I Want to Be a Computer Programmer / by Leslie Fandrich


When I worked at Columbia University designing and managing the undergraduate websites, I learned something very important. Computer engineers and computer programmers were golden. My department was almost entirely staffed by students from the Engineering school and they all knew how to make magic with computer code. 

I learned how to code in college and it was so exciting when I was able to make the computer do what I wanted it do to. I worked on my digital portfolio and was one of only two students who dragged a computer down to the portfolio reviews for my graduating class. I was hired straight out of college and my computer skills were what eventually made it possible for me to move to the States from Canada. Eventually I shifted more towards design, but my foundation in programming was vital to my understanding of how things worked.

The future will be for people in computers and while I've always encouraged my kids towards science, I think I may adjust my view point a little to make sure that it is computer science. I want my kids to not only learn how to use a computer, but also how to program one. Watch this video to see why (this is the extended version).

Inspiring, isn't it? I just finished reading Steve Jobs's biography and the same message was there, although with a slight modification. The power is not just in the computer, but in the place where the computer intersects with art and humanity. That is where the magic will happen. That is something that Aaron Koblin has figured out too.

What successful people of the future need to do is learn computer skills and then use them to make something human, to tell a story, to enrich our lives and to solve problems.

Code.org has some great tools and advice to help us learn and teach computer programming. I'm going to download some of the apps for my iPad so that the kids can start learning the basics. Maybe I will too!

Have you ever coded anything for a computer?