Programming Makes You Smarter?

by Mike Y
Garry White attempts tests to see if programming affects cognitive development. Does programming make a person smarter? Programming uses abstract concepts and logic to express ideas. White uses Visual Basic to test cognitive development because it requires a lower cognitive development level. He tested it on college students, but there were no improvements by taking a Visual Basic course. Although there were no changes in college students, more research was required for much younger test subjects.

Visual Basic is event-driven programming where the programs made are based on events such as mouse clicks. Though I have not used it yet, it sounds different (and easier) than writing code from scratch. I would assume it is also faster using Visual Basic than regular coding. I look forward to trying it out this coming week.

If programming languages are easier to use, more people can create more software using it. I often hear that these types of things create bloated code while it would have been much more efficient if it were written by a person right from the start. I do think programming should be introduced much earlier than it is now. I don’t think it can hurt and might help with critical thinking skills.


White, G. (2006). Visual basic programming impact on cognitive development of college students. Journal of Information Systems Education, 17(4), 421-427.

3 thoughts on “Programming Makes You Smarter?

  • May 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I would have to agree because to have people be willing to enjoy programming in general is to make available when they are younger. For example, make it an elective for high school, so that there are people willing to learn. It would be nicer to see people willing to program, so that they can be willing to do the work in their spare time.

  • May 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I agree with you about introducing programming at a younger age. I think many school are introducing it, as part of their curriculum. Besides developing critical thinking skills, students can also learn to use logic through programming. I never had programming until I was at the college level, and I struggled for a while until I got the basic foundation. I am not familiar with Visual Basic, my first language was C++. As far as programming making someone smarter, it seems like the tests were inconclusive.

  • May 14, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I think it would be a good idea to introduce programming as an elective in High School to students that would be interested in learning how to program and something that they would like to pursue as career, but it can be a subject that is hard to grasp, because it is like learning a new language and there is a big learning curve, and I am not sure if it would make students smarter in general, but if they want to pursue it as a career, it would be great exposure.

Comments are closed.