The Importance of Documentation


You need to know yourself. Always. Especially, know what you don’t know.  When getting into the journey of coding, it can feel so cumbersome.  Luckily, anything that may seem confusing can be easily searched for and code libraries are easily found.

There is a phrase, “standing on the shoulders of giants.”  This means that everything you can do on the journey of coding has been built on the work of others.  It’s comforting to know that I can find definitions of modules fairly easily.

For the Udemy Course, Programming Foundations with Python, there is a project where you have to learn to draw a flower using the turtle module. I am comfortable enough in my knowledge that I know that I don’t know how to draw a flower with the turtle module as well as I would like.  Possibly, I could draw something that might resemble a flower abstractly, but that wasn’t good enough for me.

I decided that I needed to learn how to draw flower in Python that could conceivably be considered a flower on paper.  In this pursuit, I utilized Google.  Through the list of lackluster flowers, I stumbled upon something that suited my idea of the visual interpretation.

I could read the Python script, but I didn’t quite understand it.  This is where the Python Standard Library comes in handy.  After figuring out what the code meant, I modified it to fit my idea of a flower.  As it turns out, things get simpler when you break them down.

While I was earning my undergraduate degree in chemistry at Loyola University of Chicago, I came across many great teachers. One in particular was Dr. Daniel Graham. He had the ability to elicit interest in a variety of subjects seemingly unrelated to chemistry. While taking his course, “Physical Chemistry Lab,” I was introduced to an old version of Python. He gave our lab group a fundamental manual of Python code, an ancient computer, and told us to make the computer into a calculator using code. By putting together the ideas contained in the manual and slightly winging it, we managed to create a program that would output correct calculations when numbers were input. This was my first taste of coding. I learned that computers are amazing things and can do what you want when you know how to talk to them.

This was several years ago and I hadn’t thought much about coding since then. Although I was able to complete the small task my teacher had placed before me, I thought of coding as something monumentally difficult. I don’t know why coding had this connotation, but it did. I felt as though it was a wall that was impossible to scale. Things started to change about a year ago. I started looking into learning some type of code; but what type? There are so many languages that it’s a bit daunting to find a place to start. The need to take control of my future impelled me forward, so here I am. I’ve started “Programming Foundations with Python” from Udacity and couldn’t be more excited. I don’t know where this journey may take me, but I’m glad I started.