Deciding to be naughty or nice is a daily decision when one contains the power of even basic scripting. Even though the skills involved in programming can be used in all aspects of our life, we finding ourselves deciding between creating a cool little program to text or email our lucky loved one every 15 minutes romantic quotes referring to how awesome they are, or writing something useful to save time so we can hang out with our friends more? There is a great joy in getting angry texts from friends because they can’t switch out fantasy football picks like we can. Less than a minute after a player appears on the injured list we have already selected an alternate, while our non scripting friends are afraid to leave their computer or smart phone for even a minute . Forget those scary thoughts of programming being intimidating, and learn to do what others are afraid to even try.
If you are looking for a new career, software development is a great choice. Companies can not hire enough programmers. Even if working for a company is not for you, there are always contracts that allow you to work from home or your favorite coffee shop. How many other careers provide an opportunity to work from home in your underwear and still allow your mother to brag about to her friends?
Why Learn Programming?
First and foremost, programming is fun, and basic scripting skills are very useful. With a simple script, you can automate tasks at home or work that consume a lot of precious time. With a few lines of not so intimidating code, you can have your favorite device notify you of anything you find important. Things like:
- New pics of your favorite celebrity
- Customer orders
- Important emails
- Stock price changes
- Tickets for Coachella
For this site alone, automation scripts go through hundreds if not thousands of comments a day looking for spam, or filtering emails that make it past the normal spam filters. We also use basic scripts to retrieve analytic information, search for the latest news in the current trends, and watch for malicious activity from the not so nice visitors to the site.
How can programming help me in every area of my life?
Programming is about problem solving. To create a program or script, the first step is understanding the problem or need that is being addressed. Then systematically organizing steps or processes to accomplish a goal. These skills apply to every aspect of life because we use that wonderful gray matter floating between our ears for everything. Even the ridiculous things that appear to not have thinking behind them, did require a thought process, no matter how flawed it was.
The same logic that goes into writing a program can be applied to:
- Entrepreneurial ventures
- Conflict Resolution
- Achieving Goals
- Decision making
- Pranking college buddies
- Picking up attractive people
- Justifying why you got arrested and how it will be a funny story for years to come
Where can I start?
If you have never programmed before, a great language to start with is Python. It is very readable, and is used in the most simple scripts, up to enterprise applications. Spotify is a heavy Python house and describes in this article https://labs.spotify.com/2013/03/20/how-we-use-python-at-spotify/ how they use it.
If brave enough to take a fun trip down scripting lane, remember to start writing scripts or programs you can use right away. Have fun monitoring info sites for new information about your favorite celebrities, or remove some boring task from your day. You can even write a script in a very short period of time to notify you whenever an interesting job becomes available or a fantasy football pick hits the injured list. The value of knowing how to program is easy to see when writing useful utilities that save valuable time.
How much time does it require?
Unless you are looking to immediately switch careers, 20 – 30 minutes a few days a week will be more than enough to develop some seriously dangerous skills. Have fun, this is not another source of stress in your life. But consistency will be required to achieve more than a basic skill level. Most people will not require more than the basics, but the more you are able to do, the more fun it becomes.
Final Thoughts From A Programmer Advocate
Programming is about being creative, and developing custom solutions to a need or problem. Someone once told me that he viewed programmers as the wizards of the computer age. Cool thought, create magic spells in a mystical language, wave your hands and SHAPOW, stuff starts happening and people look in awe as they wonder how you performed this incredible feat they would not have believed possible. But fear not, programming is a socially accepted practice and there will be no bonfires to worry about. Perform interesting miracles and hopefully gain entrance into the very exclusive club of a small amount of people not afraid to script the night away and tackle problems that leave others shaking in fear.