i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » STEM

Bringing Science to Life

As a student of mechanical engineering at university, I loved creating designs, building new structures, and understanding the mechanics of why things work the way they do. My interests ranged from optimising fans for turbine construction to automating medicine dispensers for the elderly and disabled. While my enthusiasm knew no bounds, my work was often very design-centric and didn’t fully explore the deeper possibilities of the process, in particular, the computer code behind these technologies.

To me, programming seemed like writing a bunch of lines, one after the other, without any purpose. Coding was a language that conveyed nothing. Take a look here for instance, does this make much sense to you?

Much to my surprise, I learned that it is meaningful. A friend of mine helped me write a few lines of code and explained what it could enable me to do. Together, we compiled some code and attached a robot car to an Arduino, and I was awestruck to see the car come to life.

In that moment, I not only realised the importance of coding but also understood the value of seeing the larger picture while learning anything. This can be especially true when concepts feel abstract. It’s a good practice to see the practical applications of what we are trying to develop and how we can apply them in our daily lives. Thinking long term is thinking wise! Understanding this enabled me to appreciate the value behind programming and at the same time made me love something I didn’t used to. I can proudly now say that I haven’t stopped coding since.