Sounds Ridiculous! isn’t it ? Me comparing the Megabytes or Terabytes of senseless one’s and zero’s of code to something that is built with Lego bricks. Lego is supposed to be a fun process, right? But coding seems like spending too much time in front of the computer finding which semi-colon did you miss and where! And bang your head to the wall until you get it right. They’re nowhere close to a match. How is that even possible?
Yeah! you might say that rather sarcastically, or had that notion in your mind all along. But trust me, this is a perfect analogy that I can put forth when it comes to the creative process of coding in its entirety. I call it Lego Coding. And it is something that you are already familiar with, but never acknowledged it for how amazing it really is.
When I was 11 years old, I got my first real personal computer as my Birthday gift (The best birthday gift ever). Being a tech-geek, and being obsessed with pressing random keys in the keyboard for a mere fascination of seeing something on the monitor, coding was not my first intent. Moreover, I didn’t even know a process called ‘coding to makes wonderful things’ existed back then. I, the kid, who was building castles with Lego bricks and breaking it to build new one’s, came across coding C and C++, few years later. And it caught my attention right away. So I did what most of the budding computer geeks and beginners to the art of coding do, you guessed it,
printf(‘Hello My Computer, It’s your boi, Velan’)
(I might have missed the semi colon in my first few attempts, but you get the point) When I saw the output in the black screen, I was freaking out. Running around the house, shouting “My Computer knows my name”. It sounded ridiculous, yet amazing, that you can teach your computer to do things, and it just obeys you without arguing! That is how I was introduced into the art of coding. And it didn’t seem like something that is a tedious process of finding missing semi-colons, (Sometimes I do feel like banging my head against the wall, Sometimes) But It seemed more like building things that I love, with Lego bricks that I was obsessed with, prior to coding. It made me feel curious and expressive. It made me feel like, I can do anything and everything using my creative intent and my computer. And that kept me going to build things with code.
Growing up, I took an academic path where there is a lot of coding and computer science involved, because that is what I was interested in. It was a place of ecstasy to me, where i’m officially experimenting with things that i love doing. But, to my surprise, I was astonished to see not everyone was engrossed into the process of coding as much as I was. And when my fellow student said “I don’t like coding!”, My obvious reply was, “Are you freaking kidding me? How can you even not love playing Lego with code?”. Gradually I realised that, not everyone was introduced to coding like I had been. Not everyone coded because they loved the process, or I could say, They were never enchanted by the thought of playing Lego with code. While I saw C, C++ and other tools as Lego bricks that I can build my castles with, few others saw it as an ‘Academic-Getaway-Pass’ That can get them into introductory interviews, by showcasing good marks. And it was a let down to see an Art getting wasted, By people turning into primary job seekers than turning into primary artists who can build things they love.
Now i’m 21 years old and, I have been coding ever since. Playing Lego with code never gets old to me. And I can’t think of any other analogy that explains the process any better. I‘m never frightened by errors popping up in my code (Trust me, I get so many of them), besides I get frightened when I don’t get one. And coding has kept my childlike creativity and imagination going, and it has given me a new dimension to think about things that I would never have thought otherwise. I don’t code to save someone’s time or save this world from apocalypse or get people on mars, perhaps. I code because i’m enchanted by the mere process of coding as building something that I love, by keeping lines of code one on top of the other and create a system that is as beautiful as my Lego castle was. If my code goes on to save someone’s life or time, I’m glad it did. But my primary intent always remains to code because I love to do it. Nothing complicated. And I’ve never been tired of it, Nor will I ever be.
If you are someone who doesn’t like coding or someone who doesn’t know where to start coding from or if coding is not interesting to you anymore, Here’s my advice to you (I’m not a professional though. so, you have a total liberty to disagree with me) Coding neither has a how-to-guide, nor a shortcut to be a coding sensei. Starting with coding is as simple as starting with it. It is an art. And art doesn’t come with guides. It is a process of learning through trial and error. If you’re coding, it is highly unlikely that you’ll get things right on the first attempt, YOU DON’T! Most of the people quit here saying, “I’m tired, Let me eat something”. But if you keep the process going, make errors, and learn from them to know where you went wrong, you will have a whole new appreciation for the process of coding as of how it shapes your logic and makes you think in a different light. And few years down the line you will probably sit in front of the computer just like me and write an article on how coding shaped your life, made you a better person, filled your life with creativity. Just in case you do, I’ll be so happy to read through your story someday.
So unleash the art of coding as how you build things with Lego bricks. Write code, Make mistakes, understand the errors and solve them. When you were a kid, it’s highly unlikely that you build a beautiful castle in the first attempt. Similarly it’s highly unlikely that you’ll build a world class software in your first attempt. You will gradually get better with time and practice. And it’s gonna involve a lot of error solving and experimenting. And believe me, when you make something built with code, that you can call your own, You will have a whole new appreciation for the efforts that you’ve put to get there. And that‘s what LEGO CODING does to you. It makes you be proud of yourself for the castle-like structure you have built with your Lego bricks of code. So, have fun writing code, have fun exploring fun new challenges in this world full of possibilities. Have a good day.