I've never learned to program, and now...
October 4, 2007 11:54 AM Subscribe
I've been reading a book of late that has brought an old regret to the surface.
Born in 1970, I had my first computer in 1979 and have had one ever since. But unlike a lot of kids who picked up the book on BASIC and went on to actually learn how to program, I didn't. At the time, I could not articulate 'why,' but today I'd have to say that I've always had trouble extrapolating how complex systems are built by looking at simple examples.
posted by tcv to technology (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
For instance, every BASIC book showed you how to program the computer to print something to the screen until you tapped the BREAK key. At first, I'd feel some excitement from that, but as I went on, I continued to have trouble understanding how the basics learned could become a program that processed words or held spreadsheets in memory or wrote stuff to a disk. So, as the examples became more complex, I still lacked the ability to see the practicality. This harmed my ability, I believe, in any sort of mathematics courses as well.
Today, I am clearly better at this but still see little examples of the same issue. Example: I'll read a book on Excel and it will create an example of, say, a ledger. I don't create ledgers, so I have trouble seeing how this is going to pertain to me and I don't try very hard to retain the material.
Nevertheless, I really would like to learn how to program. I don't have a career objective in mind ... at least I don't believe so. I current work in support and have run my own businesses. Today my role is a bit more strategic and supervisory than it is technical. I miss the technical, but then I see how much support professionals and junior level programmers are paid and think, "Er, I'd really have to want to be a programmer for that money."
As I read a book about a couple that bought a TRS-80 in 1977 and learned to create LazyWriter, that old regret about learning how to program came to the fore. And all the frustrations of teaching myself topics such as this are very fresh.
I'm looking for any advice about this.