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April 20, 2011 / Ben Chun

How did you learn to program?

I just launched a new web site called The goal is to offer some insight for non-programmers (and especially pre-programmers!) into the wide range of people who know how to do this thing. We all got our start and learned our skills from a wide range of sources, for a wide range of reasons.

There are some common threads in these stories, and it’s been fun for me to remember some old technologies from my childhood. Despite how it sometimes seems, most of us were not born typing machine code in binary. But computer science and programming often seem intimidating. Outsiders sometimes experience programmers as people who use crazy jargon, reference a giant set of obscure memes and in-jokes, and generally make it seem like everything we already understand should be obvious to everyone else. We need to stop acting like that.

One way to break down those patterns is to go back, remember that at some point in the past we were all beginners, and share our true stories. I decided to set this up as a single-serving site so that each time you visit, a random story is loaded. There’s also a link to learn more about the person whose story you’re reading. And all of the stories are a single sentence, starting with, “I learned to program…”

The site has been up for a few days now, circulating among friends and small lists, to get an initial set of 67 stories. I hope you’ll visit, read a few, and share your own story. How did you learn to program?


Leave a Comment
  1. Jay / Apr 23 2011 11:45 pm

    links to w3schools, check out to see why you shouldn’t

  2. Ben Chun / Apr 24 2011 12:38 am

    Thanks Jay! I agree with the criticisms and changed to

  3. A. Jorge Garcia / Apr 25 2011 6:16 pm

    Wow, what a cool idea for a website! Great job! I just addded my story.


  1. It all began with a BASIC program… « Neurons Firing
  2. I learned to program… : HearVox

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