Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why You Should Code

Every day, every second now, we are immersed in a world where dumb machines work for us. To list the obvious, your phones, TV, desktop, watch and, laptop are all computers. In the not so obvious list come power plants, rockets, cars, water supply, GPS, and, the post office. Despite living in this obviously computer driven world very few people know how to code. So I'm going to tell you why I code, in an effort to get you to pick up yourself and get going.

Programming at it's heart is communication. You instruct the machine. You tell it what to do, your desires, the things you don't like, the things you want more of, the things you want done quickly. You tell the machine what it is that you want done. In those moments of history, you are God. You can instruct the machine to anything and it will obey. It will obey in a manner you never thought possible.

There will be no complaint, no groans. There will be no raised eyebrows. You have a powerful ally at your command. You can designate repetitive tasks to it and it will do them till the end of time itself. You can assign some intelligent tasks to it and it will do them till the end of time. What the machine does is up to you.

The first problem I solved was downloading YouTube videos. I knew I wanted this entire play list and I did not want to go on clicking anymore. So I wrote a program for it and the machine obediently downloaded the entire play list for me. That is all there is to computing. Nothing fancy, nothing mysterious. Simple communication.

I now solve a lot of problems using my laptop. I have to apply for a PhD. So I write a program to suggest names of PhD guides to me.

There are lots of ways to communicate with the computer. Sure you can use something like Excel to do calculations for you. But in that you are limited to the options that the makers of Excel provide to you. Imagine this like talking to a person with cards. You can only say what is on the cards. Of course you will be limited! On the other hand, the way for unlimited communication is programming languages. Pick any one!

All programming languages are designed with one thing in mind. How can we maximize the things you can communicate to a computer. With a programming language at hand, you can communicate with your computer in an almost unlimited fashion. So learn one.

Try out Python! Try out Matlab( or Octave if you prefer free software like I do)! Try Java or even C!

All these languages allow you to communicate with the computer. All of them are powerful! With an untiring assistant at your beck and call, your life will be a lot simpler.