program with scratchLearn to Program With Scratch,” by Majed Marji, $35 from NoStarch.com.

You would think they got the title wrong and it should be “From Scratch,” but no, they got it right, because “Scratch” is a programming language. It uses colorful blocks and cartoon characters instead of typed commands. The language started out as a learning tool for kids, but this book is aimed at teens to adults. You can create games, animation, science simulations and tutorials.

Let’s face it. It’s more fun to learn by dragging and dropping blocks than trying to get every code symbol in the right place; you won’t be tearing your hair out at three a.m.  trying to find the one tiny error that ruined your program. Scratch aims to teach you the fundamentals so you’ll be inspired to go on to the tougher stuff some day. The author is a senior engineer at General Motors and writes well. Surprisingly, this book is easier to follow than the Scratch book aimed at kids.

According to Code.org, jobs for programmers are among the highest paying, but fewer than three percent of college students major in computer science. And according to the Department of Labor, job opportunities in this field are expect to grow at a rate of 20 percent a year. l

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