Monthly Archives: March 2013

Coding — an achievable super power

Who hasn’t wanted to have special powers like superheroes. How cool would it be to have even one of Superman’s powers or to live one day with the powers of a superhero?  It turns out you can.

A great video about the power of coding has been circulating around the internet.  Watch it.  Learn to Code.  It’s good stuff.  Also, check out www.code.org for some inspiring quotes from a wide consortium of people about the power and usefulness of computer coding.

Two of my favorite quotes from http://www.code.org are:

Meg Whitman
President & CEO, Hewlett-Packard
“If you have a daughter, she should go be an engineer.“
John Thune
U.S. Senator, South Dakota
“Whether our children want to become farmers, doctors, teachers, or entrepreneurs, it’ll be easier for them to achieve their dreams in the digital age if they have some background in computer science. We need our children to learn 21st century skills for a 21st century world, and coding teaches them the creativity and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success.“

I really enjoy coding, especially the aspects of breaking a problem down into logical elements.  I do not claim to be a great coder, but view coding as a vital part of illustrating the impacts of my research and something that I truly enjoy.

If I could go back to high school or to undergrad, one of the things I would do differently would be to take a course in computer programming.  I didn’t get exposed to coding until graduate school, where I was blessed to have graduate school friends like Hugh and Steve who helped me obtain skills in object oriented programming.  When I first started, I was extremely intimidated.  However, through a process of learning as I went coding different projects and thanks to taking a course in heuristics, which forced me to code, I gradually learned enough to get by.  I now use computer programming in my research to implement solution approaches.  Coding is an extremely rewarding experience (when your code does what you want it to do).  I like that with coding you get to see directly the fruits of your labor.  It is also pretty cool that with computer programming you can enable, with just a push of a button, some pretty powerful and amazing things.    It is also one of the more valuable skills I believe companies are looking for in employees, and one of the important skills we can instill in our students.

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