What Makes us Want to Program? Part 5

In Part 4 I discussed a supposition I made a few years ago in High School.  The supposition suggested that genius programmers can do what they do not only because they are left-brain oriented, but because they have a well developed Pre-Frontal Cortex.  It is neither fact nor fiction.  Simply an idea.

So why the hell does it make us want to program?

It all comes down to curiosity.  The Pre-Frontal Cortex governs mediating conflicting thoughts, makes choices between right and wrong or good and bad, and governs the workflow involved in predicting future events.  Curiosity is the result of the conflict between knowing and not knowing.  Part of it is the decision process to figure out if you really want to know, and if you choose to know, what will happen as a result.

With that being said, Neuroscience studies into curiosity are still in the infancy stages, so the requisite proof is no where to be found yet.  At the moment, curiosity is seen to come from the Caudate Nucleus in the Basal Ganglia of the brain.  It is known for Learning and Memory.

So, if we are curious about something, it excites the Pre-Frontal Cortex.  If we are left-brained in nature, and our curiosity steers us in a direction of problem solving or logic (something we are good at) the brain excites the pleasure centers, and when our pleasure centers get excited we enjoy what we are doing.

With a well developed Pre-Frontal Cortex, our curiosity is magnified.  But then again, this is simply an idea.

What’s with the history lesson then?

Each part of the story was the result of curiosity.  I started with QBasic because I read an article in Popular Electronics (I’m surprised it was still published at the time) that required a computer interface.  I didn’t understand the article (remember I was around the age of 9) so I tried to understand the code.

I couldn’t understand the language enough to do anything meaningful so I started learning HTML.  Something far simpler to grok.  This was the case throughout the story.  The impetus behind all my actions was curiosity.

It wasn’t until Grade 9 that I found PHP which really allowed me to understand programming.  It certainly wasn’t over a weekend that I learned it, but nevertheless the cartoon makes you ask: why would you spend a weekend messing with Perl (or any other language)?  Curiosity, that’s why!  It’s this thing called curiosity that is useful to career success. 

Schooling will get you in the door, but your curiosity will make you succeed.