Friday, August 06, 2010

Update: Eli as Programmer

Almost three weeks ago, my son Eli started working for me as an APEX programmer - with absolutely no background in software. He'd focused mainly on being a musician for the last five+ years (guitar, songwriting, etc.). So: minimal mathematics education; no knowledge of SQL or PL/SQL; no experience with HTML, Javascript....what were we getting ourselves into?

I am very pleased to report that Eli has made rapid progress. He is now building basic APEX applications, writing queries and other SQL statements, making changes to the PL/SQL Challenge application (very simple changes for now!), learning HTML.

He whips through APEX design pages so quickly, I start to get dizzy trying to follow him. It looks like this is going to work out very, very well.

Eli told me that while he hadn't written software, he had lots of experience with creating and manipulating music in his head. We agreed that this would likely help with programming and I would say that this is now well established. While Eli had not experience with SQL syntax, his brain seems to be very nicely trained to work with a large number and highly complex abstractions. So the switch from music to logic/code seems to be a smooth one.

In addition, while Eli is not video game fanatic, he has certainly spent time on various game consoles from a relatively early age. I think back to a 10 year old Eli playing a game that involved choosing and arming characters for a quest, solving puzzles on the screen, quickly paging through menus and options....and then I look at him "playing with" the APEX interface.

I realize that for a person who has trained his or her brain to work with a rich UI found in video games, in which most of your activity is point-and-click rather than typing, an environment like APEX is "child's play" - a relatively crude and simplified interface.

So I now declare myself happy that Eli played video games, to prepare himself for the "real world."

Eli, it has been a real pleasure to work with you and I look forward to lots more of it in the future!

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