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  • Writer's pictureTim Buchalka

How Do You Know If Programming Is for You?

How do you know whether a career in programming is for you? Let’s talk about that today.

Let’s talk about how you’d know whether a career in programming is for you. It can often be hard to figure that out when you’re starting, when you’re learning to program because what you really have to do is isolate the feelings of frustration and getting overwhelmed and confused and so forth. That’s a typical thing that you’ll come across when you’re learning to program. So consequently, you may find that periods of time where you enjoy programming, where you’re learning are few and far between. That’s because you’re constantly in a state of confusion and I don’t know a lot of people who enjoy being confused, and perhaps getting frustrated at times.

But again, think back to any worthwhile skill that you’ve learned, in general in your life. Generally, there’s some confusion, there’s some feelings of overwhelming, even temporarily, and you can get frustrated while you’re learning to do those things. So, you probably want to put off any decision about whether this career’s for you at the very early stages. Try to learn some amount, a decent amount of programming, like complete your first programming course for example. Don’t try to think too far ahead. In other words, I wouldn’t necessarily myself, having never programmed before, start a four year university/college degree. I wouldn’t do that because I haven’t learned enough about the basics. What I would do, I would take an online course and dabble in code a little bit, and see if perhaps after a few months of doing that, then if I wanted to do it, then I would take it to the next level. So that’s what I would suggest in general, is to go through a programming course, get past that initial stage that all of us have faced when we learned how to program, to get to the stage where you know a little bit about programming, if you’re confident in your skills, and then start thinking to yourself, firstly, “Am I enjoying this?”

I think it’s important these days to have a career that you enjoy. You don’t necessarily have to love it, that’s a bonus, I mean. I’m one of the people who absolutely loves to program. I’ve always loved immersing myself in code but there’s people out there with different skills, with different levels. Some people like programming. Some people love programming. Some people hate programming. So you gotta figure out where you’re at. That will only come with basically immersing yourself in code. So in other words, you have to just do it. You can’t just hope to magically wake up one day and say, “I’m going to start being a programmer” and just hope that that’s going to happen.

I think you actually need to do some programming to take yourself to a level, to find out whether that career’s for you. And any way you would do that is to spend some time. So, in my opinion, the quickest way to determine whether the career for you is to finish a course. Think about after you’ve completed the course, how do you feel about it now that you’ve completed the course? Did you enjoy the course, knowing that there were certain hurdles that you’ve overcome? You’ve obviously been past that, you’ve got through it. You’ve figured it out. You’ve overcome the challenges. How do you feel about programming now? Are you still enthusiastic about it? Are you looking forward to it? Are you looking forward to further your skills because you enjoy it? Or are you thinking oh I gotta learn about this particular programming language if I want to get a job? If you’ve got that sort of mindset, of like it’s a bit of a drag and I gotta learn how to do it, then perhaps programming’s not for you.

Obviously, I can’t say that for sure because only you can make that decision. I’m just giving some general advice here. But I think it’s important to understand yourself and how you feel about a thing, a particular thing, in this case programming. But also, keep in mind that, you know, your feelings will change over time. So as you get more and more experience with programming, you’ll probably become more confident and you’ll get a clearer picture of where you’re at.

Basically, I would suggest, complete your first programming course first, then make a decision as to what you’re going to do and by then you should have a much clearer idea whether programming, a career in programming, is for you. I hope that helped. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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