Funny story! When I started to study computer science in college, I knew nothing about coding. I had never seen one single line of code in my life, except a little algorithm we did in high school using our calculator. My computer use was limited to the basics. Watching YouTube, sending emails, chatting with my girlfriends, doing research for my homework. That was pretty much it. So my first computer science class was very special to me, I still remember it like it was yesterday.
The first computer science class
We had to start by following a process displaying easy steps. Turn on the computer. Open the finder. Open some basic files. So far so good. Then open the terminal. That was new… Run some commands on the terminal. Also very new to me, but interesting. After playing a while with the terminal, we had one final exercise. A piece of code in C was given to us, and we had to understand it and correct the mistakes.
I was lost
So here I was, staring at the code, not knowing what to look for. I was looking around me to look for some help, hopeless. At this time, you could clearly see who was already very comfortable coding in the class, and who wasn’t. It was absurd because in a class of 12 people we were 4 girls, and we were the only one – us girls – totally lost in front of these lines of code. Eventually, we found someone happy to help us with this exercise. I don’t recall the mistakes, but it was some semantic things, like a missing “;” at the end of a line, and maybe a variable that was used but never declared. Some basic stuff for me now that I have years of experience.
We learn so fast
The funny thing is how fast I got used to coding. Only a few weeks after this event, we were already coding basic games in C. Once you get the logic, coding gets very easy. With the curiosity to learn and the will to get better, you get really good at coding faster than you would think. So my story is a good example. For people who are wondering if they should start computer studies with no background in the field at all. Go for it! You will get some surprises along the way, but it will be fun and worth all the energy you will put into your studies. The souvenir of my first computer science class is still very clear to me, and at the same time I feel as if it didn’t happen.