Computers are now part of our everyday life. Most households around the world have a personal computer in their homes used for their daily routines. Computers are such an integral part of our lives that all pieces of gadgetry are based on computing technology or in the interface design computers use to interact with their end-users.
Academics like Alan Turing have been intrigued by computers and their thought process. He dared to ask whether a machine could think. (Hodges, 1) Turing went as far as comparing the human spirit and the human thought process with computers, in one of his essays he claims: “when the body dies the “mechanism” of the body, holding the spirit is gone and the spirit finds a new body sooner or later perhaps immediatley”. (Hodges, 1)
To understand Turing´s line of thought and fully understand how computers work, we first have to establish a clear definition of what computation is. “Computation is a logical and mathematical process, typically modeled in an algorithm...” (Irvine, 1)
Algorithms give the right basis for understanding mathematics and physics. (Hodges, Turing Scrapbook, 6) Algorithms have helped society to accomplish great and daunting feats, they can be applied in all kinds of disciplines from bioengineering to music production. Algorithms have proven that computation has indeed become a process that people from around the world need to get used to and understand completely.
Computation is a process; a process that cannot come into fruition without learning some programming or “coding”. Coding is the language of computers, and with the proper code; computers can create any kind of application or program we can come up with. With some coding knowledge we can create revolutionary apps like Facebook or Google, we can build something that changes the world completely.
Nowadays, communication professionals and entrepreneurs that want to have a competitive advantage venture into the process of learning how to code.
While going through the courses in the Code Academy and Udacity websites, I was able to learn the coding language “Python” a simple coding language than can be used to build a lot of different things like applications, and even a search engine.
I think it’s a great learning to experience to get your hands on material of this quality. Learning some programming not only gives you the opportunity to learn more about the language of computers, but it also develops your ability to think “outside the box”.
If we had to compare the academical approach in both websites, i would certainly give Udacity the both of confidence. They use small Youtube videos in a very simple, and clear way to explain “Python” and the process to write this programming language.
Even though Udacity has in its Introduction to Computer Science material worth 7 weeks of learning, i was captivated by a statement they lead early on about natural languages are ambiguous.
The guys in the Udacity website are on to something. Without noticing they have open a debate about the meaning of words, how we encode information to a receiver and how are messages are built all around the world. This all happens with the hopes that by communicating, we cannot only change our thought process or how we speak but the world itself.
Martin Irvine, An Introduction to Computational Concepts Media Theory Communication, Culture, and Technology Department, Georgetown U, Feb. 2014. Web. 4 March 2014.
Andrew Hodges, Turing (Great Philosopher’s Series). London: Phoenix, 1997; New York: Routledge, 1999.
Andrew Hodges, Turing’s Online Scrapbook http://www.turing.org.uk/scrapbook/index.html
Why I Learned to Code and How you Can in 3 Months, Entrepreneur, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230241