What programming is like

For years, when trying to explain what programming is like to non-IT folks, I’ve used the example of trying to explain to someone how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s a nice thought experiment as you describe all of the ways that their instructions can be misinterpreted.

This guy shows it in practice and it’s great:

That is exactly what programming is like. Right down to the laughter in the beginning as things are messing up in funny ways right on to the “would you just work already!” frustration at the end. Even how happy the girl was in the end to be “done”. “Just ship it, it works!” “But the knife…” “SHIP IT!”

So perfect.


I can relate. My wife has been mildly interested in programming ever since they brushed over scripting in one of her graphic design courses. Today I was showing her a snake game I threw together over the weekend and she was interested in the actual code, asking alot of “how does that do that” questions. So I sat down to start teaching her the basics of oop and Java. Moral of the story, teaching loved ones is hard, and programming more so x.x I’ll definitely be showing her this video in the morning though!


Yeah, I gain a new appreciation for every one of my past mentors whenever I try to teach my kids coding.