Do you remember your first experience with a computer? I remember mine, although it wasn’t exactly a computer.
When I was seven my dad got me a programmable calculator. I know, I know, it’s basically a stone tool compared to what we have today, but back then, it blew my mind. My new calculator could take in programs and produce results based on the information I fed into it. It was great at playing games, like battleship or tic tac toe. Of course, before I could play a game, I had to first program the calculator. It came with an instructions booklet that contained about 15 programs, I just had to follow them line by line and make sure that I didn’t make any mistakes while entering commands.
Another thing the calculator came with was a booklet explaining how to write your own custom programs. Now that’s what I liked the most! I spent hours upon hours playing with my new toy, but eventually, I started noticing its limitations. For example, there was a limit to how long a program could be, how many lines of code it could have. Longer programs slowed down my calculator, processing time could take up to 30 seconds. Eventually my interest subsided and a couple of years after receiving my calculator I stopped playing with it all together.
. . .
Fast forward about 20 years, I first heard of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) when in 2012 MIT and Harvard announced creation of edX, a massive open online course provider. I immediately recognized the power of MOOCs – bringing education to the people at low or no charge. In the first year of edX computer education courses were pretty much all that was available. It seems they were the easiest to convert to an online, study-at-your-own-pace, format. Soon, however, more courses in various disciplines started to pop up and today we all have an opportunity to take courses at the best universities in the world through online platforms like edX and Coursera.
What this meant for me personally was that I had an opportunity to renew my interest in programming, to play around again with simple commands that could make computers do things. For a few years that’s exactly what I was doing, playing around with free courses here and there. I noticed, after a while, that these introductory courses just weren’t enough, I wanted more. I wanted to really dive into programming, to understand how things really work and how I can make things happen with just a few lines of code. Completely by chance I stumbled upon Flatiron School’s accelerated boot camp prep course that took place in November 2017 and I was hooked! It definitely wasn’t easy, it wasn’t just the stuff that I’ve already seen somewhere else and I liked that. A lot.
I think it’s fair to say that Flatiron School’s accelerated boot camp prep course was that final straw that really got me here. But it’s also fair to say that my interest in programming started shaping back when I was seven, when I was playing battleship against my programmable calculator. That’s why I am here, learning programming.
I hope you join me on this adventure, it should be a lot of fun based on the mistakes I’ve already been making!