You Can Code. Seriously.

girlcode85188This week is Computer Science Education Week and Code.org has launched a series of tutorials showing that ANYONE can code. Go ahead and give it a try.

Like most kids in the 1980s, my first program was in BASIC, in which we used line numbers, WriteLine commands, and probably a bunch of “” that made weird patterns on the screen. Nothing fancy. We didn’t have disk drives to save them on, so once the program ran out of memory—it was gone.

I took two years of computer classes in high school as my elective, and the programming language we used was called TurboPascal. I would have preferred to take either the yearbook or school-newspaper classes, but I wanted the extra GPA point that our computer-science class offered. Plus, we had disk drives and 16 color monitors in that class, which made it more exciting. We created arrays and data structures, and my favorite program was a computerized gradebook.

I attended a college more focused on liberal arts, and while I double-majored in communications and Spanish literature, my first full-time job out of school was as an administrative assistant for a CAD drafting firm. There wasn’t enough work to justify a full-time position, so I had to learn to draft. Our clients were interested in how to get more out of their computerized drawings, and my boss had been struggling to write a Visual Basic program to enable the drawings to link to data so they’d become “intelligent.” Luckily, the Internet came along and made it all so much easier..

Instead of writing a program, we could use a web browser and embed links in our drawings that would pass parameters to a database and return information about each part that was included in the drawing. It opened my world to things like HTML, SQL, and Cold Fusion.
Since then, I’ve moved on to other technologies like ASP, ASP.NET, SQL Server, JavaScript, and jQuery. I learn best when deconstructing code that’s written by others.

I’ve bought books and attended instructor-led classes to broaden my knowledge. Even though I didn’t start out intending to work with computers or study computer science in college, I’ve had a successful career in the IT industry most of my adult life. There are all kinds of tools and sites available, so visit Code.org, pick a tutorial, and get started with coding today.

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