Programming now and then


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.


10 CLS


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!


2 thoughts on “Programming now and then

  1. This is an exemplary story of how you came to coding. It demonstrates how learners are influenced by more than just the teachers in their lives, and highlights how a relatively ‘basic’ introduction can lead to an ‘A-Ha’ moment and further exploration. Every teacher (and student) has a story like yours… whether it turns the person on to learning, or turns them off. Each of us has an important role to play!


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