn't like the idea any more, it was too hard to understand she thought, same for my friends wife.

So now we are thinking of some project that would be too fun for our wives to turn down just to get the spirit up again.

It would be nice to hand over a project to my wife, "Can you debug this for me, please? There are some strange error on module xxx." :)

Maybe I'm crazy, what do you think?

+91  A: 

First of all Stefan, I think you have an awesome name. Secondly, while I do not have a wife, I enjoy the fact that my girlfriend ISN'T a programmer. Maybe she misses some of my jokes and doesn't understand all that I'm up to, but it's nice to be able to escape the programming world every once in a while.

Stefan Mai
+1. It's already difficult to escape programming world without having your closest people talking about programming stuff. :)
+1 for making me laugh
+1 I'm glad my wife isn't a programmer.
Jon Tackabury
+1 I'm glad my gf has no interest in IT whatsoever, happy she likes the real world.
Ric Tokyo
+1 No need for me to post an answer, you said it all.
+5 Don't ask me how.
+1 concur. I haven't been out with a programmer, but all the girls I've dated were interested in what I do. I walk them through just so they know what's going on in my head sometimes. I'm glad to be with a non-programmer though because it is a chance to forget work and talk about important stuff.
Adam Hawes
I'm glad my wife isn't a programmer too. :)
@Stefan#2: "It's nice to be able to escape the programming world every once in a while." Nice call. Pussy is better w/o the programming BS. I have never heard a gal yell "Oh, yeah, i++..
+1 for Name pals.
Stefan Kendall
+1 my gf is in marketing and I love it
+2  A: 

It depends on whether or not she is interested in computer science, if not, I wouldn't bother. However you're right, it would be very nice! Good luck.

Might I ask what exactly was edited?
you can click on the "X mins ago" to see the revision history - in this case spelling
@Rayne, click on the edit-time link. I named the edit "spelling mistake".
@Rayne, also.. don't get upset about people editing your stuff. That is the spirit of this site. Everything is meant to be edited and improved on. Your answer is a mini-wiki.
I'm not upset, I just didn't know what was edited, sorry if I came off wrong.
+19  A: 

I think you're crazy - ts, using your wife as a programming slave to debug your errors. Seriously!


(I wonder if my wife would be up for this...)

+1 for tongue in cheek ... of course you do not access SO from home :P
+18  A: 

Seriously, you have to have a carrot in there preferably one he/she doesn't realise is a carrot. My advice - give them their own website (everybody loves having their own site), make it flat HTML at first and then start suggesting and helping them with features.

I love that people will downvote on subjective topics...
actually I think this is an excellent idea, much better than "let's program". My (limited) experience with women suggests that "use this to communicate" is a far better gateway drug to programming!
Jeff Atwood
+1 for female-friendly carrot approach, but from html to java.... still a long way to go...
From html to C#? Not so far. In a word: codebehind. Not meaning to be flamebait or trolling but personally I'd just skip Java entirely at this point :)
As a woman, I went HTML to Java. I also double-majored in writing, so there may be something to that "communication" thing. My husband already has a blog and has written his share of HTML, but I don't think he'll jump from that to programming.
+4  A: 

To completely contradict the other Stefan, there is something to be said for SOME comprehension, otherwise you find you have nobody to rant about the stuff you want to rant about the most!.

How can somebody empathise with a bad situation if they really don't have a clue what you're talking about?

As for the programming, don't push too hard. Be goal oriented. Teach them how to solve the problems that they have every day using the computer that can be made easy with programming.

Important to note that sometimes things are insurmountably hard the first time, but the second time, its trivial and you don't know why you didn't see it earlier.

Kent Fredric
True. I guess we're at an early stage in our relationship haha.
Stefan Mai
+1  A: 

I sometimes think that would be cool, being able to talk to my wife about programming... but in reality, it's not, and will never be her thing, if it was, she'd already be doing it.

Not worth the domestic stress of even trying, and anyway, it's nice to have some parts of my life away from programming.

+29  A: 

I'm moving to some place allowing polygamy and starting my own consulting firm, thank you Stefan for the idea! :-D

oh that's just WRONG! :P
+6  A: 

I've tried that "experiment" with my girlfriend myself some time ago and I think i'm not a bad "teacher". But in the end it turned out to be counter productive, my girlfriend now thinks its a very dull work I'm doing and she didn't not understand how anybody could spend so much time with a "lifeless machine" and tell that stupid thing how things should be done.

