How I learned My first programming language, QBasic.

Published Feb 14, 2018
How I learned My first programming language, QBasic.

About me

I'm Victor Idongesit, a software developer at Andela, Lagos. I build mobile and full-stack web applications. I code in C, Java, JavaScript, Swift, and recently, Objective-C. I also contribute to open source projects on GitHub.

Why I wanted to learn QBasic.

As a teenager, I was curious about how stuff worked. Computers fascinated me. My childhood gave me little exposure to them, as my parents couldn't afford one.

When I got to my teens, I started making decisions for myself. Learning to code was one. I was sure that if I could learn to code, I could learn to do anything. The choice of QBasic was basically due to the available learning resource at the time (a programming textbook I saw with a friend).

How I approached learning My first programming language.

To run my codes, I needed a computer. My physics teacher showed up to class one day with a computer, where he read his notes. I decided this was an opportunity, so I followed him home.

We talked about math and physics on the way. Somewhere down, I diverted the conversation into writing programs to automate the problem solving processes in math and physics. It piqued his interest.

He let me try my programs on his computer. I would spend a lot of time in his single room apartment somewhere in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

The learning process was not a refined one. I read the textbook, tried the codes, debugged, and tried new things not stated in the textbook.

Challenges I faced

The first roadblock I had to cross was finding a computer. I had been attending a computer school at the time, but they didn't teach programming.

I couldn't even get the administrator there to let me install a compiler on one of the computers. I figure he was scared. So I simply learned to type fast. Typing was in the curriculum, and I was gonna make the best of that course.

When I did get access to a computer, I ran into issues with trying my code in real time, as I could only use the computer in the evenings when my teacher got back home. I had to write and debug codes on paper.

Key takeaways

Learning my first language taught me the value of determination, friendship, and a "bring it on" mindset.

Tips and advice

It's been about 10 years now, and I've learned many more languages and built a lot of projects. But those first steps, that first programming book, that first computer code I wrote, that first computer I wrote the code on — those are the most definitive parameters on my journey into programming. So, I'll leave you with this famous quote, "One Day or Day One: you decide."

I chose "Day one."

Final thoughts and next steps

I've come to realize the the human brain has infinite capacity. You can learn anything if you want it badly enough. It's February 2018. I learned React Native in January. By the end of this month, I'll be building apps with Objective-C also.

Do you want to learn something new too? Well, what's it gonna be? One Day, or Day One?

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