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Nerds abound, get yer finger based controller boards at the ready!

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This may come as a surprise to people who don’t understand what is it like to take a blank screen and add barely functioning logical rules, years worth of complicated half-coagulated libraries, backlogs of bad habits and terrible ideas, undocumented purely wizardry based command line tools, and little bit luck, but programming is a challenge, on par with golf. Sure you may say to yourself, “but there’s 16 year olds who make a million dollars on the app store.” I admit programming has been made much easier in the last half-decade. But, ask any one of those 16 year old prodigies what a quicksort algorithm is and in all honesty he could probably tell you. There are prodigies in every field, but computers are cool and kids like cool things, apparently. Back to the point, unless you have been thinking in a programmatic way for a few years, or have an aptitude for logical thinking, which of course your’s truly has one of these, programming is hard. It’s by definition not intuitive.

I personally don't wear a balaclava when I code

If you don’t adapt to it immediately it probably means you are a perfectly normal person. Changing your way of thinking from one in which you can communicate in a vague, expressive way, into one in which you must describe exacting specifications is not an easy task. You must be able to keep multiple variables juggled in your mind at the same time, and be able to imagine how each of those variables will affect the others. Here’s a thought for those intrepid few who have fallen down the slide and made it this far into my epilogue about my favorite subject. Imagine you are a girl, *wink wink*, you have 4 friends who need to come over for a party, Amy, Becka, Cindy, and Darla. They can come over in any order you want, but each order comes with dire consequences. If Amy comes over first, Becka will die. Uh oh. If Becka comes over first Cindy won’t come over at all, and Darla will bring her boyfriend Ethan, gross! If Cindy comes over first, the next person who can come over has to be Darla or Cindy. Now imagine these are variables in a billion dollar spaceship controlling the guidance computer of said ship. ┬áIf you get them out of order, the ship might crash into a major city. Bad news for you, the programmer of the control chip. I think you get the idea of being able to handle multiple variables. Sure it’s not equitable to either of these scenarios except the last one. *GASP*

I don't even...

Though once you learn to program and to love to learn to program, it is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. It’s both technical and creative, boring and exciting, applicable and trivial. It encompasses so much of everyday life and you learn to examine everything around you in a different way than you did previously. It will get you laid and/or paid. On second thought only paid. But I guess if you get paid enough you can get laid. It will get you extra laid if you are a girl, but we won’t go into that. You’ll always be able to both impress and shun yourself at parties, and most of the friends you end up with will also be programmers. It’s a very inclusive lifestyle, and I say lifestyle because that’s what it is. If you spend more than 5 hours a day doing the same thing, that thing is part of your lifestyle, so deal with it. Your interest in programming might go through ebbs and flows like it did for me, but it has stuck in my brain, and won’t let me escape at this point.

Written by dfockler

02/23/2012 at 4:40 AM