How did you learn to code?

We took a little Spring Break after April Fools, but we’re back this week and wondering how you learned to code.

For me, it was the llama book. I didn’t have a computer at home at the time (yes, I also remember when TVs didn’t have remotes and when gas was under $1 :joy:). So I hand-wrote my answers to the questions at the end of each chapter and then flipped to the back of the book to compare their answers to mine.

We were using Matt Wright’s WWWBoard at work, and my expanding mastery allowed me to extend it without breaking everything.

How about you?


I started hands on with dbaseII, setting up a system to keep track of foreign orders at the bookstore I worked at that time in space. Just a flimsy book, and a lot of trial and error. After that SuperCalc and WordPerfect on 2.5" floppies with an 8MB Ram PC. Cigarettes were not considered harmful, gas was definitely less than a dollar, even in Europe


I received the old Commodore 64 of my father when I was around 8 years old. He gave me some of his books about Basic, I started reading them, copying and modifying the samples, and that’s how it started. It was not that easy to learn programming at that age because I did not speak any English :slight_smile: The books were in German, the programming language on the other hand…

I do own the Llama book as well, lovely book :grin: But I bought it many years later, probably when I was around 15.


I started learning Basic on Commodore 20 then jumped directly to GW-BASIC on DOS! Then I learned dBase III later on.
My life took a very long detour and I returned to AcctionScript 3 with flash which finally led to Javascript/Typescript.


Taught myself Basic on Atari 2600 (yes, the original gaming console). I used the joystick to “type” each character as there was no keyboard. The Basic cartridge didn’t offer a way to save your code, but it was nice introduction to programming.


I remember having started with Delphi (Pascal) and a book from my deceased uncle that my grandma was about to trash.

I remember I was using Win 95 and had no access to the internet on that PC. (Was my own but could not run any good games) That’s probably the reason why I became curious about this world. I did some Visual Basic macros also and I always had to jump to the family computer for searching help on IRC channels.

Haha the good old time of floppy disk to “share” my first programs !

Then later on I jumped into PHP with siteduzero (replaced by openclassroom since) and did some studies as an engineer more focused on C++/Java well usual stuff :slight_smile:

Wow @ganncamp you made me do some archaeology in my own brain :smiley: I remember so great memories now, thank you! :smiley:


My very first experience with coding was when my cousin handed over to my family his old Thompson MO5 computer (very well known in France because this computer was part of school program to get children educated around computers).

The core OS was a version of MS basic with a command line and you had no choice but to program or load a tape to do anything with that machine… so I skimmed through the book that was with it to be able to launch the different games (not very good ones…) that were on the tapes (!) coming with the computer.
Let’s say that you needed to be patient…


I will never forget that moment!
My “Technical Education” teacher during the Middle School rather than having us doing technical drawings on paper took the whole class to the Computer Lab.
She gave the class the task to draw a Compass Rose after explaining the QBasic instructions and the expected final output.
We had to calculate the coordinate on papers, and write the instructions for drawing the lines to the various points.
For me has been love at first sight, it felt so natural to write a set of instructions that were converted in some cool operations on a screen!

After more than 20 years when I go back to my home town and I meet her, I never miss the occasion for telling that the outcome of my life is all her fault! :smile:


I started as a kid with Appletalk BASIC and machine language. Took a long break until after undergraduate college and re-started with machine language and C/C++ on Sun Solaris and OSS/2 Warp (using C Set++ from IBM). Building software for lab automation and other things related to protein, peptide, and bioinformatics research. I went back to school at Columbia University to learn computer science.