Learning to Code is NOT Easy

In the past few months, the necessity to learn to code has been everywhere. It seems as though everywhere you look, someone is telling you to learn to code and there are very few dissenting opinions. With this push to learn to code has come a proliferation of bootcamps and other “accessible” opportunities to become a developer without necessarily needing a background in computer science.

But the idea of shoehorning people into a career and encouraging them by saying that learning is easy is a dangerous notion that hurts both individuals and the industry as a whole.

Learning to code is not easy, it is however, achievable and there is a big difference between those two words. You can learn the basics and know how to code, but to actually be a good developer takes years of practice and dedication. It is a craft that you need to constantly work on and improve upon. You can see this through the numbers of books and podcasts and meetups and mentorship and tutorials available to those in the field at all levels. Good programmers know that there is always more to learn and always ways to grow. They put in time during work and after work to continue to work to master their craft… and they love it.

Just like anything else, it takes hard work and dedication. You can learn to code in a short period of time, but it definitely doesn’t just happen. Oftentimes, people ask me how I learned so quickly (more often the question goes “Is it really that easy that you just started teaching yourself and were quickly coding and looking for a job?”) My answer is that no, it isn’t easy, but it is doable and in order to achieve what I did, I made as much time as possible. I go to meetups most nights of the week, code every day, and sacrificed other things so that I could make that time for myself. And to be honest, the thing I love most about coding is that it is constantly challenging and that there is always more to learn. For me, it’s not just the cool thing to do right now, and it’s not an easy path to making the big bucks. If you’re not passionate and you don’t do it for fun, you’re going to hate coding as a career.

There is a fine line between false advertising and being afraid you’ll discourage people from joining the industry, but we, collectively, are doing the industry a disservice by advertising that learning to code and becoming a developer is easy.

Here are some great articles I found along the way:
https://www.codefellows.org/blogs/this-is-why-learning-rails-is-hard
http://happybearsoftware.com/how-to-survive-your-first-year-as-a-programmer.html
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