A Beginner’s Guide to Beginning to Begin Coding

Aug 24, 2015 — Nevin Danielson
Nevin-computer.jpg

A Beginner’s Guide to Beginning to Begin Coding | iQmetrix

If I were working on a cattle ranch, I probably shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see a calf being born. If I worked in a political office, I probably shouldn’t miss the opportunity to observe how an elected leader actually makes decisions. When I worked at a garage in high school, I learned how to install oil pans and set the timing mechanism on an old Mustang.

I work at a software company. I’m surrounded by people that actually have that Matrix thing happening: where a big mess of cryptic words means something and everything is quantifiable down to 1s and 0s. This is an amazing opportunity to see behind the curtain. I’m your interloper seeing how software is actually made. Here are some things that blow my mind.

I work at a software company. I’m surrounded by people that actually have that Matrix thing happening.

EVERYTHING is based on really simple decisions. Usually “Is it this? If not, do that.”

Really simple decisions get complicated when you combine them. Do this 20 times. Each time you do it, also do this 8 times. While you’re doing that, check if this other thing is happening or not. Did you follow? We just instructed the computer to make 320 things happen.

Let’s stretch it out a bit…

Action 1 of 20

               Sub-Action 1 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 2 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 2 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 3 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 4 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 5 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 6 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 7 of 8

                              True or False?

               Sub Action 8 of 8

                              True or False?

Action 2 of 20

               Sub Action 1 of 8

                              True or False?

Continue for all 20 actions…

I hope you get the idea. One of my colleagues, after a taxing day, had his wife joke, “It’s just ones and zeros!”

“Yes,” he said, “but there are millions of them.”

Nevin-matrix.jpg

Using physical items that can only say “off” or “on,” you can theoretically build a calculator… or a web server. The item is called a transistor. It’s exceptionally good at its one job. Combine millions of them on a really small surface and you have a processor.

Some basic words that will intimidate your friends and make developers chuckle at how cute you are:

Recursive loops

Multi-dimensional arrays

Asynchronous tasks

Application Protocol Interfaces

Service bus

You and I like puzzles. The average developer lives for puzzles.

There’s a site where coders can go test their skills on theoretical problems. This is question #2 of 512 problems. They get harder. Much harder.

Each new term in the Fibonacci sequence is generated by adding the previous two terms. By starting with 1 and 2, the first 10 terms will be:

1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, ...

By considering the terms in the Fibonacci sequence whose values do not exceed four million, find the sum of the even-valued terms.

Coders are an underappreciated breed. Go hug a coder.

Nothing is as simple as it seems. The layers of complexity developers work with and the intricacy of relationships is mind boggling.

It’s hard to find a developer that won’t help with your simple question. My fascination with this stuff has me asking really stupid questions. I’m always helped, prodded in the right direction and when I get it (or think I get it), it’s celebrated.

My colleagues are solving problems that are insanely complicated. The thoughtfulness, team collaboration and ingenuity being employed by software developers is really beyond measure.

The rare number of times we hear about things that didn’t work is likely the best testament to the quality of work being done. They’re an underappreciated breed. Go hug a coder. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy watching their discomfort.

Date: 
August/24, 2015

 

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