I Know Nothing

I realize now, that although I can do some things, I can make some things happen, I can solve some problems, what I truly want to understand I do not know. And bizarrely enough, I just now realized the reason I don’t know is that I never learned.

So often as I’ve gone through attempting to learn how to program, how to be a programmer, I’ve encountered tutorials and guides. Learn Python. Learn Ruby. Learn Javascript. Learn to Program with X! But, none of them teach programming. None of them teach design. Patterns. Paradigms. Functions.

What is frequently shared between these tutorials is an understanding that they aren’t teaching those paradigms or they don’t know how to teach them in relation to also teaching a language, so they inform the student to copy things directly. If you copy it a bunch, you’ll just intuitively understand. And, maybe they’re right.

It makes me curious how many people try to pick up this skill later in life. I’ve often read about people who are still in my position, trying to learn, whose first introduction to programming is in their first college computer science course. However, that’s never the case for the tutorials I read. I’m sure they’re out there, but the number of people who have learned after being out of high school is dwarfed by those who learned while younger.

Nearly every tutorial I read mentions BASIC, or COBOL, or Lisp. These are the languages of their youth. They talk about starting to program when they were 8, 10, 12. Everyone was a child when they started. Does it mean I’m too late?

Is learning programming like learning a language? The earlier and more immersed a person is, the easier it is? My guess is yes. It seems obvious, but I wonder.

I would like to read more from someone who’s become an adept, capable programmer who started later in life. I’m sure they’re out there. I probably just need to search for them. I’ll writer again with my findings.


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