Programmer, developer, coder, they’re all titles for the same occupation, someone who creates code. What they’re creating the code for can be anything from a video game to a critical element on board the International Space Station. How do you become a programmer though?
For those of you old enough to remember the ‘80s, the golden era of home computing the world of computing was a very diffrent sence to how it is today. 8-bit computers that you could purchase as a whole, as opposed to begin kit form and you having to solder the part together, were the stuff of dreams; and getting your hands on one was sheer bliss contained within a large plastic box. However, it wasn’t so much the new technology that computers then offered, moreover it was the fact that for the first time ever, you could control what was being viewed on the ‘television’.
Instead of simply playing one of the thousands of games available at the time, many users decided they wanted to create their own content, their own games; or simply something that could help them with their homework or home finances. The simplicity of the 8-bit home computer meant that creating something from a few lines of BASIC code was achievable and so the first generation of home-bred programmer was born.
From that point on, programming expanded exponentially. It wasn’t long before the bedroom coder was a thing of the past and huge teams of designers, coders, artists and musicians were involved in making a single game. This of course led to the programmer becoming more then simply someone who could fashion a sprite on the screen and make it move at the press of a key.
Naturally, time has moved on and with it the technology that we use. However, the fundamentals of programming remain the same; but what exactly does it take to be a programmer?
The single most common trait of any programmer, regardless of what they’re doing, is the ability to see a logical pattern. By this we mean someone who can logically follow something from start to finish and envisage the intended outcome. While you may not feel you’re such a person, it is possible to train your brain into this way of thinking. Yes, it takes time but once you start to think in this particular way you will be able to construct and follow code.
Second to logic is an understanding of mathematics. You don’t have to be at a genius level but you do need to understand the rudiments of maths. Maths is all about being able to solve a problem and code mostly falls under the umbrella of mathematics.
begin able to see the big picture is certainly beneficial for the mordern programmer. Undoubtedly, as a programmer, you will be part of a team of other programmers, and more than likely part of an even bigger team of disgner, all of whom are creating a final product. while you may only be expected to create a small element of that final product beign able to understand what everyone else is doing will help you create something that’s ultimately better than simply being locked in your own coding cubicle.
This process will not only trim the fat off the code before it's even written but will also help plug any gaps in the project before the hard work of enterning the code begins.
Finally, there’s also a level of creativity needed to be a good programmer. Again though, you don’t need to be a creative genius, just have the imagination to be able to see the end product and how the user will interact with it.
There is of Course a lot more involved in being a programmer, including learning the actual code itself. However, with time, patience and the determination to learn, anyone can become a programmer. Whether you want to be part of a triple-A video game team or simply create an automated routine to make your computing life easier, it’s up to you how far to take your coding adventure!
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