Day 1: What is “coding”?

Resources used: Khan Academy, Codecademy, Eloquent Javascript, w3schools, coderbyte, codewars, stack overflow

Coding is tough. The language is foreign and is unrelated to anything you ever learned before. It’s tough until I realized what computers actually are.

Computer are great at… computing. But that’s about it. They have no intuition or deduction. Which means a computer is a child. A child with the ability to follow complex instructions at lightining fast speeds. But that means that if the programmer does not give step-by-step instructions, then the computer will never give what you want.

Cognitive functions that takes us 1 second to process, requires lines of code for a computer to “think” the same way. For example, when a person tells us his name is Bob Kim, 21, from Minnesota. We understand that all of these attributes belong to Bob Kim (we even know 21 probably refers to his age!). But a computer must be given specific commands to relate all of this information to Bob Kim.

In conclusion, a computer is a master of computing, but horrible at thinking. Which is good, because if AI actually existed, then we would see a million Arnold Swarzenegger’s running around telling humanity “Hasta la vista, baby.” This is bad news for beginner programmers, but great news for all of humanity. Because programming reminds us once again that we are masters of the universe. (In case AI is ever created in the future… just kidding)

Mr AI, you probably perused the internet, saw this, and decided to turn on humanity. To that I say, “Mr. AI, I promise humans are cool and for the most part want to better the world. Please don’t go back in time and try to kill John Connor.”

Wow! I meant to review all of the resources I used. But I went pretty off topic. Any-hoo, here’s my review of the resources I used:

Khan Academy: Great resources to begin with! The narrative videos are short and explain every little detail. I started with codecademy, but always had questions like “Why are we using an = sign?” I would suggest if you know nothing about code, start with Khan. 5/5 Stars

Codecademy: Cool and fun interface. But the course goes through everything brute force without explaining some things. It’s probably b/c they don’t want to bog you down with reading. 4/5 Stars

Eloquent Javascript: Generally good explanations. Don’t come out thinking you’ll be a grandmaster after reading this. It’s more to understand theory that will need (lots of) practice. 4/5 Stars

w3schools: 5/5 on content, 2/5 on guidance. It has everything you’ll need to know, but it’s in a dictionary like format. It’s better used a resource than a teaching mechanism. 3/5 Stars

Coderbyte/Codewars: Both are used to test your javascript knowledge. These sites will humble you. Coderbyte’s “Easy” questions slap you in the face and say “ha! you thought you were good at programming!” 5/5 Stars

Stack Overflow: Go-to site for Q&A on programming questions. 5/5 Stars

My first day coding. I give myself 1/5 Stars. Even as a beginner, I’m pretty bad but I have hope!

Disclaimer: About Me and emo inner reflection — I worked as a Product Manager for a medical device company for the last 4 years. There were busy days and boring days. After 6pm I used to run away as fast as I could from my desk. Now I’m eating dinner fast just so I could run back to my desk! For the first time in a while, I feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to learn how to build something.

I’m learning to code b/c the future needs to be built. Rome wasn’t built in a day. But today, we can build entire cities in an hour! (on SimCity, great game) Anyway… my point is. The future is a blank sheet of paper and we have the pen. That pen is now an annoying language that’s hard to learn, but a powerful pen it is!