What do you mean by “How to Computer?”

Jr Medina
2 min readDec 10, 2020

There I was, sitting in my office, the first week of a software engineering program. One of the lessons on the agenda was “How to Computer.” I thought to myself, “I am always on a computer… for work, surfing the web, word docs, excel. I must know how to computer at a novice level- at the very least.” My naive computer knowledge was soon deflated, as I did not know “how to computer” the way this program was about to demonstrate.

“Okay everybody, open up your terminal.”

Terminal with a path into my most recently completed module.

At this moment, we learned how to make new folders, how to move folders, how to delete folders, and that you never rm — rf your ~; as you can quickly go down a path of self-destruction, or shall I say, Mac-destruction. My thoughts start spiraling with ambiguous panic. Imposter syndrome creeping in. I am beginning to wonder what I have gotten myself into. I was terrified I would mistakenly delete the root to my brand new MacBook Pro.

The fun didn’t stop with terminal navigation and commands. We elevated to cloning labs, down onto our local environment. Just when I started feeling comfortable about opening the IDE in the browser on our learning platform that process was to change. An inside glimpse of the change agility I would need to develop within my mindset.

On just the second day of the first week, I was feeling like I was drinking out of a firehose and we had not even started doing anything coding specific. Even though I felt terrified at the amount of information being floated my way, along with the pace of lessons (which felt like it was non-stop) the instructors and the Flatiron community were very encouraging. Hearing the advice they gave, especially considering their recent experience, in the exact same spot with the exact same feelings, propelled me to maintain positive spirits no matter what information I found myself tripping over.

Learning “How to Computer” is a real thing and an evident lesson. While it certainly was a humbling experience to learn, it is vital for anyone who is looking to build an authentic foundation as a future programmer.



Jr Medina

Soon-to-be Flatiron School Successor, with an enthusiasm towards Front-End Web Development, lifelong learning, and continuous improvement.