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“I Didn't Grow Up Speaking Code”: GitHub Copilot as a Programming as a Second Language Tool


An ai-generated image of a line-drawing with watercolor elements in colors green, blue, gold and coral.

I presented this talk at the Monki Gras conference in London in March of 2024.


In the talk, I argue that to succeed in software engineering, mastering code as a language is crucial, and "speaking code" is as important as writing and reading it. Then, drawing on Second Language Acquisition research to highlight a path to speaking code fluently, I share the impact of poor fluency on ICs and teams and discuss the usefulness of tools like GitHub Copilot to increase code speaking fluency.


I've linked the slide deck below, and have augmented the speaker notes from what I originally had in order to make moving through the slide deck more interesting and meaningful for folks reading through, as opposed to viewing the talk live.


As with everything I publish, I would love feedback and counterarguments and ideas and to hear your personal experiences related to the ideas here. Enjoy!




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