The Joy of Coding
People learn to code for many reasons. Some people learn to code for the money, the jobs, and the rockstar lifestyle). Others learn to code because they want to create things, help people, and change the world. But for some code-thusiasts, those things are just the icing on the cake. In fact, many of the world’s most influential coders learned to code simply because it’s fun.
Linus Torvalds, the world-renowned nerd-god who created Linux, Git, and a whole bunch of other useful things, said:
He even wrote a book called “Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary,” in which he admits that he created Linux and started the open-source revolution by accident. He had just been playing around with his computer for fun and ended up building one of the world’s most popular operating systems.
Linus Torvalds finds coding fun and flying in fighter jets “relaxing”
Linus isn’t the only one who thinks coding is fun; in fact, many coders get their start by messing around with their computers just to see what they can do. You can find code-enthusiasts everywhere, if you know where to look. What high school doesn’t have that one nerdy kid who’d rather spend his (or her) time building cool websites (or trying to hack into the Pentagon) than going to parties and laying out on the beach?
What exactly it is that makes coding fun is a highly subjective and personal question, and the experience varies from individual to individual. We asked Victor Moreno, one of the most outspoken code-enthusiasts here at FVI, what exactly it is about computer programming that is so much fun for him.
For Victor, the fun of coding is inexorably linked to challenge and triumph, struggle and personal growth.
Victor Moreno, Director of Front-End Web Development Program at FVI Tech
FVI.edu: Would you say that coding is fun?
Victor Moreno: It has highs and lows. It can make you feel like a puppy who knows nothing or like a demi-god. There is nothing which can rival the thrill of overcoming a problem which was previously beyond your capabilities. It is literally like overcoming yourself, your own limitations.
FVI.edu: What would you say is fun about coding, specifically?
VM: Learning Computer Science is the best way to improve your mind I’ve ever found. Computer Science is the squat and bench press for the brain. For people like me, who enjoy the journey of growth and becoming more awesome every day rather than succumbing to age, what is fun about coding is I can literally feel myself getting smarter month in and month out.
FVI.edu: So… does coding make you laugh and/or smile when you’re doing it? Do you feel happy while you’re coding (not about what you might gain from it in the future, but just enjoying coding in the moment of doing it)?
VM: Yes, much more so than from things like dancing & going to the beach, which I have done a million times and they’re always the same. Every time you reach a new high and solve a new problem it’s like riding the best roller coaster in the world, benching a new personal best or finding a new favorite song. There’s a newness to it every time, and it’s proof that you are better than you were before by a metric that actually means something.
Coding is the same as [strength] training – a journey of personal growth. Anything that makes you laugh is probably not even close to the satisfaction you can get from being better than you were before. The happiness bypasses glee entirely and goes straight to euphoria, like runner’s high.
By the way, I just speed-coded this little music keyboard in the time between I received this email and the time I sent the last one [about 20 minutes]. Speed coding something easy like that is like speed running a game and breaking a new personal record.
So it seems that, at least for people like Victor, the fun of coding is similar to the experience of playing a video game, an instrument, or a physical sport. While you play, you’re intensely focused; sometimes, in fact, it feels quite tense as you struggle through challenges and difficulties… and then there are the moments of triumph, of jubilation, of euphoric, satisfying victory.
For growth-loving coders like Victor, it’s all about pushing yourself to your limits, getting knocked down and getting back up again, improving your skills, pushing yourself to greater and greater heights, rejoicing in your successes, and enjoying the process of growth along the way. For curious tinkerers like Linus Torvalds, the fun in coding may be more closely related to fascination and inquisitiveness: “What can I make this strange little machine do today?” To each his own; different people enjoy different parts of the experience.
What’s fun about coding to you?