Computers, they have become as readily available as a

Computers, desktops, laptops and tablets
are a commonplace today; they have become as readily available as a bottle of
water at a convenience store. But how did it get to this point? What did the
older generation of computers look like? How did technology evolve over the
years so that common people like you and me can access computers? My childhood
started with toys and a desktop. Tetris was as fun as Hot Wheels. That all
changed when I graduated from Tetris to the more intense House of the Dead. Then
on, I spent most of my downtime stuck to the chair in front of my desktop, and
slowly began to realise how this one device can do so much, and that too so
quickly.

 

After graduating from high school, I took a
gap year before I began the foundation programme at Queen Mary. I worked at my father’s
office to gain work experience, and also did voluntary teaching for two months
at an orphanage for underprivileged children. However, the rest of the time I felt
a void of lacking something exciting. When I was young I would sit with my
grandmother and her sisters, and watch them play card games like blackjack. This
memory came to me one Saturday afternoon when I was watching television. I
decided to create my own computer blackjack game. Of course, I had no
experience with programming at the time, so I installed Python 3 on my laptop
and began tinkering with it. I had to figure out how to create a game entirely
on my own. I Googled “learn python online” and found the source that kick-started
my calling to programming: codecademy.com. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed by
the need to learn syntax or the concept of debugging, or ‘parsing’, just to
make the blackjack game. But I decided to not give up because I knew I could do
it eventually.

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After learning about functions, random
number generators, and after much trial and error, I finally made my very own
blackjack game. I couldn’t be happier. With the completion of my own blackjack
game and a huge boost in my confidence — I began to post answers to math and
science-related questions that inquirers would ask in educational websites like
quora.com and socratic.org.

 

I realise that learning programming
languages is just like learning any other ‘application’ language, like
mathematics. They are not used to communicate per se, but more to solve
problems. This aspect of problem-solving of computer programming is fascinating
to me, and I would love to learn more, which is why I’ve decided to pursue a
Computer Science major.

 

At the completion of my undergraduate
degree, I plan to go back to my country to inspire the youth to learn to program
by demonstrating all the crazy, fun things it can do. I am hoping to create a
virtual learning environment for posterity because I think that is where the
future is converging.