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posted by martyb on Thursday September 03 2015, @09:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the ignorance-is-bliss dept.

Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic that learning to program involves a lot of Googling, logic, and trial-and-error—but almost nothing beyond fourth-grade arithmetic.

Victoria Fine explains how she taught herself how to code despite hating math. Her secret? Lots and lots of Googling. "Like any good Google query, a successful answer depended on asking the right question. “How do I make a website red” was not nearly as successful a question as “CSS color values HEX red” combined with “CSS background color.” I spent a lot of time learning to Google like a pro. I carefully learned the vocabulary of HTML so I knew what I was talking about when I asked the Internet for answers."

According to Khazan while it’s true that some types of code look a little like equations, you don’t really have to solve them, just know where they go and what they do. "In most cases you can see that the hard maths (the physical and geometry) is either done by a computer or has been done by someone else. While the calculations do happen and are essential to the successful running of the program, the programmer does not need to know how they are done."

Khazan says that in order to figure out what your program should say, you’re going to need some basic logic skills and you’ll need to be skilled at copying and pasting things from online repositories and tweaking them slightly. "But humanities majors, fresh off writing reams of term papers, are probably more talented at that than math majors are."


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  • (Score: 2) by meisterister on Thursday September 03 2015, @10:36PM

    by meisterister (949) on Thursday September 03 2015, @10:36PM (#232012) Journal

    If you want this to be that broad, then why not say that programming in assembly language is also configuring? All you're doing is putting together a set of numbers (ie. configuration parameters) to make the hardware act a certain, predefined way.

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  • (Score: 2) by zugedneb on Friday September 04 2015, @03:29AM

    by zugedneb (4556) on Friday September 04 2015, @03:29AM (#232111)

    I helped a dude with a small school project, to make a calculator.
    He knew some algebra and .net, and should have used the string functions and gui functions to make a calculator in dotnet.

    But I wanted to torment him, so I tricked him in to making a calculator with the gui buttons and display, but in the C way, implemented as a state machine with error handling...

    to my delight, he was tormented by that :D

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