~/imallett (Ian Mallett)

So, you wanna be a programmer?

Here's what you need to know:

To be a (good) programmer, you need to be (or be able to learn how to be) very logical. If you're Spock, you'll be good at this. You MUST be able to self-evaluate and criticize yourself, and be open to the idea of mining your own works for faults, contradictions and stupid mistakes.

You also need familiarity with basic mathematics (again, can be learned). More is better, but Algebra is a fair minimum. I rarely need more than Calculus, but I find Trigonometry and Geometry to be VERY helpful ALL THE TIME.

Often neglected, it is also very important to be creative. Programming is about solving problems, and if you don't like doing that, you're going to fail. Most of the problems you'll run into (especially if you get good) are problems no one has ever encountered before, and YOU are the one that need to solve them with little to no help from outside. So, to be a good programmer, you must use logic and reason in new ways.

The Basics:

You program a computer by writing a program. This is typically a very carefully written and revised text file telling your computer what to do. Programs can be written in different "languages", which are just different ways of telling the computer to do something. Computers are fundamentally stupid; they'll do EXACTLY what you tell them.

Proceed to the next section: Variables.

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