Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

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I am not a great computer programmer. Many of my friends are great programmers, and including some who are world class. This has occasionally made me feel like I'm a crappy programmer, and if I go long enough without talking to anyone outside the MIT community about technical stuff, I can get to where I feel downright stupid.

A few months ago a friend, who's a working programmer but not one of my superhacker friends, asked me to look over some code they were failing to find a bug in.
I'm really not a programmer, you know....
Just look. Fresh pair of eyes and all that.
What's this language? I've never seen it
Special purpose language for this thing....
Hm. This variable — you're not testing for greater than foo.
Can't happen.
[After I spend a few minutes looking over the rest of the program, tracing the logic.]
I'm not convinced. Try just printing an error message if it's greater than foo...

It turned out that the "can't happen" case was happening. And I remembered that I don't actually suck at this stuff. I may not be a genius at it, but I'm not hopeless either.

This in turn encouraged me to think about maybe trying to improve my skills. About a month ago, I came across Project Euler
Project Euler is a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that will require more than just mathematical insights to solve. Although mathematics will help you arrive at elegant and efficient methods, the use of a computer and programming skills will be required to solve most problems.

The motivation for starting Project Euler, and its continuation, is to provide a platform for the inquiring mind to delve into unfamiliar areas and learn new concepts in a fun and recreational context.

What's not clear from that is that there's an extent to which it's structured like a game. Today, I finished level zero.
Bravo, xela! Now that you have solved 25 problems you have achieved what 79.71% of members have failed to do and have advanced to level 1. Good luck as you continue.
Tags: geek
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