Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of inchoate writing on photography, coffee, and geekery.

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Learning to Code is Damn Hard

…for the most part, … introductory tools do a great job of guiding you like a child in a crosswalk past the big scary variables and conditional statements and through the early phases of programming syntax. As you conquer one after another of their gamified challenges, your confidence rises. Maybe you can do this after all! How hard can it be? You’re basically a developer already!Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard

I’ve written code since I was about 13 (1980). First BASIC, then later Pascal, assembler, C, C++, Perl, Java, PHP etc. Back in the 1980s everyone was self-taught. You either figured it out or you didn’t. No Google. No online tutorials.

Learning a new language — the basic syntax etc — takes time is you’ve never done it before. Being good enough at it so that you can build an application on your own or as part of a team takes longer.

My daughter is learning to code now — she’s teaching her self — and I want to encourage her. But I also want her expectations to be realistic. I want her to understand that coding isn’t just putting little boxes with code snippets into a graphical web GUI.

I want her to be wary of hyperbolic claims about learning to code and becoming a developer in just a few weeks.