To defend her I should say that she is a therapist and works with very ill people all day long and therfor has some other priority about what should matter in life.

And that is good, because it grounded's me some times when my thougts are to high up on programming and working problems.

+5  A: 

I don't have to, my wife already is a programmer ;-).

The real question is, if our kids are going to be programmers. The signs are prommissing for now.

You know you win when they can somehow code before reading, writing, and walking.
Kent Fredric
My wife's a programmer too (going PhD) and I'm really happy with that fact. Not only she does understand what I'm doing, we can learn a lot from each other.
+3  A: 

Unfortunately I don't get long when she used to ask me basic questions and didn't even wait for me to explain them

.. In the beginning there was the command line..

And she goes like:

Ok, I got it!!... byeee..

That use to drive me crazy.

With any other regular friend I would've : STFW but not with my wife.

Nowadays she quited programming. Never care too much about programming anyway, and we are a happy family now.

perhaps she means you should just get to the point :P
Click Upvote
+16  A: 

No thanks. :|

While my girlfriend isn't a programmer, she's a geek in her own right and has her own strong passions (art, graphic design) that she rants about, stays up all night doing, etc.

We complement (not clone) each other; I wouldn't trade it for the world. :D

Rob Howard
+2  A: 

My girlfriend is a programmer and after a day of programming work we don't really talk about it all that much.

Kevin Davis
+8  A: 

OMG. this is such an incredibly BAD idea. And more than a little bit creepy.


Where this is actually useful in my opinion, and it applies to all non-technical people in my family regardless of gender - is to try to make them understand what we actually do for a living. It can be hard for a non-technical person to understand WHY I had a bad day.

In some respects this is even MORE important (and perhaps difficult) in my younger days when I was roommates with my blue-collar-younger brother. For him a bad day at work generally involved being stuck working outside in sub-zero temperatures - or someone getting seriously injured...

"What do you mean you worked hard today - you haven't had a hard day's work in your life - look at your hands!"

+1  A: 

My wife can barely use a computer.

The best kind of wife :) You might actually go out into the real world when you're finished work for a day :)
Adam Hawes
+4  A: 

Heh... I tried this on my wife. She gave up after a week. Yours lasted for 2 months. Must congratulate you for pestering so well :)

Crazy, crazy idea.

Cyril Gupta
+13  A: 

I can't really contribute but I'd like to ask why so many people think this is a “bad”, “BAD”, or even “creepy” “idea.” I really think that by default, the opposite should be true, regardless of your profession (at least if you like it): If you can be passionate about something, and you have a spouse (which, in most cases, you spent a lot of time with) you should at least try to get them to understand, and maybe even share your passion(s).

Otherwise, I imagine many dull conversations.

“How was your work?”

“Oh, very fine, thanks.”

“So. Bad weather today, eh?”


Of course, the job usually isn't the only passion a person has to share. But let's face it: if you're a (good) programmer, chances are that you live that passion, even outside your job.

Now, I'm not saying that everything programmers should talk about with their spouses is programming, nor that all programmers should do this. But I think that for most people, giving their companions at least a basic grasp of what they're best at should be part of building a relationship. And yes, at the most basic level, this means teaching them some programming.

Konrad Rudolph
Well said. Rep++
Kent Fredric
so this is better? "How was your work?" "I refactored this really kludgy module and then optimized it with a touch of assembly where it was badly needed. Then I wrote some unit tests to cover this other thing that previously had regressed, so it was a good day." .... "So. Bad weather today, eh?"
@Earlz: no. The whole point is that a common interest at least has the *chance* of spawning an interesting discussion about the things both partners really care about (I’m talking from experience, it works) whereas with a technically inept partner such interesting discussions have no chance of happening. I’m not saying that *no* interesting discussions will take place – just not about one of the things that I care most about. And man, would that ever suck.
Konrad Rudolph
I have to say, you should probably marry/date someone who is willing to share your interests and you should be willing to share theirs. Just view it as a give-and-take. Trade basic knowledge of why debugging can stink (not too hard to explain, you can make a pretty good analogy with all sorts of things, such as car mechanics) for either your partner's work knowledge or some hobby. Develop new shared interests together, perhaps in areas that overlap technology. Or do what some people do - tell stories about your co-workers instead of that stupid module.
+12  A: 

Nobody should become a programmer to keep someone else happy. The only people who enjoy it are the ones who have to do it because that's who they are. We're self-selecting.

