Coding and Me

Posted August 28, 2014 in Thoughts


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.

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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:

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

Comments

What do you think? Do you have any questions, thoughts, or related links to share? Did I make a mistake in my post?

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Pssst...developer note: This is the most basic comment implentation you can possibly imagine, and it's on my list to flesh it out. But...I'm not using Disqus anymore, so that's cool! 👍