Why I’m Teaching Myself to Code

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Source: Why I’m Teaching Myself to Code

A very good article.

Starting out in coding is intimidating, but building your own projects and seeing it run correctly is very fulfilling.

I’ve been writing programs in Cobol professionally on a mainframe for over 25 years.  I am very comfortable with Cobol, but trying to learn a newer language such as Objective C, Swift or JavaScript or even writing Cobol programs on a PC has been a bit intimidating because I’m out of my “comfort zone”.

I did get a sense of accomplishment though when I was able to write a web page that uses HTML, CSS, JavaScript and some jQuery for my Random Bible Verse generator.  I’m still not done with it, but it is functional.  As I continue to build my own projects I will get more comfortable with these newer languages.

A computer program could be compared to a recipe for something to eat.  A cook starting out doesn’t make a perfect dish right away.  It takes practice and patience.  New programmers (or those learning a new language) need to have patience and perseverance.  You will hit road blocks – problems that you can’t solve.  But if you use the resources available to you, you can overcome those blocks

For my project this past weekend I used Google to look for solutions to my problems and when I couldn’t get it working I posted my problem on Stack Overflow and was able to get my problem solved.

Also, in modern coding it’s not enough to know just one programming language.  Most programming languages have the same structures, just the terminology is different.  Cobol has IF…ELSE, EVALUATE, PERFORM.  The equivalent commands in JavaScript are If…else, switch, do…while, etc.  Modern web pages use HTML for the structure, CSS for the styling and JavaScript for the actual logic used in the web page.

So, don’t be afraid to try programming.  You will encounter problems that you can’t solve on your own, but use the web and forums to get answers to your questions.  Don’t try to memorize the APIs, but know where to look up in the documentation how to use those API.

Also, it used to be that developer tools like IDE (integrated development environments) and compilers were extremely expensive.  But now you can download the tools needed for free regardless of the platform you are writing your program for.






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