Coding and Me

All too often, someone new to the tech world sees coding as some kind of magic language we coders are born with. When you see a programmer slapping away at the keyboard, it’s no wonder!

But it’s not magic. Really.

Gif of crazy programming person

Coding is not like this

This morning I read a great article, What “coder” means and why it’s bad, by Dave Winer. He says:

If you watched a programmer doing his or her work, you might not see much happening. Most of what we do is intellectual, and isn’t visible. It’s thinking work. Reading. Learning. Listening.

Coding is about having moments on your own, incredibly frustrated, making mistakes. You’ll spend three hours on one problem, then finally figure it out and either feel like a genius for a few seconds, or realize you were working in the wrong file. But those are not wasted hours. Throughout that problem-solving process, you’ve learned 18 other things that will help you solve another problem in future.

Some advice

My advice to newbies is that, when you hear scary jargon, go into sponge mode and inventory it for later. As a teacher I’ve been successful when, three months after we’ve worked together, you encounter a problem and think:

“Oh yeah, that girl, Lara, mentioned something that helps minify CSS. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I think it started with a G.”

So you do this:

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 9.24.18 AM

And if you keep at it, you get this crazy faith that you can do anything, you just have to figure it out.