A guest post by Nisha Murali.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word programmer? Thousands and thousands of lines of confusing and incomprehensible code! Code?? A collection of rules and regulations. So, now think of what a programmer does - composes a set of lines or instructions following a collection of rules. Simple right?
Coming from a small town in South India, I had basically seen computers only on television and in shops. My father was an electrical engineer who didn’t need to use a computer in his line of work. By the time I finished high school, computers and programming were the most sought after possession and profession. So, I decided I wanted to be a programmer and began the journey of Computer Engineering. This was my first step towards programming.
Remember, I haven’t yet been formally introduced to a computer. When I first entered the computer lab in college, I didn’t know what the shift key was for (I was that new!!). My first program was displaying “Hello World” using C. I remember how excited I was when I saw those words flashing on my monitor. My journey as a programmer started right there.
Programming is not as hard or complex as people think. It's like baking a cake. You perfect it with patience, practice and repetition. Working towards a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering - my life revolved around operating systems, languages and programming. At first I didn’t understand how to relate the theoretical part with the practical part. It was like they were the two banks of the river, with me standing in between. But with every day study, I slowly began to appreciate the importance of applying theory to practice. I remember buying a book filled with simple C programs for beginners. That book really got me interested in programming.
After 4 full years of programming and a Bachelor’s degree in hand (YAY!!), I successfully managed to get placed into a software company. A few months into my new job as a Visual C++ programmer, I successfully executed my first project. I have not felt that much happiness and pride as I did on that day. Something I created was going to be out in the world and used by thousands of people. The feeling was awesome.
In my career as a programmer, I have found that programming is an art. It requires the correct balance of creativity with logical thinking and intellect to have fun while trying to succeed.
In Larry O’Brien and Bruce Eckel words: Computer programming is tremendous fun. Like music, it is a skill that derives from an unknown blend of innate talent and constant practice. Like drawing, it can be shaped to a variety of ends – commercial, artistic, and pure entertainment. Programmers have a well-deserved reputation for working long hours, but are rarely credited with being driven by creative fevers. Programmers talk about software development on weekends, vacations, and over meals not because they lack imagination, but because their imagination reveals worlds that others cannot see.