By all means, learn enough programming to put together a prototype and have a better perspective on hiring and managing engineers. Just don’t mistake a foothold in the world of coding for true engineering expertise.
This “Don’t Learn to Code” vs. “Everyone Should Learn to Code” meme fascinates me. I pretty much agree with everything Buzz says.
I think I’d also add, though, that I find the dichotomy that seems to have developed very strange. I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that everyone must learn all there is to know about programming, or the opposite; that anyone should wilfully disregard it if it interests them. A lot of the arguments online seem to be arguing against one or the other of these extreme positions.
I wonder if it’s because the phrase itself - “learn to code” - is so absolute. People might “learn some plumbing”, but I don’t think that even master-plumbers would talk how they’ve finished “learning to plumb”. I consider myself skilled in the coding art, but I know I haven’t finished “learning to code”, and I never will. Maybe if we replaced “learn to code” with “learn some programming” - or even “learn about how software works” - we’d have a better - or at least clearer - argument about it.
To expand on my own position, I think that most everyone’s life would be easier, or at least richer, if they knew a little about how software works. I’d say the same about car engines too, yet I haven’t made time to learn very much about engine mechanics myself.