On becoming a programmer

Mike Lee: “I often say that anyone can learn to program, but you have to be born a programmer.”

There are, roughly, two types of programmers. One type was in the computer club at high school and got a computer science degree (or two or three). The other type, well, didn’t—they were English majors, college dropouts, busboys, artists, odd-job-doers. (Cue Captain Renault: “That makes Rick a citizen of the world.”)

My advice to young people is to get a computer science degree, if for no other reason than you can avoid those odd jobs and get right to the programming. And it also gives you an early chance to find out if you were, in fact, born a programmer.

But one of the things I love about developing software is that nobody asks for your education background before trying your software. If they like it, cool, and if not, not.

18 Aug 2007


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