I was sitting there one day and said to myself, “programming might be fun to learn”. At the time, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with java, python, or any of the various other scripting languages. It just seemed like a good idea; something that I could pick up and learn when I had spare time to do this or that. Those of you who have spent more then ten seconds trying to learn how to program are now laughing at me.
It all started when I was a child. My brothers and I grew up in a house where “Star Trek” was as much as a household phrase as “dinner table”. In addition to having a father who was some odd combination of McGuyver and Chief OBrien, a healthy sci fi addiction was surely to lead to this point eventually.
The first time I remember really being interested in “coding” was after watching the movie “Jurassic Park”. Shortly after seeing it for the first time, I swiped my parents’ copy of the book and speed through it in about three days. I couldn’t believe you could do those things with a computer. Years later, after having all thoughts of programming “back-burnered”, I went to work for the family business, ABC Plumbing and Electrical Supplies. It was here I discovered how truly remarkable a computer could be. My father had spent years writing, rewriting, and tweaking computer code until it took shape. He could mold it, twist it, and spontaneously create it. He could make a computer do whatever he wanted it to do.
And now, 8 years after that mind opening experience, I find myself sitting with my trusty iPad trying to learn the basics of coding. My first attempt was a complete and utter failure. The website I was trying to learn Python from was epically boring. Then my brother (Zach Beauvais, the famous computer, coffee, and other assorted novelties writer) bought me a book. “Diving into Python”. This book, I’m 90% sure, will make sense to me one day, but the best tool I’ve seen so far is “The Code Academy”. Although clearly not designed to function in an iOS web browser, I am able to stumble my way through pieces of code. Each step is broken down, explained, then the code window goes blank, and you are told to make something happen. Although at times infuriating, this is an excellent teaching method.
Code Academy has made learning code anything but boring. I find myself eagerly trying to find more time to spend learning this mysterious language programmers seem to know so well. Although I still have no idea what I am going to use this new knowledge for, I can’t wait to learn more.