Whenever you meet someone new, one of the first questions that comes up is “What do you do?”
For me, the answer is programming. For some, that brings to mind the classical TV/movie trope of Mountain Dew, thick glasses, a pocket protector and walls of unorganized computers and blinking lights. For others, I instantly get slotted as someone who knows how to program VCRs and can fix their computer.
My hope for this series is to dispel some of the stereotypes surrounding programming, confirm others, and give you a chance to learn some programming skills of your own, if you’re so inclined.
Programming 101: PB & J
If you’ve ever been to a summer camp, or leadership training or anything that required team building, you may have done the PB&J exercise.
Everyone sits in a room facing a table, which has a jar of Peanut Butter, a jar of Jelly, a loaf of bread and a knife. Usually the team leader sits at the table, and calls out the most confident person in the room. That person sits in the front of class, with their back to the table, and has to give instructions to the person at the table, and get them to make a PB&J.
The twist is, the person at the table pretends be an alien and has no idea what a PB & J is (let alone a sandwich), is mute and can’t give feedback, only follows the instructions of the person who has their back to the table, and follows them to the letter. The person assembling the sandwich doesn’t know how to open the jars. Doesn’t know how to use the knife. Doesn’t know how to untie the twisty-tie holding the loaf of bread together, has no idea what “spread” means, etc.
If you’ve never seen this, it’s hilarious, and usually ends with the assembly person covered in PB & J, a mess all over the table, and a hungry audience.