Session 17: Writing our first program, in Pseudocode

Today nearly everyone was back. After the usual weekly check-in, we started the session by taking a group picture of us in our go_girl: code+create T-shirts (Shannon, Sabbah, Jess and Anne are missing in the picture).

After a quick re-cap of last week’s session about women in coding and why coding matters by Paula and Paige, we watched a short video clip about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, which was very informative. We were all surprised about the size of their Difference Engine!

Niall then explained the basic principles of programming again, which he had introduced in last week’s session through Pseudocode, using the example of the program ‘MakeACupOfTea’. We learned through this example how to write a program, using sequence (PROGRAM, END.), selection (through the example of adding sugar or not to the tea using IF, THEN / ELSE, ENDIF;), iterations (WHILE, DO, ENDWHILE;) and loops.

Each of us then went on to design a Pseudocode program of our own choice, trying to apply these principles to our algorithms. We came up with Pseudocode programs such as ‘SetUpAMobilePhone’, ‘ApplyEyeMakeUp’, ‘ListenToSongOnIPad’, ‘UseHairStraighteners’, ‘BrushYourHair’, ‘MakeAToast’, and ‘ApplyFaceFoundation’. We then presented our programs to the group. It was a great activity that made us understand how important it is to provide very detailed and specific instructions at each step of a program. Time went by quickly, and we finished the session by applying the principles we had learned to Python by completing the Python Introduction exercises on Udacity, which we had begun last week.

Next week, we will start with a ‘pen & paper’ coding game using plastic cups, and Paula will also bring along a ‘real’ program for us to have a look at and explore together. We will also complete a few more exercises in Python.

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