Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 20, 2013

Why coding geeks aren't going to save Obamacare

(Continued)

Still, performance issues aside, some howler-level bugs are undoubtedly lurking here and there in the HIX software, and, in this, the employers of programmers are culpable as well. Many studies have shown a vast range in ability among programmers.

Since computer-science curricula are jobs-oriented, they tend to attract a lot of students who lack a real excitement about the material, and who are rote-memory learner types, a potential disaster for a field that relies on creativity and abstraction. Yet many companies treat programmers as exchangeable commodities. And companies that depend on being the low bidder for government contracts may be especially prone to hiring cheap commodity programmers.

Any software problem can be fixed eventually. But it will be a rocky road for the health-care exchanges for some time to come — no matter what you hear from a few 20-something computer whizzes.

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