Hello World

The below is a chapter from my second book Learning to code again

It is Tuesday the eleventh of July, twenty twenty three. I decided that today was the day I would write my first chapter in this book. This book is my second book. In my first book, I learnt about writing a book and becoming a book writer and now I am using that experience and knowledge in writing this book. I want it to be more narrative than technical. The title is a spin off from the metaphorical expression "learning to dance again". I am making myself vulnerable and putting myself out there. I am bound to make mistakes and get things wrong but that is part and parcel of the learning process. I am a techie and tech blogger from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I have more than twenty years experience in tech. I started coding in Secondary school using Basic and Pascal and Visual Basic.

I remember creating windows in Pascal using the characters from alt codes. That was such a discovery. I remember using Visual Basic on Windows 95. I was lucky to have a computer lab in my Secondary school. I got a perfect score on my Cambridge GCE Computer Studies SBA (school based assessment). My project was called PASCALS which stood for Programmed and Simplified Computerised All Purpose Library System. Our projects were printed on dot matrix printers. The computer lab was often busy with the sound of these dot matrix printers. I remember using floppy disks to store my project files.

I fell in love with computers and tech in Secondary school. I recognised the power of tech to make the world a better place and I was having fun and I was getting top scores in my Computer Studies classes and this motivated me to choose tech and coding as a career path. Even though I recognised tech could change the world, my primary reason to get an education and pursue a career path in technology was to make a living and at least I would be doing something I loved and enjoyed. I didn't think about changing the world myself. I did not think about starting a business myself. Things that I would do differently if I had to do it all over again, now that I think about it. I am at a place in my life where I see my power to make a difference. I can use my God given talents to affect positive change.

I liked and was good at Maths and Science and Computer Studies in school. With computers, it's either one or zero, right or wrong versus English which I saw as subjective. I felt like the English teachers did not understand my style of writing and my way of expressing myself. I enjoyed problem solving and critical thinking and building things. I appreciate English and History just not being tested on them and having to memorize things. Anything with less memorisation was better for me. In my young mind I was fascinated by the internet which was new to the world. It was bringing the world to our doorsteps. Doorsteps on a small island developing country. Also, I saw video games as an escape from this world. The digital world and my limitless imagination were fuel for my creativity and mindful pursuits.

The first "Hello World" program has been attributed to have been written by Brian Kernighan in 1972 at Bell Labs while working on the C programming language. It spread as a common introductory example in programming, appearing in Kernighan and Ritchie's book and becoming a standard first program in various programming languages worldwide. I saw an interview with him on youtube where he does state that his memory is dim now but, "What I do remember is that I had seen a cartoon that showed an egg and a chick and the chick was saying, "Hello World". I only recently learnt this after all these years.

In university and my early career I used C++ and Java. After that I spent quite a few years working with Lotus Notes. In later years I worked with websites and social media. I took a break from working and I am currently a tech blogger. I did not do much coding for the last few years. Coding is now just a hobby for me and I am writing this book. I see myself as starting from scratch again. It does feel like I am in some sort of coding bootcamp. I am embracing a beginner's mindset and I am learning, exploring and sharing. I am embracing the perspective of a beginner, learning and unlearning and immersing myself in the vast world of coding with a thirst for knowledge.

These are eight goals that I have for this journey. These are not written in stone. I will adapt as I proceed.

  1. Share what I learn and how I learn
  2. Have fun doing something I love
  3. Inspire others to see the fun in coding
  4. Strengthen my problem solving capacity
  5. Keep up with the technologies
  6. Become a better writer and blogger
  7. Tell a story and be more narrative than technical
  8. Get hands-on with practical projects

Hello world. Hello today. Hello to the future. Welcome to my journey of learning to code again in a world full of possibilities and changing technologies.


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