I remember the first time someone wrote a short piece of code in front of me that output one string of text when it was a certain time of day, and another string of text when it was another time of day. I thought it was magic. How did he know what to write?
Nine months later, now that I’ve scratched the surface a little, I understand that most of it is syntax — knowing what works, what doesn’t. Every snippet has a starting bracket and an ending part; there are certain concepts (such as if/then statements) that will probably work in a couple of different derivative languages. I’m still picking up pieces here and there, but I think it’s time to get serious by opening up a few textbooks. I’m pretty happy to have access to Safari Books Online.