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Programming Education

How Did You Learn How To Program? 623

theodp writes "'Every programmer likely remembers how they learned to code,' writes GeekWire's Taylor Soper. 'For guys like Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the magic began on the Teletype Model 33 (pic). For others, it may have been a few days at a coding workshop like the one I attended for journalists.' If you're in the mood to share how and in what ways your own developer days began, Soper adds, 'cyborg anthropologist' Amber Case is collecting stories to help people understand what it takes to learn how to code. Any fond computer camp stories, kids?"
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How Did You Learn How To Program?

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  • BBC (Score:5, Funny)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @11:20AM (#43850383) Journal

    BBC Basic on a BBC and then asm to make it faster.

    Really, BBC BASIC wasn't a bad language. Allowed proper structured programming with functions, procedures, local variables etc.

    I still remember that CHR$(141) does double height text in teletext.

    This has not been a useful thing to remember.

  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @11:52AM (#43850847) Journal

    "The three great virtues of a programmer are laziness, impatience, and hubris." ~ Larry Wall

    Why you learned is as important as how.

    1987, Apple IIe, 4th grade. My brother comvinced my dad to buy one for the house 2 years before and after one of the first "we've got to computers in the classroom!" pushes there was one in every classroom too...collecting dust because the teachers didn't know how to use it.

    My brother had taught me "Hello World" in BASIC, and that combined with the Basic Apple BASIC book let me write terrible programs where the computer would ask you a name, and when you typed it in the computer would say '$name is a nerd!"

    I discovered I possessed at least the first of Larry's virtues in order to avoid boring social studies projects. We'd get week-long projects where you had to "make something" about the states, or the presidents or the biosphere, so kids would make flash cards or a mobile or whatever. I wrote a quiz program ("Name That State!") that would ask you, at random, from a set of hard coded questions (ripped from the book) about the states and then tell you if you got the answer right or wrong and tallied your score at the end. This was wizardry to the teachers and I got an A.

    Well they didn't really understand code reuse, and so when the next week I'd hand in "Name That President!" which was the exact same program with the questions swapped out, A again. That same code got reused for at least four years in different classes. "Name that type of cloud!" "Name that Biome!" "Name that Export of Honduras!" (Hint, it was probably 'bananas').

    You'd think at some point they would have caught on and told me to do something different. Maybe they did but didn't say anything. But I kept getting As so I kept turning in the same stupid project with a 10 minute change. Kind of explains Windows, too I guess.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @11:53AM (#43850863)


    250 of us living in a shoebox in the middle of the road...

  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @12:03PM (#43850991) Journal

    After submitting this, I realized that if in 2013 a kid wrote a program at school that asks for a student's name and then calls him a nerd, he'd probably be arrested for cyber-bullying and banned from using computers for 7 years.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)