A crash course on failing to learn programming | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 20, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 20, 2018

A crash course on failing to learn programming

I have always heard that coding is a difficult craft to master. Loops, strings and arrays are jargons I am rather familiar with on account of being friends with Computer Science students. And such is my curse that on a lazy Friday afternoon, one of my friends piqued my curiosity and I found myself on the website codeacademy.com, where I decided to quench my thirst for some coding knowledge.

 

THE ENTRANCE

As I proceeded to enter the website, I wondered what I would take away from this experience. Will I finally be able to make my own website or perhaps my own RPG based on Hatirjheel? Or perhaps I'll make a new operating system that will take up the majority of the international market share, eventually leading to the monstrous reign of a monopoly. It was time to find out.

 

BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH

I logged into the site for a 7 day trial period, confident that I would barely need 7 days given my excellent grasp on calculus and fundamental mathematics. The language I chose to learn was Python, because according to my coding-enthusiast friends, it was the easiest one to learn and the most recommended one on the Interwebs.

The instructions that followed showed me how I could use coding to create colourful, animated, bubbly text on the output. There were 7 steps and while I started out feeling rather enthusiastic about learning more about this alien subject, I soon realised this is not for me.

Somewhere between adding in data into the code to create the animation, I lost focus and delved into the depths of YouTube where I started going through conspiracy theories and making some of it up myself.

 

CHEAT CODES

As it appeared, codeacademy.com was too primitive to contain the focus of my sharp intellectual abilities. So I decided it was time to go through YouTube and learn from the masters themselves. I typed in “coding 101” in the search bar and I clicked on the first video that had over a million views. It was an Indian man called Rajesh from IT and it was a 32 minutes long video claiming to be the end all be all to Python.

As preparation, I racked up all the candy I could find in the fridge, got myself a tube of pizza flavoured chips and a bottle of coke and watched an episode of That 70s Show. Of course it extended to three more episodes, given I had to finish the food.

Once I'd finished all my food, I went back to Rajesh from IT. I got myself a nice new notebook and wrote down “Coding 101” on top and started the video. The first thing I noticed was that the thumbnail of his channel was a yellow duck. As a result, instead of focusing on what variables are, my mind got stuck on the duck song. This was hindering the immense progress I was already making and I decided that I would have to watch a different video.

 

ALL I KNOW

Soon after, I found another video titled “How to Learn Code (The 3 Main Ways)” and I was instantly pleased with the channel's professional approach to coding.

The narrator spoke of the steps towards attaining a bachelor's degree in Computer Science. The other approach towards learning programming language by the narrator was through attending a coding boot-camp that would cost me about USD 5000 - 20,000. The last path that the narrator suggested I follow was a path of self-enlightenment. This meant that I would take a bunch of online courses that would barely cost me any money or watch a lot of tutorials online that would help me do coding. By this time I had realised that I haven't learnt a single line of code and that it was time to script out “Hello, Goodbye World.”

 

GREAT ESCAPE

In hindsight, I learned that if I ever have to do any kind of job that will require me to know a few basics about coding, I can do two things: I could just watch YouTube videos and learn whatever I need to when the time comes or I can find myself a job that will never require me to know programming. Till then, I think I'll stick to learning guitar chords instead of computer codes.

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