Have you ever thought “Hmm…. It would be so great if I was able to:
- Sort through my emails faster
- Analyze millions of pieces of data
- Build an app
- Help my daughter learn math through an interactive online soccer game
- Develop a new software
- Search the internet faster
- Develop a machine learning algorithm
- Build a website for my business…
I could go on and on, but I’ll save us both our precious time and say that programming is the answer to all of these questions.
You’re probably saying “Max… Come on – what? Really? How’s that possible? Isn’t programming kind of geeky and only really for hacking in the movies?”
And you’re probably picturing a generic programming nerd right now, who stays in their room all day at their computer in front of a black screen and white lines of incomprehensible code.
That is such a complete misconception (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a generic programming nerd.)
You see – actually – that generic nerd programmer is a badass.
Knowing how to program doesn’t make you weird, unsocial, strange, uncool – it makes you a completely devastating, making-girls-swoon (just ask my girlfriend), breaking-guitars-in-hotel-rooms, kicking-ass-and-taking-names kind of rock star.
Let’s get down and be honest with each other – it’s just you and me, no one else is around – if your friend Emma came up to you and was casually like ‘Yeah, I developed the flappy bird app.’
Would you think that was uncool?
You’d be like, ‘WHAT?! Emma! I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.’ Everyone’s playing that game – it’s earning like $50,000/day just from ads and sales. How is that lame? Nah – you’d call your mom like ‘Mom. You know my friend Emma? She invented FLAPPY BIRD. Wow, she’s sooooooo cool.’
And I mean that’s just flappy bird.
Imagine you had a friend who came up with a machine learning algorithm that could diagnose a disease case-by-case and suggest the right treatment for it.
Or came up with a program that detected credit card fraud within seconds of suspicious activity?
Uhh… that’s kind of, secretly, really awesome?
That’s like, rockstar material right there.
Programming as a Superpower
What people don’t realize is this: Normally, you’re just an ordinary human. You can do ordinary human things like eat chocolate cereal, pet a fluffy cat, go jogging, or call your grandma. But when you know how to program, you transform into an actual rockstar. You become bigger, badder, better.
Why? Because you suddenly have access to the powers of a computer.
You’re no longer just a human doing human things – you are a human who has the abilities to utilize all the things a computer can do, which is honestly crazy.
Typical computers are working in the gigahertz range – that means a computer is able to do billions of things in a second. Supercomputers can do way more than that.
Imagine being able to do a billion things in a second! You could learn all the languages in the world, all the skills, all the sports, all the people and their favorite colors – all the things instantly.
Knowing how to program is kind of like getting to know a person who is some sort of a crazy, crazy genius. And that person is now your friend.
We’ll call this friend Herbert.
Herbert is able to (literally) do billions of things in a second. So while you’re trying to pour milk in your cereal bowl, Herbert has already finished all your tasks for, like, your entire life. Herbert is able to able to execute any task you give it and answer every question you give it instantly. And only YOU are able to talk to Herbert.
You’d want to take that friend everywhere, right?
Knowing how to program gives you access to that friend – to Herbert. You are able to use a medium that, in some sense, let’s you actualize the random thoughts that float around in your head.
Why Learn Programming?
As a programmer, I can say that there honestly aren’t that many requirements to learning how to program.
- You don’t need to invest money into buying parts
- You don’t need to spend years learning the trade or getting degrees on degrees
- You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars developing your skills
- Your parents don’t need to know the ‘right people’ and you don’t need to have the right connections or network
You only need to invest in your time and dedication, and let the fun you’re having, and your ambition to own this superpower, drive you.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: in the job market, as well as at university, your value increases crazy-fold if you know how to program.
My bachelor thesis was based on analyzing the results of physics simulations, something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I wasn’t able to program.
During my internship in the tech field, so few people knew how to properly program. They were baffled when I created even simple things, like a bot that tells you how people on twitter are feeling towards a specific hashtag topic.
In the finance world today, no trader can get by through making trades over the phone. Everything is done through complex algorithms now; some trades even occur on a microsecond scale. Traders, or most people in finance, that don’t know how to code are going to feel very threatened very soon (if they don’t feel so already), from people that have the same knowledge as then, but know how to convert their trading strategy into an algorithm. This enables them to do finance on a completely different level.
>> That’s what programming does – it brings you to a new level of learning, of developing, of creating – generally, just of being able to solve problems of life. <<
No matter what your goals are, what your job is, or what your hobbies are, you can’t go wrong with knowing how to program. Sooner or later, there will come a time when a problem presents itself that is easily solvable through programming.
Sure, programming is great for earning money, great for gaining respect and prestige; it’s also great for earning ‘cool points’ with strangers. But I’d say programming even comes in handy in unconventional areas such as looooove.
Programming for My Crush
Before I got together with my girlfriend, we were best friends for a really long time, and chatted occasionally over messenger. One time when she was bored in class, she made a pyramid of “thumbs-up’s” and sent it to me. (She’s a strange one, yes.)
Once you get to higher pyramid bases, it takes quite some time to write that many thumbs-up’s and it was taking her longer and longer to send me pyramids. So I built her a simple program, only a few lines long, that made a thumbs up pyramid as large as you liked. The only limit was how many thumbs up symbols messenger could display in one message. This is what the code looked like:
I sent her a huge pyramid back, and sent her my program shortly after, telling her how to use it. If you run it, it asks how high you want your pyramid to be, and then produces it for you, and you can just copy paste it.
She thought it was super cute and through inference – probably (definitely) thought I was super cute.
This little example just shows how versatile programming is. There are just so many different things you can use it for: finance, data science, efficiency, project management, cyber security, big data, healthcare, entertainment, sports – there is always an application for programming.
Be it for making an income, for research, or just for fun, knowing how to program is an incredible superpower to have. Just being able to access that computer friend (Herbert) adds a crazy amount of new dimensions and possibilities to your life.
>> And truly, all that I can recommend is to get started today. <<