Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yet another blog is born

I had been thinking of starting this blog for quite some time, given that I have been using a computer since 1999 and that I have been programming since I was in college in 2001. But what is on my mind today is the GNOME Outreach Programme for Women for which my wife just got selected today. It is a splendid effort by software companies working in open source to get more girls into the world of programming, and also into open source in general.
Why am I interested in promoting girls into programming? Well then, let me try to answer. I grew up as a strange and nerdy kid who was never ever good at sports. I was so bad that I stopped trying to play since the age of 14 I guess. You can imagine how a boy who isn't interested in sports is treated. But if you are not from India I don't think you'll understand how tabooed a thing it is to be uninterested in sports in this cricket-crazy nation.
Since I was almost always indoors, my first computer which arrived in 1999 became a fast friend partly replacing my books. I tried to do all I could on a Windows 95 machine with no internet. Few years later I learnt my first language -- HTML -- in the months before my Higher Secondary examinations. I know, I know -- it is not a programming language. But for a complete newbie, that was the first time I was writing some thing in some format which was creating interesting things in my browser. Shortly after that I learnt Javascript, which was way more amazing. A few months later I joined an engineering college and I gradually started with C/C++. I was a notoriously bad student in college, but I enjoyed programming and did all sorts of interesting (though not advanced) things including even writing a cross-platform product for a professor. Most of my college batchmates or seniors or juniors never ever thought of doing such things.

Wait wait wait -- I am only narrating my bio here. What's that got to do with women in technology? Well, I just told a real life story of a person who was not good at what his peers were doing transform into a person who was ahead of his peers in a different field.
This is what programming can do to girls --
it can make you feel good,
it gives you the joy of creation,
it can make others think better of you,
and it is financially rewarding in today's age.
And you just need two hands for typing -- the rest you already have. What are you waiting for?

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