My father and my uncle were programmers and they had a positive influence on me when I had to decide which high school to attend. In Macedonia there are no academic and applied courses in every school. Instead, there are ‘Academic Schools’ and ‘Applied Schools’. Furthermore, there are ‘Math’, ‘Language’, ‘Science’,…schools.
I decided to attend Rade Jovcevski Korcagin – ‘Academic Math and Computer Science’ secondary school in Skopje, Macedonia. My favourite course was Computer Science (obviously). In Gr.9 we started learning GW BASIC (a dialect of the BASIC programming language). BASIC stands for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
It took almost a month to write my first program, because we spent about 4 weeks learning to “think like programmers” by learning some basic algorithms and writing flowcharts.
My first line of code was PRINT “HELLO WORLD!” and even today when students learn to program they write the same line of code. (e.g. print(“Hello World!”) in Python)
Here is what a program in GW Basic looks like:
GOTO statement is probably the one thing that every BASIC programmer will remember forever.
20 PRINT “MARJAN”
30 GOTO 20
Nowadays, students can learn to program even in elementary schools through visual drag-and-drop programming. Even though later they will understand that they will have to learn to actually write real code instead of just dragging-and-dropping, programs such as Scratch or AppInventor are excellent introductory languages.
When I started programming it would take weeks or months to write a simple game with bad graphics. Twenty-five years later, a ten-year old kid can create a ‘pong game’ in less than an hour. Talking about progress!