Computer Programming, Revisited

public class HelloWorld {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello, World");

On a chilly evening in January 2014, I was a college freshman sitting in my lab section for CSC 150: Intro to Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I logged into my assigned workstation and over the course of 30 minutes, I had produced my first ever computer program, the snippet at the top of this blog post.

The syntax appears quite strange to anyone that’s never dabbled in code, but it’s an incredibly simple program. Whenever this program is run, it prints the text “Hello, world” to the computer screen.

As things would transpire, I didn’t go on to become a computer science major — quite the opposite actually. I earned my baccalaureate degree in classical studies (as in the Greco-Roman world, not AC/DC or Shakespeare), and went on to earn my master’s degree in education. Even though I didn’t “stick” with computer science in terms of my academic or professional trajectories, my first exposure to the world of computer code sparked a keen interest that I would revisit six years later through an elective course at Indiana University.

A few nights ago, I came across some old computer programs that I had completed as part of an introduction to Python programming while in grad school. I had organized the files on my GitHub account, which is like a programmer’s version of Google Drive. I downloaded a few simple programs that I had made, and felt a familiar sense of curiosity and intrigue at seeing them come to life in the screen. The more I thought about it, the more that I realized that I had a keen interest in getting back into the world of computer programming. There are a few reasons for that:

  • I dabbled in computer science as an undergrad and grad student, and I really enjoyed the classes that I took. Computer programming exists at a perfect intersection between art and science, and it always appealed to my brain in a unique way. There was always a thrill around getting a program to do exactly what you want it to do, even with the frustrations that come with debugging faulty logic.
  • New York City schools are making a big push for computer science, and I’m fairly confident that I’d like to obtain an additional license in this area. I can only imagine how awestruck I would have been if I knew about programming in high school, and I’d like to share that joy with students one day.
  • I’ve always been a deeply creative person, and coding definitely checks off that box.

I’m not sure exactly where my rekindled interest in computer programming came from, but I’m excited to get back into it, even if only as a hobby. Time is such a precious commodity these days, but I’m sure that I’ll make the most of it. I hope to share some occasional updates and code snippets here on the blog.

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