Did Some Computer Programming: NYTDid Some Computer Programming: NYT

Did Some Computer Programming: NYT Edition

So, you’ve decided to plunge into computer programming and are curious about what that entails. Maybe you’ve heard about it from the New York Times (NYT) or seen it in movies where hackers magically fix everything by typing furiously on their keyboards. Well, buckle up! We’re about to dive into the sometimes confusing, often frustrating, but ultimately rewarding world of coding. And don’t worry; I’ll keep it simple, with some humour sprinkled in for good measure.

Why Computer Programming?

First things first: Why would anyone want to become a computer programmer? It’s a fair question, considering programming sometimes feels like trying to speak Martian. Here are a few reasons:

  1. Job Opportunities: Let’s face it: programmers are in demand. The tech industry is booming, and there’s no sign of slowing down.
  2. Problem-Solving: Programming can be very satisfying if you enjoy puzzles and logical challenges.
  3. Creativity: IProgramming is not all about numbers and logic; it also allows for much creativity. You can build apps, games, websites, and more.
  4. Money, Money, Money: While it shouldn’t be the only reason, programming jobs tend to pay pretty well.

Getting Started

So, how do you get started? Programming can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Think of it like learning a new language. You’re halfway there if you’ve ever tried to learn Spanish, French, or even Pig Latin.

Picking a Language

There are many programming languages to choose from, each with strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few popular ones:

  • Python: Not just a snake! Python is known for being easy to read and write. It’s a great first language for beginners.
  • JavaScript: Despite its name, it has nothing to do with coffee. JavaScript is the web language, and it’s essential for web development.
  • Java: Java has nothing to do with coffee but is a powerful language used in many enterprise applications.
  • C++: If you’re feeling brave, C++ is a complex but powerful language often used in game development.

Learning Resources

Countless resources are available for learning to program, many of which are free. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Online Courses: Coursera, edX, and Khan Academy offer free and paid courses.
  • Books: Plenty of programming books are out there, like “Python Crash Course” or “Eloquent JavaScript.”
  • YouTube: Believe it or not, YouTube isn’t just for cat videos. There are tons of programming tutorials available.

The Basics of Programming

Let’s get our hands dirty with some actual code. We’ll start with Python because who doesn’t like snakes?

Hello, World!

The classic first program in any language is “Hello, World!” It’s simple, but it marks the beginning of your journey.


print("Hello, World!")

That’s it! You’ve just written your first program. This code tells the computer to display the text “Hello, World!” on the screen.

Variables and Data Types

Variables are used to store data in programming. Think of them as boxes where information can be placed.


name = "Alice"
age = 30
is_programmer = True

In this example, we have three variables: name, age, and is_programmer. Each one holds a different type of data. Simple, right?


Functions are like recipes. They take some ingredients (input), follow instructions, and produce a result (output).


def greet(name):
return f"Hello, {name}!"

This code defines a function called greet That takes a name and returns a greeting. When we call greet("Bob"), it outputs, “Hello, Bob!”

Control Structures

Programming languages have control structures that allow you to make decisions and repeat actions. The two most important ones are if Statements and loops.

If Statements

An if Statement lets you execute code based on a condition.


age = 18
if age >= 18:
print("You are an adult.")
print("You are a minor.")

This code checks if the variable. age Is 18 or older and prints a message accordingly.


Loops let you repeat actions. There are for loops and while Loops.


for i in range(5):

This for Loop prints the numbers 0 through 4.


count = 0
while count < 5:
count += 1

This while Loop does the same thing but in a different way.


Ah, debugging. The process of finding and fixing errors in your code. It’s a bit like being a detective, but you’re figuring out why your code is misbehaving instead of solving crimes instead of solving crimes.

Here are a few tips for debugging:

  1. Read the Error Messages. They might initially look like gibberish, but error messages can give clues about what went wrong.
  2. Print Statements: Adding print Statements to your code can help you understand what’s happening.
  3. Rubber Duck Debugging: Explain your code to a rubber duck. Yes, it sounds silly, but talking through your problem can help you see it in a new light.

Common Pitfalls

Every programmer makes mistakes. Here are a few common ones to watch out for:

  1. Off-By-One Errors: It’s easy to make mistakes with the starting or ending values when using loops.
  2. Syntax Errors: Missing a comma or a parenthesis can break your code.
  3. Infinite Loops: Be careful with while Loops: make sure they have a condition that will eventually be false.

Advanced Topics

Once you have the basics, start exploring more advanced topics. Here are a few to consider:

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

OOP is a programming paradigm that uses “objects” – data structures consisting of fields and methods. It’s a way to structure your code in a more modular way.


class Dog:
def __init__(self, name):
self.name = name
def bark(self):
return f”{self.name} says woof!”my_dog = Dog(“Rex”)

In this example, we create a Dog class with a method bark. We then create an instance of the Dog Class and call its bark Method.

Data Structures and Algorithms

Data structures are ways of organizing data, and algorithms are methods for manipulating data. Learning these can help you write more efficient and effective code.

Web Development

Web development involves creating websites and web applications. You’ll need to learn languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a field of artificial intelligence that allows computers to learn from data. It’s a fascinating and rapidly growing area.


So there you have it – a whirlwind tour of computer programming. We’ve covered the basics, from “Hello, World!” to debugging, and even dipped our toes into more advanced topics. Programming can be challenging, but it’s also gratifying. It’s like a superpower that lets you create and control the digital world. And who wouldn’t want that?

Remember, every expert programmer started as a beginner. So don’t get discouraged if things don’t make sense right away. Keep practising, experiment, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And most importantly, have fun with it! After all, what’s life without some fun and humour?

As they say in the programming world, “Happy coding!” And if all else fails, remember: Have you tried turning it off and on again?


Q: What is computer programming?
A: Computer programming is creating and writing code to instruct computers to perform specific tasks.

Q: Which programming language should I start with?
A: Python is an excellent choice for beginners due to its simplicity and readability. Other options include JavaScript and Java.

Q: How do I write my first program?
A: Start with a simple “Hello, World!” program. In Python, you can write print("Hello, World!") And run it to see the output.

Q: What are variables in programming?
A: Variables are used to store data in a program. They can hold data types like numbers, strings, and boolean values.

Q: What are functions in programming?
A: Functions are reusable blocks of code that perform a specific task. They take inputs, process them, and return outputs.

Q: How do I debug my code?
A: Read error messages carefully, use print statements to check the flow of your program, and try explaining your code out loud to identify issues.

Q: What are loops in programming?
A: Loops are used to repeat a block of code multiple times. Common loops are for loops and while Loops.

Q: What is Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)?
A: OOP is a programming paradigm that uses objects to represent data and methods. It helps in organizing code more efficiently.

Q: What are data structures and algorithms?
A: Data structures are ways of organizing data, while algorithms are methods for processing data. They are essential for efficient coding.

Q: What is web development?
A: Web development involves creating websites and web applications using languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Q: What is machine learning?
A: Machine learning is a field of artificial intelligence that allows computers to learn and make decisions from data.

Q: What are some common programming mistakes?
A: Common mistakes include off-by-one errors, syntax errors, and infinite loops. Careful attention and debugging can help avoid these.

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