Programming The Hard Way

I wrote about my plan to restart computer programming. I’ve postponed the HTML5/CSS/JavaScript route, as I was blindly following instructions, which is not my preferred learning style. I wasn’t learning fast enough so got disillusioned and lost interest.

I found a book called ‘Learning Python the Hard Way’
and I was “trying it for free” but I’m not really its target audience:
“Made for beginners who know nothing about programming.
Not a book claiming to be for beginners but really for programmers.”
If you are one of those, then it looks a good way to learn Python programming.

I skipped to the end to read “Advice from an Old Programmer” and saw that the author  claimed to know 20 languages when he wrote the book.
“How ridiculous!”, I thought, “No-one needs to know that many programming languages.”

Then I made my list. I was a student then professional programmer for less than 10 years.

At university: Algol 68, COBOL, Lisp.

At work on VMS: DEC DCL, BASIC, Pascal, FORTRAN. On IBM mainframes VM/CMS with Rexx.

In recent years: Business process modelling in the graphical language, UML.

Along with dabbling with various bits of:
POP-11, C, Macro-32, SQL, Unix/bash scripting, C#, XML and Java

and now I’m trying Python, HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript.

About 20. As I said, RIDICULOUS!

There is a further gem of advice in that section of the book: don’t see programming as a profession but as a weapon in another field, where the things you can achieve with computers are valuable and respected. I had achieved this until the last couple of years, when I was re-organised into an IT department, without my agreement. They were the least satisfying of my career. I like solving real problems, not artificial ones caused by ill-advised IT changes.

Coding is a tool but there is little chance of finding satisfaction in a job advertised as ideal for someone who likes hammering; particularly if they tell you the manufacturer of the hammer which you must have 2 years previous experience with. Don’t work for a fool. It only makes you look foolish.


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