Coding Isn't hard, it's like rocket science!

That’s the type of response I feel like I’m getting whenever I take the next step in trying to write code. It’s not that I’m a bad coder or lack motivation, after all the word bad in front of any job title, is simply a highlight of your self-esteem. Ok, so this may seem like mind-dumping, or reeking, call it what you will. However, are there really enough resources out here that will help coders… not code but express themselves more in a better way? The lessons on Codecademy, I find are pretty structured, and by that I mean you really do not have much freedom as a beginner. A pro? Well, this person would have the ability to design entire apps, websites, the whole shebang. Is it… their determination? Enthusiasm? I want to know. How does a person who thinks like a computer, tells it what to do, foster enough creativity? As in, the ability to freely highlight an emotion, a risk, a swipe of a angry painter? Emotions, my dear coders, are not something computers have. At what point do both intersect at crossroads? As an app developer or even a beginner coder, you have basic knowledge that you appeal to before going anywhere. In other words, you have the four wheels you need to drive that car. But decorating the car… the app developer may have some experience with graphic design, aka the placement of various designs that are aesthetically appealing, but where are the ergonomics? What will give the beginner the same ability to develop an app like a pro? Let me tell you: Say it with me, creativity. To tell you the truth, I do not know much about coding I can make lists, tell the difference between a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a cheese sandwich, but I, my dear fellow coders, do not know much about coding. But what makes me a good app developer? Creativity. This one word is so powerful, it contains centuries of stories, of messages of inspiration, that my 2020 Macbook just doesn’t get (Please don’t tell me in the contacts that there are no 2020 macbooks, I know your life sucks, just don’t take it out on me, ok? :joy:). Developing tech can only get you so far, redefining tech by who it can accommodate for, and making their lives easier, that is a goldmine. And it isn’t even rocket science.

3 Likes

I am a coder, an artist and a writer. I was an artist way before I started coding. (Also I am a teenager :upside_down_face:)
Many times, art and coding are seen as opposite things (am I right?). It’s like if you’re a good coder, you just can’t be a good artist and viceversa.

Oh man, I struggle with expressing myself SO DARN MUCH. But one resource that I found really useful, are these forums. These are some things that I love being able to do in here:

  • Helping others with their coding problems (learning to explain the concepts in my head and see things from someone else’s perspective)

  • Asking for help with my own coding problems (learning to ask good questions)

  • Simply expressing how I feel about coding, things that coding has taught me

These forums truly have helped me to translate my coding knowledge and ideas into words, which is something I value a lot.

In my personal experience, doing other non-coding related activities can help a lot. (Like I said, I draw and write). Also trying to work completely by myself on personal projects has helped me a lot, since I have to “force” myself to think about every aspect of the project, whether it’s design, functionality, accesibility…(notice I said force between quotes, since I actually enjoy thinking about the whole process).

So yeah, those were my personal thoughts on some of your points :upside_down_face:

5 Likes

Thank you! I found these insights really helpful, and I hope others are able to benefit from them as well!

1 Like

Have you read this essay, Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham (co-founder of Y Combinator)? It’s pretty great :slight_smile:

5 Likes

I truly love reading, so thanks for the article, will definitely check it out :smiley:

2 Likes

I read over it too, seems pretty great! Will check it out as well!

1 Like

I just read it and I loved it! It made so much sense to me and made me feel less discouraged about the way I code. See I’m a digital artist too, and most of the time I will jump headfirst into a project, drawing whatever I want to with no planning. This has coincidentally influenced the way I code, as I prefer to just start typing and “beat my code into working”. I constantly hear “write it on paper”, “plan it out to the littlest detail”, but you know, that never worked for me, and I always felt discouraged because of that.

2 Likes

That’s great! Really hope you find furthur sucess with your coding journey! Loved “I just read it and I loved it”

1 Like

I finished reading it. It was really good, and it opened up my mind to the concept of sketching being applied to coding and programming.
I usually plan in amazing detail every single project before I write a single line of code. I like to feel prepared, and not feel like I’m just spitting out code and hoping for the best.
Art-wise, I used to draw only finished illustrations. I never sketched. Facing a blank paper without knowing what I was going to do deeply scared me. But about a year ago, I got a sketchbook and started sketching: drawing whatever was in my mind, practicing, studying pictures, and most importantly, loosing my fear of messing up. My drawing skills just went to another level.

It’s funny how I never thought of that in terms of coding. Code sketching. I’m going to try it out, I feel like it will be a great way to loosen up and learn a bunch of new stuff :grinning:

1 Like

My thoughts on this would be to compare the lessons on using code to your lessons using a tool. It is easy to learn how to use hammers, saws, and nails, but after learning that, it takes commitment and creativity to do fine woodwork.


That was indeed amazing, I can relate to SO many of those points. Especially about fine planning your code/art, I have tried to do this, but it never comes out as well as if I just start typing/drawing.

1 Like

I love this discussion so much! I was an art teacher before I joined Codecademy’s curriculum team and consider myself to be a creative technologist. Art and technology have so many opportunities for intersection, both in the way you can approach coding as a creative practice or literally bring works of art to life through writing programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about creative opportunities in tech, I definitely recommend checking out the field of creative coding. There are dozens are artist programmers/creative technologists out there building beautiful things. A few favorites: Zach Lieberman, Sam Lavigne, Lauren McCarthy, Sarah Rothberg. p5.js is a great JavaScript library built for artists and teachers to learn how to code, but also express themselves visually. Dan Shiffman (my grad school teacher!) has a quality YT channel called the Coding Train with tons of free and live coding videos and projects. They’re sure to inspire something.

I actually do a one day session on creative coding for a class at the School for Visual Arts. Here’s the GitHub repo with my presentation and some resources, including a couple p5.js examples.

Best of luck with your creative endeavors - can’t wait to see what y’all build.

6 Likes

I would argue that depends on how you define “emotions”. If we talk about emotions as a response to sensory inputs, a state of mind, then how different is it when:

  • my adrenaline spikes
  • my heart rate increases
  • my blood pressure raises
  • my muscles increase the breakdown of glucose
  • etc

because I have to rush to catch a train from when my computer is:

  • signaling the PSU for a higher voltage
  • allocating more RAM addresses
  • prioritizing processes in the CPU stack
  • pre-allocating space in my hard drive
  • etc

because I’m downloading the latest Ubuntu distro while playing PUBG online with friends and talking to them on Discord? Would you say my computer is getting “pumped up” or “excited” due to the higher energy consumption, greater focus on a primary task and larger input of signals?

This is just a thought experiment, but I like thinking about how our definitions of worldly things apply to our own creations. You know how someone might look at an old table and say it has “character”. We constantly project our experiences to things around us. In this regard, I think coding is very much the same. The care and dedication to clean, concise code, the clever use of algorithms and optimizations, the teamwork involved with UI designers, product managers, and other engineers… I like to think a great deal of creativity and passion goes into software products just as much as a carpenter puts into a new crib or a surgeon puts inside an OR.

5 Likes

I really like your way of thinking. See, this is why I love the comment section, get the way different people interpret different things you say. Loved it!

3 Likes