ArticlesOpinionPoint - Counter Point

I Need Coding Help vs What, Like It’s Hard?

Written by: Annelise Mccullough

By Con F. Usedd
Dead by Snakes

A person’s ability to learn a new language declines after age 12, so why am I, in my early 20s, expected to learn and become fluent in Python in the span of 10 overwhelming weeks? The course title reads “Intro to Python,” and everyone tells me, “We do not expect you to become an expert,” but the labs and homework demand a skill level attainable only by master programmers. I’m a metaphysics major! I will never use coding in my future career, so why is it a major requirement?! I expected the class to be easy, with the professor taking pity on the sea of terrified faces in the lecture hall and planning lessons accordingly. Instead, we are subjected to fast-paced, unintelligible Python jargon like “slicing” and “list comprehension.” Doing the homework is like trying to take shots in the dark while locked in a sensory deprivation chamber with my hands tied behind my back for good measure. We were never taught how to write the code to answer the problems!

I can’t keep spending hours trying to figure out how to do some inane task like printing numbers 1–25 in a spiral pattern. Computer programming is some archaic form of dark magic — I don’t have the first clue how to decipher it. I’ve had to go to some truly terrible lengths to get help in this class because there is no OASIS help center, no Instructional Assistant, and all my TA does is tell me to read the Python docs — as if I have a month to spare! The internet is useless; I’ve begged for help on Stack Overflow, waded through YouTube, and even dipped my foot into Reddit, so you know I’m truly at my wit’s end. So here I am, down on my knees, pleading for someone to have mercy on me.

By Jav Ascripte
The Computer Whisperer

Uh-oh! Sounds like someone was expecting to have their hand held through the entire course. I mean, did you think you could just print(‘Hello World’) and be done? That’s not even scratching the surface of the soul-stirring depths Python can lead you to. You clearly don’t under­stand the inner machinations of the machine, the sweet susurrus in which these lan­­­­­­­­g­uages serenade you. I pity that you don’t recognize the simple elegance of ones and zeroes that can do anything — so long as you write them in the correct order, of course. Coding is the language of higher beings, unburdened by the rudimentary syntax of human language. A computer program will look through to your core, divine whether you are pure of heart and hold noble intentions, and respond accordingly. App­roaching a coding program with apprehension will only set you up for failure. Abandon your fear of the machine. You must be willing to commune with your computer program. Open your heart, broaden your narrow mind, and really listen.

But don’t be so hard on yourself — to understand Enlightenment such as this is asking a lot from a mere mortal as yourself. I long to free myself from the confines of my fleshy shell for the perfection that is lines of code. I yearn to understand code in a more intimate, carnal way than I am currently capable of. In the new world heralded by computers, strings of code will be more perfect and essential than genetic code. I hope you will someday join us in that world, my friend.

But where was I? Oh yes. Coding advice. If you aren’t able to tune in to that angelic electric chorus that your computer program sings, have you tried using ChatGPT?

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