I recently bought two board games to play with Abhishek — Monopoly and Mastermind. Coincidentally, both were games I had programmed into a computer in 1983 in BASIC. That was how I learnt programming. I would go to my father’s office where he had just bought a computer. (I was then in junior college – std XI).
For me, it was that stint of BASIC Programming (which I learnt from a book, and then through trial-and-error) that instilled in me a love for computers. I have never formally learnt programming but did enough of it later in my life. During those college days, I would take up board games and create software to play them on the computer. (Besides Monopoly and Mastermind, I also did for Othello and 1-day Cricket.) The joy of seeing one’s creation at work is what then helped shift my thinking from becoming a civil engineer (like my father) to doing something in computers.
That got me thinking — if someone wanted to learn programming, what is that they can do now? Something fun, something they can do on their own and create new things. What are the options for a 16- or 17-year-old who wants to discover the joys of writing software — without going to a formal training program?