Educate Yourself at the Nerd Lounge

It seems like the Holy Grail of all nerd-dom is the ability to program. Basically if you have the programming skills for it, you could construct, program, and implement the Matrix, right? That’s how it seems sometimes. And in some ways that’s the ultimate nerd skill, and it’s a highly sought-after skill in the real world too. It’s the best of both worlds (one of the best Star Trek: TNG episodes ever, by the way). For the non-tech-savvy nerd, programming seems the ideal and only legitimate way to enter the world of the tech-savvy nerd. For some of us, it’s probably better to brush up on basic terminology and concepts before going on to programming. Nevertheless it’s a good goal to have, and the internet is full of free resources.

The question most non-tech-savvy nerds ask is where to start or rather what language to learn first. And I’ll talk a bit about how to teach yourself programming, but it’s important to understand that every programming language has features that are common to all programming languages. It’s more important to understand the principles and concepts behind the languages than it is to understand the languages themselves since with the former you can learn any language, and the latter only gives you the one. That said, I recommend a high-level language like Python be your first, and then you can move on to more specialized languages like C++, especially if you hope to go into the video game industry.

Touch Screen Tablets

The Internet & the Web

There’s an amazing episode of The IT Crowd that deals with the protagonists convincing their colleague that she’s literally holding the Internet when of course what she’s really doing is holding a piece of junk they found around the office. We all know that webs are something spiders make, but we know they’re the same thing, right? Nope. The Internet is the network connecting all the computers, and the web are all the hypertext documents accessed thereby.

Computer cords and Hardware

What’s a Computer?

Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” the computer is magic. About 90% of the population (and that’s a conservative estimate) has no idea how computers work. Even some of the people who “know” how computers work only have a vague understanding of them, as in a vaguely Matrix-esque jumble of “binary code” and not the logic gates and voltage levels that computers really rely on.

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