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What's even funnier is everyone in the comments "casually" mentioning that when they were 14 they were doing X or Y or Z. Even in congratulating a kid, people here must brag and not feel left out.

No matter how smart, humans stay humans. It's cute.




I did what you mentioned (saying what I was doing when I was 14), and I can assure you I wasn't bragging(!) in the slightest bit (it didn't even occur to me) and I'm certain others are on the same boat. Most are reminiscing... How times have changed, our old, beloved tools, etc.

You're just being a little bit pessimistic, I think! ;-)

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It's hard not to feel a bit bitter when I read things like this. I had a one day introduction to programming in 6th grade (was 10 or 11), and I absolutely loved it. I was ridiculously driven to learn programming for a span of time, starting with basic (which was what we had used). I bought one of those terrible "Learn X in 30 Days!" books, dragged my dad off to get a copy of VB (based on what little research I did/understood), and got to work.

The whole thing was crap. The book was slow, boring, and made little sense. The IDE was completely unfamiliar and strange; I couldn't grasp how things connected together. I showed my uncle the book and proudly told him I was going to learn to program, and what he thought of it (he's a lifelong programmer); he said it was probably better as a reference and left it at that.

I lost interest soon, as I couldn't figure out much of anything useful from the book. I came back to it a few months later, and a few months after that to try again, each time making less progress and losing interest faster.

Some years later, in my last year of high school, I took an intro programming course at the local community college and rediscovered my love of it. I did well, often helping other students, only to have my interest utterly burned out of me when I took the "culling" compsci course at my university a few years later. I busted my ass and failed miserably, and ended up thinking that I just wasn't cut out to be a programmer.

It's been a few years since then, and I'm slowly starting to get back on the horse and learn on my own; reading HN has been a great help with this, as I doubt I would have found quality resources like Eloquent Javascript otherwise. But I feel like there were multiple opportunities in my life to learn and enjoy programming from a young age, and seeing other people have the same thing but succeed is a painful reminder of my own lost chances and failures.

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Like you, I hit wrong turns learning programming as a kid. Perhaps I got a bit farther than you, but I spent years writing in crippled languages like QuickBasic and Visual Basic, and bought poorly written, unhelpful programming books I couldn't get through. Everything I tried to write until my late teens was unfinished or a stupid toy.

What I lacked in my younger years, and it sounds like you did too, was resourcefulness. We weren't like this: http://www.paulgraham.com/relres.html The proper response to getting stuck with a dead-end IDE or book would've been to try like hell to find a different approach that works.

It would've been nice to have relentless resourcefulness as a teenager, but there's no changing the past. I'm trying to teach myself that quality now, and I'd suggest you practice it as well. In the end what you did when you were 15 just gets you some bragging rights, at best. You have the rest of your life to accomplish things that actually matter. And that's a much more important thing to know than JavaScript.

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Congratulations: you now have exactly what it takes to write a book teaching kids how to program that does not suck. :)

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Yup. I got a "C++ In 30 Days" book when I was 12 or so. Don't think I got much further than Hello World. Didn't try programming again until halfway through college. I wonder what would have happened if I got a Python book instead.

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Yes if you call "not doing anything worthwhile and just playing around the whole day" as bragging, then I'll brag a bit too :)

But..agree with your observation. Humans stay humans..!

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