Lots of people get into programming because they love the challenge, are excited by computers and want to build a career creating web sites, mobile apps or desktop programs. But even if you don’t want to become a programmer for a living, it’s still worth your time to learn how to program. I mean this in all seriousness: if computers are at all a part of your life, then learning to program is going to improve your life.
And I don’t mean in that sort of nebulous, “improve your mind,” “expand your thinking skills” and “make you a better person” sort-of-way. Learning to program can make you more productive, efficient and effective.
Here’s a real-world example: one of my colleagues at Treehouse is a video professional who films and edits courses for our site. In the process of preparing a course, Wade needs to deal with many different files — video, audio, motion graphics, and more. Because he’s very organized, he creates a set of folders to organize these materials by type, lesson and course. This requires dozens of new folders for each project.
He used to create each of those folders manually for each project. Then he took our Python Basics course, and with a little additional research created a simple script that creates all of the folders for him. This program asks where to create the folders, the name of the course and the number of lessons in the course. It then creates dozens of folders, all properly named for a specific project. What used to be a tedious chore, is now a simple three step process that takes just seconds to complete. He’s not a programming professional, but he’s using programming to make his work easier.
Here’s another example — one particularly annoying form that I have to fill out dozens of times a month requires that I click several buttons, one after the other, in order to complete a task. Another teacher here at Treehouse, created a bookmarklet that clicks all of the buttons with one command — saving me a lot of mousing around and clicking. An easy program to write, but a big productivity boost for me.
I have dozens of these types of programs that I’ve written. Some take less than an hour to write, but will probably end up saving me dozens of hours of frustration. I even wrote a program to solve one of our video production problems: teachers often use teleprompters which display text on a mirrored surface in front of a camera.They help teachers remember their scripts and deliver their presentations without errors.
But more than just solving daily work problems, programming is fun. It’s problem solving at its best. And, though creating something like Facebook might require a lot of programming experience, these simple programs I’ve talked about here don’t. In fact, it’s really fun to come up with a program — no matter how simple — to solve an every day problem.
What small programs or coding projects have you created to make your life easier? We’d love to hear about them. Maybe we need to use it here at Treehouse