DEV Community

Dan Hackworth
Dan Hackworth

Posted on

Initial Commit

My Journey into Software Engineering: Decoding the Language of Computers

Hello, My name is Daniel Hackworth, I am a 26 year old software engineer. I got into coding several months ago and it was a wild journey! I was not a computer guy, I took a couple classes in high school but that was the extent of my knowledge. I used a chromebook because I got it on sale and didn’t do much more than what google drive offered, and surfing the web. One day, I wasn’t paying attention and someone stole my chromebook. I was angry about it but everything I really cared about was backed up. Luckily my best friend had an old, but still very powerful, laptop he was willing to sell me for a good price. Then I got very sick and fell behind on my bookkeeping for work. Through that harrowing experience I found it necessary to find a faster way. I wasn’t wealthy enough to hire someone else to do it. So I set off on learning to code my first program. With my better computer, the help of chat-gpt, and plenty of fumbling around; I was able to create my first program. I had so much fun with it, that I started making programs for other easily automatable tasks and time savers. I began creating more complex programs when I wasn’t working. Then, got it in my head that maybe I could get paid to write programs. When I realized that I would be losing my housing within 6 months and I wasn’t making enough money with my current job to get a new place. I got that push I needed to take a leap of faith to quit my job and join a coding bootcamp.

Mathematics in a Foreign Land

I feel lucky that coding was a passion before I attempted to make it a career. I go into every problem thoroughly enjoying the puzzles and problem solving. Having the basics on how to “speak computer” has helped me immensely going into my bootcamp experience. My philosophy on coding is deeply rooted in communication. I often describe learning to code as going into a foreign country to take a class on algebra. Assuming you have taken an algebra class before or at least understand the basics, experiencing a teacher teach in a different language can be daunting, confusing, and cause much miscommunication. But, the logical problem-solving techniques in algebra don’t change much regardless of what language it is being taught in. Taking your time to understand more of the language you are learning by using the algebra skills you already possess to make cross-subject references and unlock more vocabulary and syntax based on what you do know and any outside help you can reference; will leave you with an understanding of the new language and a much more solid understanding of algebra.

The Language of Code

To continue on this philosophy, like traditional language, coding language syntax and vocabulary is vast and influenced by many very different people. So just like communication there are many different ways to communicate the same ideas, some better than others in regards to different situations. These solutions are also limited by the “speaker’s” and "listener's" vocabulary. In the case of coding, the listener(the computer) has all the vocabulary; so it is only limited by the coder. As a speaker, the best way to increase your lexicon is by reading books that use words in contextual and complex ideas, in tandem with a dictionary for reference. If you read a book far above your reading level it simply wouldn’t make sense, and if you read a dictionary, you would lose necessary contextual value. I have found that coding is exactly the same; and the best way to learn is looking at or copying code that is just out of reach, with reference material handy.

Top comments (0)