Myth 8 - Learning computer programming involves learning how to use a programming language to write programs.

Myth Eight - Learning computer programming involves learning how to use a programming language to write programs.

 Question Learning computer programming involves learning how to communicate and express ideas in a logical and precise manner, and NOT just how to write programs in a particular computer programming language.

  • The focus of most computer programming courses is the introduction of general techniques for instructing a computer to perform a task logically and efficiently instead of learning to express “solutions” and “steps” in a particular programming language syntactically. This is similar to learning communication techniques for expressing our ideas clearly to other people.
  • One may think of a computer as the most “foolish person in the world”, in the sense that it has no intelligence and will only follow the instructions defined in software strictly. A programmer must have good communication skills to write a computer program that can be understood by a computer.
  • A programming language is just a tool used by us to express our ideas. We have different programming languages for software development such as Java and C++. This is analogous to using Chinese and English for communication with others. After we finish a good program in a particular language, it should not be very difficult to convert it into another computer programming language. This is similar to translating a Chinese book into an English one.