If learning to program is even a minor goal for you, Code Year (via Brent Simmons) might be just the encouragement you need. They promise to email you on a weekly basis with coding lessons to help you achieve your goal.
I’m one of those computer programmers who downplays the difficulty of the profession, because “if I can do it, anybody can do it!” On the other hand, I have faced challenges that made me question whether I’m vaguely qualified for the job. What it boils down to is that programming is both incredibly simple and impossibly hard, like so many important things in life.
There was a time when nobody knew how to write literary prose. The geniuses who invented it shared their special tool with a few friends, and they relished in their private, elite communications. Eventually monks, politicians, and academics joined the club. Now, we judge a society’s overall level of intellectual advancement by the literacy rate: the percentage of people who have learned to read and write.
Literacy isn’t about becoming a Hemingway or a Chabon. It’s about learning the basic tools to get a job done. I think programming — coding — is much the same. You don’t have to be the world’s best programmer to develop a means of expressing yourself, of solving a problem, of making something happen. If you’re lucky, you’ll be a genius, but you start out with the basics.
Long ago, it would have been ridiculous to assume a whole society could be judged by its ability to read and write prose. It feels ridiculous now, to assume that we might use computer programming as a similar benchmark. Yet it may happen.
Did you always mean to learn another language, but never did? By all means, learn Spanish, French, or Chinese. But learn to code, too.