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Is it even interesting to worry about the mistakes novice programmers make? Novice programmers are learning programmers.

What matters more is the mistakes that people continue to make even after they are not novices.

From the paper:

1. Introduction

Knowledge about students’ mistakes and the time taken to fix errors is useful for many reasons. For example, Sadler et al [10] suggest that understanding student misconceptions is important to educator efficacy. Knowing which mistakes novices are likely to make or finding challenging informs the writing of instructional materials, such as textbooks, and can help improve the design and impact of beginner’s IDEs or other educatoinal programming tools.

In other words, yes, understanding what types of errors novice programmers make can be very interesting and useful.


I had my language-designer goggles on, but you and the paper are right that educator goggles matter too.

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