Chapter I.1. Getting Started Programming a Computer

Believe it or not, if you can write a recipe on an index card, you can program a computer. At the simplest level, computer programming is nothing more than writing instructions for a computer to follow, step by step. The most important part of programming isn't in knowing how to write a program or how to use a particular programming language, but in knowing what to create in the first place.

Some of the most popular and useful computer programs were created by people who didn't have any formal training in math or computer science. Dan Bricklin invented the spreadsheet while studying for his MBA at Harvard Business School. Scott Cook, who worked in marketing and product development at Proctor & Gamble, created the popular money-management program Quicken after hearing his wife complain about the tedium of paying bills. Nineteen-year old Shawn Fanning created Napster, the first peer-to-peer file-sharing network, after hearing a friend complain about the difficulty of finding his favorite songs on the Internet.

The point is that anyone can figure out how to program a computer. What's more important than knowing how to program a computer is knowing what to do with your programming skills. As Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." After you have an idea for a program, you can use programming to turn your idea into reality.

How Computer Programming Works

Computer programming is nothing more than problem solving. ...

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