Shoulda, coulda, woulda: Computer Programming

I can count my college regrets on one finger. That’s a pretty bold statement, but after thinking about it, one regret is all I could come up with. However, this regret is haunting me to this day, and will continue to until I do something about it!

What is it? Not focusing on computer programming.

At the time, I wanted to stay as far away from programming as possible – granted, it was impossible to avoid entirely due to the class requirements of my major, IST. I had to take Java and C++ (if memory serves me right) as well as a SQL class and a discrete mathematics class (helped with the logic behind programming). SQL isn’t difficult, and I work with it every day now. It’s a necessary skill to have in the software world, but let’s face it, it’s not quite the same as actual programming. In college, I just tried to make it through my programming classes. Looking back on it, I should have tried to accomplish more than I did, especially focusing on doing things myself and not relying on group work or office hours to get me through. I think I could have learned a lot more if I had just pushed myself.

IST offered an option for those with interests in programming, but I chose the integration and application option so that I didn’t have to take any more programming classes. Mistake!  In college, I thought that I would never want to be a programmer and that I’d likely never need programming skills. Yeah, right. But hindsight is always 50/50 and all I can do now is work on diversifying the skills I do have.

I’d like to develop programming skills for a few reasons. First, it will be fun to be on the “creating” end of things instead of on the “testing” end. As much as I enjoy what I do,  possessing programming skills can only make me better at it. It works the other way, too: after years spent on the testing side, I will know certain things to avoid or aspects to include in the software I write. Secondly, it will diversify my skill set. I will not only be able to test software, but also create it, and having both of these skills makes me more valuable than someone who just has one or the other. Thirdly, programming is vital if I am going to be involved in creating test automation, which is something I hope to do very soon.

I think the easiest way for me to stay excited about learning this new skill will be to build an idea I have for a start-up web application. This way I will have something of value I am working towards, rather than just doing empty exercises out of a book. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by smart people who already know how to program – I have plenty of co-workers, friends, and family who are willing to help me learn.  Even though I have some programming experience from college and from my first job, I think I need to start over. Here goes nothing.

public class HelloWorld {
 public static void main (String[] args) {
  System.out.println("Hello, World");



So, what do you think ?