Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The NY Times reports that the market for night classes and online instruction in programming and Web construction is booming as those jumping on board say they are preparing for a future in which the Internet is the foundation for entertainment, education and nearly everything else and knowing how the digital pieces fit together will be crucial to ensuring that they are not left in the dark ages. “Inasmuch as you need to know how to read English, you need to have some understanding of the code that builds the Web,” says Sarah Henry, 39, an investment manager who took several classes, including some in HTML, the basic language of the Web, and WordPress, a blogging service. ““I’m not going to sit here and say that I can crank out a site today, but I can look at basic code and understand it. I understand how these languages function within the Internet." The blooming interest in programming is part of a national trend of more people moving toward technical fields. “To be successful in the modern world, regardless of your occupation, requires a fluency in computers,” says Peter Harsha. “It is more than knowing how to use Word or Excel but how to use a computer to solve problems.” However seasoned programmers say learning how to adjust the layout of a Web page is one thing, but picking up the skills required to develop a sophisticated online service or mobile application is an entirely different challenge that cannot be acquired by casual use for a few hours at night and on the weekends. “I don’t think most people learn anything valuable,” says Julie Meloni, who has written guides to programming adding that she still finds the groundswell of interest in programming, long considered too specialized and uncool, to be an encouraging sign. “I’m thrilled that people are willing to learn code. There is value here. This is just the first step.”"