Mythbusting – Coding has nothing to do with memorization

When you’re studying to become a doctor, you have to memorize a lot – bones, symptoms, medications, you name it.  When you’re studying law, it’s the same thing, legal precedents, past cases, and what all those latin words mean!

But what happens when you’re a coder?  Despite what many think, you memorize very little.  There’s a bit of a myth out there that learning to code is about learning the words of a language, that as a coder you need remember what all the commands do.

How many kids have told me “I’ve memorized every command in Scratch, so I know the language”.  News flash – you don’t!  I remember I was teaching a high schooler Java, and at the moment I forgot the command to print some text.  Flabbergasted, my student said “You don’t know system.out.println?  I thought you knew how to code!!”.

Ah, kids, right?  The fact is that coding isn’t about knowing the commands – it’s about the ability to think through the logic and recognizing (and re-using) patterns of logic.  It’s about how to put the commands together.  Sure, I didn’t remember the command to print something in Java, but I sure knew how to put the rest of the program together, and I found out what the command was 2 seconds later through my buddy Google.  And thusly, I saved face with that student!  =).

The moral of the story here, the commands themselves are actually unimportant, mostly because they can be found on the internet…  But also because while coding languages have their own syntax of commands, the underlying logic of how the commands interact is the same in any language.  THAT is what makes a good coder – the logic.  Even back in my day before the world of internet I wouldn’t remember my commands, and just use my reference books and sheets (granted, I did remember more commands because hey, it’s not easy using reference books!).

And that’s exactly why at theCoderSchool, we’re language-agnostic and really believe that a language is a tool to learn what’s most important – the logical thinking skills, applicable to any language, and any career.

Myth busted!

Categorized as Coder Blog

By Hansel

Hansel is the Founder & CEO of theCoderSchool and has been at the heart of it ever since its inception in 2013.