Confidence and programming

Building a career in programming can be overwhelming at times. For me, I felt overwhelmed all the time.

To be honest there were several occasions where I truly thought I was dumb and coding just wasn’t for me. I’d see other devs who would just understand stuff and to me it seemed as though they were naturals, born programmers who were way smarter than I.

Self-doubt.. it kills dreams, ruins lives and holds you back from being a legend.

I’d go as far as saying self-doubt is a requirement to being great but only in moderation. I like to go with 90% confidence and 10% doubt. This keeps me on my toes and aware that there is always room to improve.

Here are some pointers to help you out. Some of these will produce results immediately whilst others take slightly longer.

Do’s

  • Focus on the fundamentals of software and programming. You will thank me later. I’ll write another post on what these are.
  • Teach yourself the art of learning quickly
  • Believe in yourself and your capabilities
  • Build a solid foundation
  • Be your own person
  • Welcome constructive criticism with open arms
  • Learn from mistakes. Mistakes are good
  • Embrace failure. It is a stepping stone

Dont’s

  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Don’t worry about the latest JS library and other tech that keeps coming out (be aware of them but that’s enough at this point)
  • Don’t try and learn every language and framework out there. You will broaden your skill set with time. Id rather hire a programmer who has a strong understanding of the fundamentals and only knows 1 language as opposed to the programmer that knows them all
  • Don’t trash talk yourself
  • Don’t apologise for everything you do

One last thing. Our subconscious mind is wired to listen to our thoughts. Many times our thoughts describe how we feel about ourselves. People tend to see you the way you see yourself. Sooo..??

Think of yourself as a great programmer. Tell it to yourself, over and over and over..

Oh, one very last thing..

Form a good balance of confidence and modesty.

Photo by Jonathan Klok

To get a CS degree or not?

Following on from my last post I am going to give you my take on getting a CS degree or not.. yes yes I know, its one of those topics that people just love talking about, and yes I have one myself.

So should you get one?

Well this may sound like a cop-out but in my mind this question can only have a worthy answer if we were all equal in our abilities, our interests and our values, but we aren’t.. We are all different, we like different things, we work in different ways and I truly believe there is no right or wrong answer here.

Some points from my perspective:

Cons

  • Degrees are painful when your primary motivation is money.
  • They can be extremely challenging
  • They can also leave you in debt (although they don’t necessarily have to)
  • You need discipline and self-motivation .. i’m not sure this is a con.. well it is if you are not disciplined nor self-motivated

Pros

  • They do add value in some cases when looking for a job, but don’t get me wrong, I ain’t saying you absolutely have to have one, in fact you can do fine without one.
  • Provided you are interested, you will learn a lot.. don’t blame the lecturers, don’t blame the books.. where there is a will there is a way.
  • Uni isn’t just about studying, its about the lifestyle, the experience.. but that’s a topic for another day
  • Getting a degree gives a great sense of self-achievement.

My 2 cents worth

  • Don’t get a CS degree for the money, it’ll cost you more than you think (i’m not talking just about money) and you ain’t guaranteed a job
  • If you are truly interested in the science then go for it
  • Although I would advise against taking out loans, if that’s the only way then go for it. Pursue your dream, your passion will pay dividends.
  • Don’t fool yourself into thinking 10 buck online courses are your saviour, they aren’t..

Nope i’m not done yet.. I think I have one last comment that is bound to piss some people off..

You do not need a degree to become a successful programmer, and don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.

You are the single largest obstacle in your way.. overcome that and you will realise that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.. with or without a degree.

Photo by Cole Keister