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How I’ve started to learn programming

My initial plan was to be a math teacher or a doctor like my parents. I've become a software developer by chance ... and because of a broken computer.

When I was 10 my father bought me an Amiga computer. The kind that you would have to connect to your TV as it did not have a monitor.

At the beginning of the 90s, this was considered a hi-tech device:

But that computer was broken and could not be connected to a cassette player. This meant that I could not load and play any games on it. Cuz, yes during those times a game was stored on a cassette tape.

The only thing I could do with that that computer was to run the BASIC programming language on it.

However, I've managed to get my hands on a book with a title like "How to make 10 games in BASIC".I was typing about 3-4 pages of code to get a basic game up. A very complex game. Something like a red dot chasing two other blue dots. I had no idea what I was doing.

Luckily the BASIC programing language is made of short lines, so it was quite easy to track down a typo. Mostly I was copying the code like a monkey.

Another downside of not being able to connect this computer to a cassette player was that I did not have any way to save that code. When the computer was unplugged I was losing all of my code and had to start from scratch again.

The funny thing was that after you write that code enough times, those stage lines start to have some logic. I've started to change the color codes, and the pixel values and see what was happening. Trial and error.

I was feeling like a wizard learning spells.

This did not get any practical application until high school when I discovered that I can skip a lot of the boring classes by taking part in some scholarly computer contests.

And from there realized I could make this into a job and so on ...

So, a few takeaways from the story:

  • programming can be thought at a very young age. I was 10 years when started how to code, and for sure, I don't have any special IQ.
  • video games are good; if it was not for the need to play those video games, maybe I would not be a programmer today. For sure I would not be interested in learning how to code if the aim was to solve a math equation.
  • in the beginning, it's ok to just copy. I think that the human brain, especially the brain of children, is super good at recognizing and learning patterns and adapting them

Cheers and happy learning!

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