Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Remembering How I Started with Programming

As I've said on this blog before, sometimes I can't help but feel dumb at times as I see so much brilliant code being written out there.

But at the same time, I have to remember that it takes years to master certain skills and knowledge.  I like to think people have looked at my code and think it's pretty nifty too :-)

Just the other day I was writing a simple python script for some personal use at home.  I wanted it to do a few different things in it and at some point it occurred to me that I've never parsed command line options in a Python script before.  I guess up to this point I'd only written Python scripts to do one simple thing or modified much larger bodies of code that others had started (i.e. I probably cut & pasted prior argument parsing code to add the option(s) I wanted).

I went online and started reading through the Python argparse documentation.

I suddenly paused and realized something.

About 17 years ago I was in my first internship in college.  I was writing tools/commands in C to execute test code.  I still remember reading the getopt manpage at one point because I had never actually done argument parsing in C before.  The first time you see a string like "hVa:b:", it can be quite confusing.

About 14 years ago, in my first month of my first fulltime job after college, I was working on Genders.  I remember reading about getopt_long because I had never dealt with long options in C before.

So I actually sat back and paused, realizing that I've learned a lot over the last 16 or so years.  And sometimes when you feel dumb that you aren't an expert in one particular subject, you have to remember that the things you are more of an expert in, you had to read that documentation for the very first time at some point too.

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