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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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  • by JDAustin ( 468180 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @11:50AM (#43850819) debugging Excel macros.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @12:06PM (#43851039)
    Personally I don't think the language and hardware are that important. They are "implementation details", important, but perhaps more important for more advanced stages of learning to program. :-)

    I think learning to program starts with picking something you are curious about. Ex: How could I do [insert problem here] on a computer? Then figure out how to do it using the hardware and language at hand.

    For me one example was a blackjack card game. As I learned more, both in a formal CS program and in my own "independent studies", the details of the implementation changed. The hardware and language also changed as appropriate. From a single player game written in BASIC on an Apple II to a real time multiplayer game written in C on MS-DOS using an novell ipx network.

    Another example was more assembly language oriented. Matrix and vector multiplication functions for 3D graphics. 68K, i386, ppc, amd64, ... One of the interesting things here was the different approaches given a RISC vs a CISC CPU. This carried over to C/C++ as well, in general that there is sometimes no universal solution to a problem, that the correct solution depends on one of those "implementation details", the hardware. In short, don't just copy a solution from a book (or in more modern terms don't just cut-and-paste a solution from the web). Take a little time to see what the code you are looking at is doing and think about how appropriate this implementation is.
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @12:07PM (#43851053) Homepage

    ... NOT being distracted by Facebook and Twitter. Good thing those and the whole internet were not around back then.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @01:13PM (#43851927)

    Distraction will happen regardless of Internet. Before that there was tv, books, radio,
    Facebook and Twitter are not the reason of distraction. They are the result. Distraction happens if what you are doing has no value to you at that specific moment.
    I am sometimes distracted by looking aimlessly outside.

"Ninety percent of baseball is half mental." -- Yogi Berra