I Am Finally Learning Programming
It’s been two years of [sort of secretly] desiring to take this route to programmer, and I now have been given the opportunity to learn from some of the best teachers and coders in the industry.
With the high cost of education, many people are taking alternative routes to learning how to code, and I’m just blessed to count myself in the number or alternate learners.
To call myself excited to be part of a network of education disrupters would be a massive understatement.
I’m absolutely over the moon with joy and gratitude.
Without too much preliminary information, let’s get into what I am learning right now. This article is designed to offer encouragement for people like me who are in the process of learning how to program or how to do ANYTHING brand new.
First, though…a little background on my educational journey…
I Thought College Was About Making Me Into The Best Creator, Possible!
I didn’t stay long at the first university I attended after high school graduation – Johnson C.Smith University.
When I started college in the summer before my freshman year, I VERY briefly considering majoring in computer science. Looking back, I am glad that I did not. I think.
As far as I was concerned, there was way too much math. Back then, I thought that it would have been an exercise in frustration to take that much math. Though my grades were always A’s or B’s in math, I had to work exceptionally hard for whatever I did in those courses. Other classes came easily.
My flaw was in thinking that what was hard was simply not meant to be. I found out later that I was a typical gifted student, but my downfall was that I didn’t listen to people who knew more than I did. Anytime things got too hard, I quit.
I Nearly Majored In Computer Science As A Freshman
As an example, I sat in some obscure science class during the summer before my freshman year where we talked about Stephen Hawking, anti-matter, black holes, and multiverses. Back then, this stuff wasn’t spoken about much in the news, and it was otherworldly to debate these topics with classmates.
Plainly put, I was in HEAVEN. Every day.
By the end of the summer course, I’d written three papers and given a brief talk before my classmates about the books we’d read. I was ready to dive into college.
I was clear to me, then, that I could spend the rest of my life CREATING, thinking, solving problems, and discussing big ideas…
…but then came the start of freshman year. And calculus.
I Don’t Find Calculus Useless. It Was Just Useless For Me, Then. I Think.
Then again, I might be lying to myself, even now.
My math professor was a genius of a man named Dr. Alexander. He was patient, and he was an exceptional instructor. Somehow, I muscled a “B” out of that class, and he encouraged me to go further in my studies; however, when I found out all the other math classes I’d need in order to create interesting things with computers, I quit.
I changed majors out of a fear of math.
I hate to admit, today, that math scared me so much that I ran from it and avoided my entire professional life – for over 20 years. What time I have wasted on fear!
Eventually, a year and a half later, after having transferred from JCSU to Fayetteville State University, I settled on English literature. While I love the English language, and my love for words is clear to all who know me, I can see, now, that I would have done better to have pursued computer languages from the age of 18 until now.
I wish I’d had the courage to muscle through the rest of those math classes, and here is why…
I LOVE The Work Of Learning, And Programming Perfectly Affords Me The Opportunity To Learn For The Rest Of My Life
That brings me to today.
Right now, I am working through HTML and CSS.
I understand the structure of an HTML document and am using SublimeText 2 as my personal editor. Today, I started using CSS for my styling, and it’s making HTML coding much easier.
The thing that I did not understand about programming in college is that when it’s called a language, it is actually EXACTLY that. A language.
There is “grammar” and there is styling.
There is precision, and things simply do not work unless you code them just so – even though there are often multiple ways to put them “just so.”
For example, I can turn text red by doing typing this:
<p style=”color: red”>I want to turn this entire sentence red.</p>
I can also turn all paragraphs red by using CSS in a separate file.
Or…I could just turn the word “red” red by using <span></span>.
There is a precision, but there is also flexibility in that precision.
For Those Of You Who Feel That Coding Might Be Too Hard And Too Much Math, Take Heart!
Of COURSE there is a strong need for math in some of the programming languages, but for what I am going to be learning – at least for now – math will not be a hindrance in my education.
I have a strong feeling that, by the time I need to learn more math – IF I ever need to learn more math – I’d be so “fat and happy” in my career that it would not matter.
I’m pretty sure that I would learn the necessary math and that, somehow, I would love it.
I mistakenly took a PART of the journey and made it the ENTIRE journey. The truth is that math would have been a small component, designed to make me a stronger, more creative programmer and software developer/designer.
As it stands now, that doesn’t matter very much because the world of development has changed, and the way we educate people has changed as well. Still, there are always going to be things that we don’t enjoy much in our journeys.
My desire is to encourage you to take the bitter with the sweet and to understand that the journey is as important as your perceived destination.
I’m glad that I have finally learned this quintessential lesson.
Thanks for reading!
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