Some people describe computer coding as art, while others call it science. It is a creative process much like painting a masterpiece, yet it has technological elements that cannot be ignored. I liken it more to cooking, an art that requires a certain succession of events to take place in order for the final product to be perfect.

Cooking at its core is science at its best work. A chef is given a list of seemingly random ingredients and expected to convert them into something that is not only edible, but delicious. That is science, and very similar to what a coder is expected to do. Except in reverse. We are told “this is what we want our computer program to do, now figure out how to make that happen.” It’s like taking a chocolate chip cookie and trying to figure out what is inside.

Then of course you have the whole cooking process to consider. Heat or chemicals are able to change the taste, texture and complete make-up of different food products. Look at your deep fryer for example. If you put a wet batter on a piece of turkey and drop it into a deep fryer, it will convert into something dry and crispy (or Crispy and Golden, as these guys are fond of saying). The entire composition of the food has been changed from one state to another more delicious one. Wet batter tastes gross, but somehow hot oil and a deep fryer make it taste delicious.

How does that relate to programming? Very simply. We are given small blocks of code, or even a single code and expected to transform them into workable software. Instead of heat and oil though, we need to follow an order, or system in order to make that happen. Code B must come after Code A, or it will be all messed up, just like the batter has to go on first or you end up with a hot mess.

computer cooking

This is the reason why so many programmers are into cooking. It requires them to use the same types of thought processes, only in a different medium. Instead of the end result being a cool new smartphone app that everyone must have, it is a delicious piece of fried chicken that makes  your stomach growl in anticipation. That is another part of the appeal, the almost instant gratification you get from cooking compared to coding. You eat the chicken maybe 30 minutes after you started the scientific process of making it, but it sometimes takes years to see software finally work the way we intended it to.

If coding has piqued your interest, and you are ready to give it a try just remember to be as methodical with it as you are with your recipes. Yet like your recipes, you can have some fun and change things up to make an even better final  product when the process is complete.