Out of hundred reasons why I never felt engineering suited me, Coding is the Number one. Honestly, I thought Computer Science and Engineering was about those three icons you see on desktop and MS Office. With that idea in my mind, I chose CSE. My heroic saga dates back to 2004 when I had prepared a Power Point Presentation with Sound effects, Designed my name using WordArt in MS Office and painted the round Pepsi logo. Those were proud moments. Back then and until I opened CCP textbooks, I thought those basic things were sufficient. With a fine i5 laptop and a full framed black glass, I was all set to top the class.
The first test went excellent. What is a computer? Functional units, Generations, Von Neumann Concepts and blah blah blah. The hitches came when Programming was being taught. The working of a computer was actually more than “kicking the power button of CPU until the yellow light flashes”. Everyone with PCMC background seemed to follow the flow but I was searching for blank faces just like mine. How the fuck can this computer be intelligent and self-efficient, if it can’t do everything by itself. The Sum of Two numbers was the first program I wrote down and it was all strange and meaningless to me.
Each day, some new concepts were taught and only common thing in all of them were the header files. After checking twice, what’s written on the board, I was shocked to see I had written “studio.h”.
In the first lab test, I had got the simplest of all. A 15 line program. That’s how I used to identify them, by counting number of lines. I barfed everything I know from late night studies and started typing. When I compiled, there was this one error that had something to do with the declaration of the variable. I don’t remember the exact message but who gives a hoot. Everyone passed by me whispered something unclear and I couldn’t make anything of it. At the beginning I made “seriously trying hard to edit this code” face but that didn’t work either. Two hours and there were just 3 bright students left in the lab. “If you cannot execute these simple programs, then what will you do in the next semesters?” my teacher asked. No one replied. May be I’ll copy all the programs to a pen drive and bring it like all the smart students did. My roll no was called for Viva.
The first question she asked watching my programming ability was “Why did you take CS?”. With a puzzled face and doubtful voice, I said “Passion”. I always believe big fancy words can have some serious impact. By her expressions, I figured out she is going to launch some nukes in few seconds. But she took some time before the kill. “What Languages do you know?” she asked. kannada, English, Hindi, telugu popped suddenly and they were technically correct answers but she would have slapped me right away if I had muttered those. “I am a PCMB student, I studied biology. I am learning C in this semester” I said frankly. She was annoyed by how I said it. “Biology? Then why are you here?” she asked and her tone gained some high frequencies.
As soon as she said the word Biology, it reminded me of some good old days. See, Biology is my favorite subject. It taught me reproduction and some other processes I didn’t even bother listening to. With diagrams and explanations on how to make babies, I wondered how time flew during biology classes. The textbook had everything – funny names to human private parts and ………
“Don’t be silent! Say something” she yelled. My mind was somewhere else and I still had no answers. “Engineering has scope now so I chose it” I replied. Next few minutes brought me more agony than a south Indian love story that doesn’t have happy ending.
From that day, it only has gotten worse. As I moved to next semester, I had to deal with countless programs and errors. Then came C++. No comments on C++ as it made me feel “I’d rather learn Finnish”. My mini project had 2500 lines of code I still have no idea of what they mean. Computer Graphics and Microprocessor were more complex than a David Lynch movie. As times passed, only the color of the error messages changed. In the end, all I can say is, If you want to see fear in an engineer’s eye, tell him to write a CODE.