Even though computer science is a requirement for cognitive science majors at UCSD, I still find it intimidating. Especially how missing a single semi-colon or bracket can make the entire code go haywire — or even worse (depending on how you look at it) — when the code works, but not the way you want it to. If anything, it helps me appreciate how the human brain is capable of making so many decisions and predictions with incomplete information. Sure, it’s error prone, but at least it won’t collapse like the computer. Still, just as how a blank screen in Microsoft Word reveals the holes in your concentration, broken or messy code can hold you accountable for the flaws in your own logic.
Luckily, there’s a whole slew of resources out there in the internet to make the process of learning programming more approachable (the number of accessible choices can be overwhelming), and there’s one I want to recommend today: Jessica Hische & Russ Maschmeyer’s Don’t Fear the Internet. It’s a fun seven-part video series on the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, featuring lively narrators, cats, and hamburgers. It’s the best presentation I’ve seen on the subject, and is perfect if you’re just getting started.