Parallel Programming & Parallel Computing Information and Resources
Holding a Program in One's Head
August 2007 A good programmer working intensively on his own code can hold it in his mind the way a mathematician holds a problem he's working on. Mathematicians don't answer questions by working them out on paper the way schoolchildren are taught to. They do more in their heads: they try to understand a problem space well enough that they can walk around it the way you can walk around the memory of the house you grew up in. That's particularly valuable at the start of a project, because initially the most important thing is to be able to change what you're doing. Your code is your understanding of the problem you're exploring. It's not easy to get a program into your head. Even the best programmers don't always have the whole program they're working on loaded into their heads. Avoid distractions. Even more striking are the number of officially sanctioned projects that manage to do all eight things wrong.
Learn to Program With Code Academy
Did you ever want to be a huge nerd your whole life, but didn’t know where to start? Don’t have the shelf space for the O’Reilly books, or found the various "in a nutshell" books too dry? I think Codecademy has an offer you can’t refuse. It’s an interactive site you start off simply with some naming conventions and math equations inside an interactive "terminal" window. The depth of the lessons look excellent, and the site is advertising a teacher beta once you log in, so if you want to contribute to the learning experience, you should absolutely get in touch with them. What about you? As an old coder, however, the interface and interaction this site provides looks pretty invaluable. Are you still here? [Update Oct 4, 2011: It's "Codecademy", not "Code Academy".