If you want to be married to a programmer, marry a programmer.

Dominic Cronin
Yes, maybe so. But many times a person who likes programming didn't know they liked it until they tried it
+1  A: 

I took the intro to Computer Science class with my wife. I was not trying to convert my wife to a programmer, but it has helped her understand what I am thinking. We did a little html and javascript. It sort of forced her to learn it, and it was not me breathing down her neck. That was probably the most effective part. If I was the one teaching it would have been way too much tension.


I wonder if she'd find a copy of To Mock a Mockingbird interesting?

Of course, you'd have to learn Haskell before teaching it to her.

Curt Sampson

'We Program so others don't have to' - Darknight 05/08/2009

No – I program because I love it.
Konrad Rudolph
+3  A: 

My wife took some basic (BASIC?) programming lessons in high school and at least understands the general idea and "feeling" of programming. Every once in a while she actually mentions that it might be fun to learn a little more. Whenever she brings up the idea, I tell her that it really is a very complex topic and while I'd be happy to teach her, just a few hours every other weekend or so won't cut it.

I know her personality and while I think she would certainly understand programming, I don't think she has the kind of commitment it takes to become a Good Programmer™ right now. She's really more an artistic type, and that's were she's happy.

Combine that with my pedantic side and I know we'd both just be annoyed. It takes a lot of effort and interest over a pretty long time to refine one's programming skills to an acceptable level. In the beginning everyone writes crap, so I'd just constantly criticize her work, probably for years to come. Not a very fun prospect if you're doing it "to connect", really.

Who knows, if one day she has a painters block and has no options left but to learn programming, we'll probably start on it. Until then we both respectfully acknowledge each others hobby/work and live in peace.

I think your wife and my wife are the same person in alternate worlds. When I first started reading this answer, I had to do a double-take... I thought I wrote it!
Christopher Parker
+5  A: 

It might be easier to convert a programmer to wife/husband/partner.

+1  A: 

After beating my brains out over the differences in browser support for the DOM, I'm very glad to come home and try and tease some non-programming conversations out of my husband. He's supportive of my coding up homework for my degree program (to the point of making dinner so that I don't have to) and generally enjoys the fact that I am a programmer. In fact, he's the one generating ideas for additional projects I can do to bring in side income with my skills.

What we do share is the same domain - very broadly we are in similar industries. But honestly, I love having someone to come home to and share my other interests with, and learning his interests. If he wants to, I'll sit down and teach him how to code some day so he can consider making a grand career jump. Somehow, though, I think it would be absolutely awful to discuss code bugs over dinner or be interrupted making a loaf of homemade bread to answer a question about language semantics. Coding time is for coding, and I'm much more productive if I spend some "living" time refueling on other things!


I bet you don't ask your wives to teach you how to be accountants or school-teachers so you can spend your free time doing tax returns or lesson-planning for fun.

Getting them interested in what you work on is one thing. Expecting them to want to do it themselves is just an argument in waiting.

+1  A: 

I strongly advice you against this endeavor. My wife and I are programmers. We do talk shop at home. These are the issues that I have encountered:

1) Your professional and personal boundaries collide

This has serious consequences. If your wife were to ask you to review her code/design/architecture, you have to be very careful with your response. This used to be a typical conversation until I knew better:

Wife: Can you review my design?
Me: Why are you using arrays for xyz?
Wife: **Some 5K char answer**
Me: Why are you using arrays for xyz?
Wife: You never take the garbage out on time.

Later in the night I will be sleeping on the couch.

2) Impedance mismatch in enthusiasm

In the beginning, both of us liked programming. In last few years, programming has becomes a means to an end for my wife. So there is no thrill is sharing new exciting developments. I expect this to be a norm for any average couple.

Me: Today, I learnt a cool meta programming trick in Ruby. Do you want to see?
Wife: Ummm..
Me: It's really cool.
Wife: We don't have milk

You cant critique your wife's work like you would critique your colleague work. Even though theoretical possibilities of this endeavor looks appealing, I want to discourage you due to practical issues.

Really good points!
+1  A: 

My girlfriend is not a programmer, she's a nurse. We both enjoy what we do, and it's nice that she doesn't know what i'm doing and vice versa. I don't want her to be a programmer, we might not understand each other if she does... the good thing is she takes good care of me when i'm sick. =)