You're Already a Programmer


Recently, my friend Kinsey Ann Durham asked if I’d be willing to be a mentor for gSchool. I agreed, despite being unsure what to expect. I’ve never mentored someone in a “dev bootcamp” before. Yesterday, she introduced me to Kaylee Edmonson, who I’ll be mentoring for the next 6 months. Kaylee asked if I had any advice for “a non-programmer entering the programming world,” and I wanted to share my response to that question here.

On advice for a “non-programmer”:

First, realize that you are most likely already a programmer, and always were. You weren’t taught to think of it as such, but if you’ve ever given a person directions to get somewhere, or instructions on how to do something – if you’ve ever shared a recipe or written a blog post or written anything, at all, really, you’ve programmed.

This is because, at its heart, programming is written communication. You are struggling to find the words to convey to your compiler or interpreter (a very literal kind of reader) and to other developers the ideas that are in your head about how to accomplish something. You’ve wrestled with naming things, and how to most efficiently convey the information and intent of what you’ve written about. You’ve managed to, against all odds, make what you’re saying clear to the trickiest of all interpreters, another human.

You’re already a programmer. You’re just becoming a polyglot, now.

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