Why Programming?

Oftentimes, in interviews, I’m asked why I chose to be a computer programmer. It’s an important question, so I decided to answer it here!

In 6th grade (2003), on career day, a robotics engineer presented a Lego robot to give us a glimpse into what he did. The robot captivated me; I had to make one. After research, I found a competition called First Lego League. In this competition, you’d create and program a Lego robot that would navigate an obstacle course. I’d always been a fan of computers and Legos so F.L.L. was perfect for me. That summer I went to workshops and learned all I could so I could enter a team the following year.

In 7th grade (2004), I started a team. I learned my first programming language: RoboLab. We won the rookie team award and I was very proud to take the Lego trophy home.

Robolab user interface Robolab user interface

In 8th grade (2005), I switched to using Mindstorms NXT (another visual programming language). My team won the robotic design award!

After First Lego League, I continued to program. In 11th grade (2008), I was exposed to a form of BASIC, called PBASIC. I programmed a robot to autonomously parallel park.

Lastly, in 12th grade, I learned Java. For a research class, I created a program to register how long it would take somebody to recognize a word versus an image. I tested to see if there was a relationship between hand dominance and image or word recognition time.

All this exposure to programming helped me to realize that computer science was what I should study. The ability to synthesize my creativity and technical skills, while solving a problem, are what I love about the field!