Reflection: Connection Between Coding & Global/Natural Languages in my Programming Learning

Luis F.
2 min readJul 19, 2021

The most surprising reflection I had about the way I learned as I studied SWE was how similar it was to my personal experience of learning English as an ESL native Spanish speaker. When I was four years old, I immigrated from Puerto Rico to the US and had to quickly learn English to begin schooling. Growing up with a speech disability, I was always self-conscious of how my stutter would affect the way I would communicate languages. Learning and performing coding languages shared many similarities to how I learned world languages in that it takes practice, understanding, and context to be executed effectively.

The Linguistic Society of America had a great article related to the impact world languages have on how an individual conceptualizes the world. I think the same can be said for SWE/coding. In both coding & world language types, there exists conventions, frameworks, terms, syntax, grammar, and other rules that are followed to effectively communicate. It was not until I entered my bootcamp that I realized I had to start looking at SWE as a lens and approach of conceptualizing ideas. For example, the concept of true and false as boolean values represented as the numbers 0 and 1 always astounded me.

This new self-knowledge will continue to help me in my career through the reframing of learning, and the lens it provides me. I see software engineering as a tool and approach to navigate. Like any tool, it requires context to be used effectively. I constantly think about how we can work to center and make SWE and coding accessible for marginalized communities all over the world. I think about my own continued learning and career growth, and how similar to world languages, SWE will change/morph as we continue to contextualize the world differently.

** For other folks that speak multiple languages — has this been your experience? I would love to connect and further discuss this topic!