Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Hello Nerd World!

I’ve always been interested in tech, but intimidated by math, and satisfied enough with my niche as an art/literature nerd to ever pursue computer science. But this past year my curiosity finally got the better of me, and I ended up hassling my eternally patient nerd friends to explain the big deal about coding. I had varying degrees of success.

“I know people code but like… what do they code?” I would ask, trying to be casual as I peered at my friends’ doomsday-looking matlab plots. “What even is code?”

“Programs,” my friends would say.

“What’s even a program though? Like what do programs do?”

“You can do anything with programs!” the nerds would enthuse. “Anything!”

“What do you mean anything?”

“You can manipulate all kinds of things!”

“Like what?”

“Like data sets! Any data set you can think of!”

What the heck is a data set, I thought.

“What can’t you do with programming Natalie?” offered one friend. “You can hack into the main frame! You can hack money into your bank account! You can hack OkCupid to get dates!”

That last one really cracked them up.

“No, but really, it’s a good skill to have.”

A good skill to have. That phrase came up more than once — even if the specifics of said skill stayed a little fuzzy. It wasn’t until my last semester in college that I had this sort of nerd-out-now-or-never moment and took the comp sci 150 plunge.

Little puzzle-y coding problems have allowed me to think in a different way than I’m used to with reading and writing. Programming feels very cause-and-effect, like this means this and not that, with solid reasons and rules behind each symbol. I like that about writing programs — that there can be multiple ways to look for a solution but the symbols and numbers seem to stay pretty dependable.

I’m hoping to include a few examples and write a bit more clearly/specifically about all this soon re: adventures in Python and Java and going from creative writing undergrad to coding immersion, but I thought it would be better to write a short post now instead of drafting up a long post for later. (Do people use git for non-code writing? I feel like that would be smart.)

Stay safe friends!