Learning to code

By Mark on 20171222 — 1 min read

Learning to program is like learning to read and write any foreign language. Lots of time will be spent looking at symbols that make little sense and hearing people speak about the language in terms that are, while familiar, carrying less meaning than perhaps they should. Lots of time will be spent reading refer­ences without context, then looking at language in context, then back and forth again.

Except, unlike spoken language, there are no trans­la­tions to some language you already know.

But one day, without reason, the symbols will begin to fit together. Words are recog­nized. The meaning of state­ments become clearer. Whole para­graphs express simple or complex ideas.

At first, in this new stage, some parts are under­stand­able and others remain opaque. But you’ve learned to use the refer­ences better. You are begin­ning to recog­nize that not all the uses of the language you see are at the same level of creative expression.

Later when you are profi­cient but not yet fluent you will recog­nize the convo­luted and the need­lessly complex expres­sions. You will also begin to recog­nize the poetry.

You cannot write a movie review in English as well as Roger Ebert did without a lot of time using the language in the way he did. You cannot expect to write mean­ingful code until you can see language as expres­sion of ideas you really understand.


in response to Here’s Why Learning How To Code Is So Hard by Kevin Kononenko

Posted in: Technology