01000001. These 8 characters may mean nothing to you, but for coders such as senior Will Burstein, this is simply the binary number for the letter a.
For those who do not know, computers and other electronic devices operate through the use of various programming languages. There are sets of rules and syntax that are required to communicate each and every message. “Coding” refers to the use of these languages in order to communicate such messages, build applications, or run some type of action.
Doing this has become second nature for Will, which came as a surprise to him. “I actually never really envisioned myself programming or doing that type of stuff,” he said. However, Will said that when he was 10, he had an extreme interest with Minecraft, but unfortunately, he did not own a legitimate version of the game. “In order to play the game and obtain custom features, I started learning how to develop them myself and learned Java. From there, it kind of just snowballed and my curiosity drove me on a journey of learning,” he said.
For the past seven years, Will has been teaching himself all there is to know about coding. “Unfortunately, I never had access to any code related classes or programs, so I basically started out by messing around with pre-made projects and seeing what each thing does,” he said. While Will admits that KO provides some introductory coding classes he could have taken, he said he felt that a classroom is not an efficient nor practical way to code. “I think most of coding should be learned through experimentation, perhaps with periodic references to teachers for help,” he said. “I feel the hard part is learning modern practices and infrastructure, and for programming, classes just aren’t the best way to learn. Only for conceptual features such as data structures and algorithms does school makes sense.”
Therefore, since he is interested in these aspects, Will said he is planning to turn his beloved habit into a career and pursue programming, as well as design and marketing, in college. “I’ll also probably continue freelancing and making anything that I feel would make my life more efficient,” he said.
One benefit of knowing how to code is being able to turn technical “chores” into easy, one-step solutions. “If I have a giant list of terms and definitions that a teacher put on a document, I can just make a script to format them into Quizlet in one step,” he said.
Ultimately, Will said he enjoys programming because of its limitless opportunities. “Unlike building something with wood and tools, there are no material contingencies. I guess I just find it cool being able to freely put down my ideas into reality,” he said. “Additionally, coding is kind of like math where things can often be a pain, but once I get the result I want, I get a fulfilling positive affirmation.”