“Understanding computing illuminates deep insights and questions into the nature of our minds, our culture, and our universe” – David Evan
In early 2009 when I first became aware of coding, I recall feeling less powerful for knowing little about coding or how to access the geeky backend interface which always looked like a dark web space for super-intelligent people (hackers maybe) and must come with very good knowledge of mathematics and computer sciences. As time went by, I gained more education and awareness on computing and the development of computer operating systems, then I began to grasp the basic concepts surrounding coding and how to writing several lines of code in a computer program is responsible for powering millions of softwares used in our everyday life for computing. This transition and progression is empowering to watch even though I never put much thought into it until now.
To become an expert at anything one simply needs to practice – often.
Questions surrounding who should or who should not learn to code creates a lot of misconception and gender wars in the world of computing. One common view is that programming and coding software applications are reserved for ‘very gifted’ individuals and this is very widespread – yet untrue. Following my personal experience with learning to code, we see how it involves repeating basic steps (an algorithm) and can be mastered by anyone after several repetitions. We ought to think of coding in the same way as we think of the processes involved in doing a basic task such as cooking or baking. Learning to code, however, requires a lot more focus, dedication, practice, and patience because errors are not welcome at all in this area – unlike cooking or baking where one might go over or under with a spice and get away with it.
Coding is also a lot like writing in terms of flow and I find coding useful for learning how to properly structure my writing. In writing, we identify the main points and all the variables that best explain the point, then arrange each point in such a way that the subject is explained in modular blocks (sentences) with each point opening and closing to explain succeeding points – just like the opening and closing of braces when writing lines of code in a block. The logic that measures the semblance between coding and writing expresses further how coding inspires thoughts that are useful for coordinating steps especially ones that are in semblance to systematic processing in computing.