Programming 101

Recently I’ve been busy learning to code. =) Decided to pick up coding so that I could help up a bit here and there for Lunchsparks and also because its cool to have programming as a skill. Started off with Javascript simply because the interactive website that i came across – Codecademy (which just landed an investment of 2.5million USD) teaches in Javascript (it is super fun trust me), and I came across another site – the New Boston, which is super cool, and I have been hanging around at the site for a few hours per day without knowing it. It has everything you need to know about programming and all the tutorials there are free!

Programming is fun.

Makes me feel smart.

For those who want to learn how to code and wondering whether is it too late to learn how to code? Quora has a similar discussion and has really awesome answers from those who have been there and done that:

Q:

Is it too late to learn to code?

I’m a sophomore electrical engineering student and I’m really interested in the technology startup culture. I want to prepare myself for that area, but I’m not sure how to proceed. My initial thinking is to learn to code, but I feel as though I’m so far behind people who started coding when they were younger that it’s too late. Thanks!

A:
Short Answer: No

Long Answer: No, but you have to play catch up and find really smart people to work with. If you find coding fun, then just put the time and have a blast. Your opportunity to catch up is when the people ahead of you go into production. Going from hacker mode to production and support mode slows people down. Go fast and work hard.

The key to getting good at this stuff is to work on great problems. My most memorable projects are (a) my never-ending game engine (b) my computer algebra system (c) my programming language.I recommend starting with graphics. since you get instant gratification and can tweak it on the fly. You can see how complexity limits what you can do. You can set goals and work towards reaching them and then study how to build a flexible architecture around it. Just taking people’s demo code and then factoring it into a consistent architecture will teach a lot about complexity, organization, and how the machine works.

Programming languages are for the more hard-core as you have to study and think through some gnarly ideas.

Then find something to code that makes someone else happy. My computer algebra system made my college algebra students very happy.

This represents a personal opinion. If you have read this far, you should definitely follow me on Twitter.
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