I first started programming in middle school. I enjoyed the way that you could seemingly create something from nothing, but that it was more language-focused than something like art. It felt like a way I could learn to express myself and actually create something. I kept it up, and now here I am.
I’m hoping to go into assistive technology or disability activism, but more generally I just want to make a positive impact using code. I know there are a lot of issues in terms of big companies leaving disabled people out or creating ableist technology, and I want to make technology that actually helps other disabled people, whether directly through assistive tech, or slightly less directly through adding accessible features to existing technology.
I have autism and ADHD, and I also have issues with my joints. I think my disability makes me appreciate computers more, because technology has allowed me to both connect with other disabled people on a wider scale, and also actually continue school. I can’t write too much, but I can still type quite fast, and so I tend to rely on my computer to complete all my schoolwork.
I would say doing random coding projects. Online tutorials are super helpful- things like Code.org or Quorum. Both have tutorials for how to learn basic programming. Learning how to use the command line and GitHub is also super helpful, and there’s a fair amount of tutorials for them online too.
Computers help people access and connect to each other. While I think they have the potential to do a great deal of harm, they can also do a lot of good. Computing as a whole should be studied alongside ethics and analyzing power structures, so that we can make sure the benefits of technology actually go to communities that would benefit from them most. I know that’s not really an answer, but I think it’s more that having more people who understand the ethical implications in Computing would be immensely helpful for society.