The thing he’s has discovered, is there is only so much Xbox and Steam one teenage boy can play in a day before it gets old. He plays defense on his high school lacrosse team (he’s 6'5", 230lbs), but that season was finally officially canceled so there is no hope left for him. But this has left him thinking about his future, as one is apt to do while they are in high school. He’s excelled in science and math his whole life and wants to get into molecular biology (aside: I’m out of my league here). I’ve been watching him do research into specifics and I’m honestly very proud of my son. I think even if COVID-19 didn’t happen, this is a great degree program to get into and one where he will be able to help his passion.
One thing I’ve been helping him is get better prepared for the analysis part. He spent winter break playing around with cryptology (again, I’m out of my league here) and started to dabble with Python. While he’s had enough time to think about his future, he stopped in my office a couple weeks ago and said he really wants to learn Python. I set him loose on what I consider the best way to learn Python
and off he went. While the book recommends Atom
as a text editor, I had him use Microsoft Visual Studio Code
because that’s just what good Dad’s do. He’s been using his PC laptop which brings up its own issues with development but at least Python is easy enough to get installed. He’s learned to use PowerShell
and how to install Python libraries.
He’s of course asked questions about why Python uses whitespaces, which drove him nuts, but after explaining it is basically curly brackets he began to understand. Now he’s doing things with BLAST
and Python (WAY out of my league) and just last night he asked if I had ever heard of Shapely
(I might have). I get to see his mind open up because he now has the freedom to explore. That’s what programming is in a nutshell, we all use our minds to think of great ideas, but they are locked up in hour heads. The power of being able to take that idea and translate it through your fingers into a computer is what a development language gives you. Watching him ignore his Xbox and explore fun ideas with BioPython
really makes this Dad happy.
What’s his next steps? Visualization
. He’s really liking notebooks and I think they are exactly how he should be doing his work. This semester he’s been taking Physics, but he’s really excited to get back to Biology next semester and I think he’s going to blow his teachers away. Proud Dad moment for sure…