Tag Archives: programming

Old Dog, New Tricks: Part 3

October is here. More truthfully, October is halfway over! I have spent half the day improving my programming skills, which are…improving.

I have not created the killer app yet, but I have a few good ideas and an increasing understanding of how to translate them into functional code. I know what “architecture” means in the context of software design. I am 90% finished with the online course in the Ruby language available on Codecademy; 41% finished with the course in Javascript; working through C++ using CodeBlocks, and making progress in learning animation together with my son. He learns faster than I do, which is great because I love seeing him acquire a useful skill; it is also kind of discouraging because I used to learn that fast, and watching him makes me feel old. But it is inspiring as well, because he still likes to work with me and his energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

Maybe old and young people are meant to work together. Old people have more discipline, persistence, and experience; young people bring energy, imagination, and a fresh outlook to the table.

So I went to the library today and came home with a stack of books, half of which involve technology. October is here, which marks one year and a month since I started blogging. Eight months since I started learning about programming; five months since I had the idea of building apps. Three months ago, I set a goal for myself to have built an app that is good enough for people to want to pay for, within a year. I am starting to think that just might be possible.

If it sounds like I am tooting my own horn today, you understand me completely! I feel terribly proud of myself for starting to learn how to interact with technology at age 42, instead of just going “gentle into that good night”. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks.

And (with apologies to Dylan Thomas) learning a new trick beats simply raging against the dying of the light.

Another New Trick

So this weekend will be the second one I have spent on Codecademy learning some programming skills. How did this happen to me? A year ago, I did not even have a blog! My computer was a tool for e-mail and reading the news and checking the weather! I guess I had an “aha!” moment. After switching out the operating system on my computer, I felt very proud of myself for about half an hour. Then when the glow wore off, I realized I had a lot of work to do. I always knew there is a lot going on beneath the surface of computer applications – I once translated the user’s manual for a business management software system – but I never felt like programing was something I could learn to do. After successfully doing one small bit of computer alteration for the first time, I started to feel like it might be doable. So I got started! Codecademy is a site where you can get free lessons and practice in several programming formats. It’s fascinating. I have learned a tiny bit about how to cause some of the effects I enjoy about computers, like being able to search a database and make little colored circles move around by clicking on them. More importantly, I am being reminded that it is never too late to learn something new, and that knowledge is power, and so learning new things adds to your freedom of choice.

Never stop learning!