Don’t Let Jerks Like This One Get In Your Way

28 Mar

So I woke up this morning to the following comment on my iPhone Is Too Difficult for Beginners post:

The sad thing is that a lot of hackers that I’ve me in person and on the web are this guy. This type of attitude, that you need a “programmers brain” and that you’re dumb if you don’t understand something, is exactly why more people don’t get into programming in the first place. I have to admit, I didn’t get into programming at first because I didn’t want to deal with guys like this one on a daily basis. I did want to be able to build my own website for fun, so I was able to get over that hurdle and even found supportive hackers who were nice enough to help me out.

Everyone learns differently, so the fact that I couldn’t learn how to build iPhone apps from the Stanford iOS course says more about the instructor of that course (who has great credentials but just isn’t a good teacher) than me. In fact, I get most of my traffic to this site from people looking for help on the homework assignments for the iPhone class than anything else, even though I only wrote one post with the answers to the iPhone course.

I didn’t like how the iPhone course was taught, so I decided to learn Ruby. I’m glad I did, because a project my friend and I were working at the time required Ruby and I was able to help out with some of the coding. Another thing I learned from additional talking to friends and reading around is that knowing web programming is actually more valuable in the long term than knowing how to program apps – iPhone or Android.

New updates to languages like HTML5 and CSS3 make it much easier to develop mobile-friendly websites. And building apps for iPhone, iPad, different types of Androids, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and other future devices we don’t even know about is a luxury that few startups can afford. Instead, they can build a really well functioning product in HTML5 that works across multiple products. Of course, knowing iPhone is a great money-making consulting gig in the short-term – companies are willing to shell out big bucks to get an app and HTML5 isn’t that great just yet. But in the next few years, knowing how to build an app won’t be as big of a deal unless you’re building the next Angry Birds or some other complicated game.

Also, considering that most people spend their day in front of a computer screen, while mobile is hot, it is by far not the main device consumers are using.

Anyway, I think I’ve gotten off point. The point is that don’t let guys like Felix ever stand in your way. He’s a jerk, and there are many like him, so you just have to stand above him and prove him wrong.


10 Responses to “Don’t Let Jerks Like This One Get In Your Way”

  1. veebitlabs March 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Natasha – Not only is Felix a jerk but he has completely missed the value you have brought to many others by initiating this blog and the community that developed around your learning to code. I don’t know enough about the field to comment on the validity of his or your statements regarding the actual skills necessary (though his smack of self-serving ignorance), but I do know that folks who have time to actually write a disparaging note to a complete stranger is lacking in more than programming skills 😉 Thanks for all your efforts, transparency and good will. Rock on girl.

  2. krisk March 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Lol. I think felix is somewhat attracted to you and wants to get your attention through any way possible. You might want to make it clear in your blog that you got a boy friend who is worth millions of dollars. By the way, when are you guys getting married??

    • Natasha Murashev March 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      Haha, glad we’re back in 1st grade 🙂

      • Krisk March 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

        LOL ! Glad you found that funny Natasha ! You are a cutie by the way ! Hope Nick doesnt see this and goes after me !!

  3. jasmine March 30, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    Great post Natasha! Your feeling is shared by CS educators– it is precisely this kind of arrogance that has prevented more people from trying to learn, and that’s really a shame for those who feel that CS has a lot to offer whether or not you become a software engineer.

    This entry (not my blog!) echoes much of your sentiment:

  4. verticalfix April 10, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    I wanted to thank you for your blog and your contribution to self-directed online CS education. I am a beginning programmer and I’m working my way through Stanford’s CS106A course and Codeacademy’s javaScript course, both of which are great. I’ve had veteran developers try to teach me and although they had coding skills, they did not have teaching skills. They like to blame the student for not knowing how to learn rather than accepting responsibility for not knowing how to teach. I plan to continue learning online and I, for one, truly appreciate your advice for beginning programmers. This post is especially encouraging because we will all get stuck on a problem eventually and beginners need this encouragement more than others. Perhaps Felix feels threatened that newbies will advance and eventually compete for his work/job and if he can discourage the competition he can slack off and not learn new skills. You, on the other hand will benefit the dev community at large by encouraging beginners to advance and therefore encouraging veterans to innovate. You seem to be quickly becoming a leader in the online CS education community. Keep up the good work!

    • Natasha Murashev April 10, 2012 at 9:19 am #

      Wow, thanks for the really kind words. When I first started learning to program, I went to a day course taught by developers and walked out knowing nothing and not excited to program at all. It is only once I tried the CS106A course that I was able to actually learn. The CS106A professor is an INCREDIBLE teacher and I wouldn’t be here without him. Teaching ability should definitely NOT be underestimated, but it totally is. Wait till you get to the lecture at the end where the TA teaches – you will really notice the difference then!

  5. Dev Bootcamp (@devbootcamp) April 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    “you will never be able to program Ruby in a way that will make people hire you”


    I have to say, part of me loves comments like these. Whenever I get complacent, I just re-read them. My blood boils, and I double down on my efforts.

    Looking forward to spending the summer with you making Felix eat his ignorant words.

  6. Marcus May 30, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Funnily enough Natasha, it was getting my ear ripped off by an arrogant techie that spurred me on to learn and know something. After being humiliated, I set out to manage my own server….

    But in general, I don’t really like the silicon ceiling…I agree with you!
    I try and help people, even with my pathetic amount of knowledge.

    Someone thanked me last month for my simplistic little video on setting up a keypair on a Mac…and that made me feel good…

    Also, given that, according to Dr Mehrani, communication is at the heart of coding….is Felix’s arrogant attitude really compatible with a coder mindset?

    • Natasha Murashev May 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Marcus, glad to hear you’re helpful to beginners 🙂 For me, I’m proud to say that I’m successfully finishing up my very first rails app!

      Much more to come from me.

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