What would you say to someone learning to program?

In my opinion, the hardest part is not learning a programming language, on the contrary it is the easiest part. Of course, learning to program is within everyone’s reach, with all the resources available online today, but learning to program or knowing how to do it is not the same thing as being able to make a career out of it.

Beginner’s enthusiasm is great, but it’s not enough. In fact, it’s quite possible to be a talented coder while not being cut out for the job. It sounds strange, I know, but it’s more true than you think. That’s because it’s more than just coding. You have to look at the big picture. So my advice for a beginner would be that before you get serious about it, you have to be sure that you want to and can make a career out of it.

And if you’re not quite sure you can be a good programmer, here are some signs that might point you in the right direction.

Sign #1: You lack practical creativity

Despite its heavy logic, programming is ultimately a creative art. A new program is like a blank canvas and your brushes are your languages, frameworks, libraries, etc. You are creating something out of nothing and it is a process that relies on experimental fearlessness.

Sign #2: You are not autonomous

Any good programmer must be self-motivated. When you remove all the unnecessary details, programming is basically repetitive. If you don’t have enough self-interest and ambition in the code you write, you will simply be miserable.

Your motivation for writing code must come from within. You have to love the act of coding as much as the possibility of getting away with a final product. If you don’t love the process, you’ll never get to the product.

Sign #3: You hate logical problems

Although it’s a creative project, programming is more about fixing than creating. While other creative solutions involve a process of correction (e.g., writers having to revise their drafts), programming is unique in that most of the problems that arise are based on logical errors.

This correction process, known as debugging, is the heart of programming. Are you fascinated by logic puzzles? Do you have an innate desire to fix what’s broken? And by extension, are you naturally curious about the inner workings of things? You should be able to answer “Yes” to all these questions.

Much of the reward in programming comes from fixing bugs. The more complicated the bug, the more rewarding it is to fix it. If you don’t find any satisfaction in that, programming will be a never-ending series of frustrations for you.

Sign #4: You can’t sit for long periods of time

The nature of programming requires you to sit in front of a computer for an extended period of time. You may be able to get around this by building a standing desk, but the essence is the same: you’re going to spend a lot of time in front of your computer.

There are some concerns about this sedentary computer lifestyle and it can lead to serious health problems if you ignore it for too long.

Ultimately, the question is: Are you comfortable in front of a computer most of your day? In fact, comfortable may not be enough; you must prefer to be in front of a computer. Otherwise, productivity and happiness are going to be uphill battles.

Sign #5: You want regular work hours

Programming careers fall into two types: 1) you work for someone else or 2) you work for yourself. Either way, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of late nights, long coding sessions, and a generally poor quality of life.

Software development is a deadline-centric industry, and deadlines don’t fit neatly into traditional 9-to-5 workdays. As deadlines approach, coding teams often enter a “time sensitive” phase defined by late night enthusiasts. Even when you’re working for yourself, you’ll need to put in many hours daily if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

In addition, programming problems tend to get stuck in your brain and follow you wherever you go. You’ll work on solutions in the shower, on your daily commute, and even in bed. Because programming often takes place in your head, compartmentalization can be difficult, if not impossible.

If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a business that doesn’t have a critical time, but I wouldn’t count on it if I were you.

Sign #6: You expect to get rich quick

There was a time when software development was a lucrative business. These days, get-rich-quick programmers are the exception to the rule. If your main motivation for being in this industry is to make a lot of money in no time, you’re disappointed.

Successes due to late nights, such as the popularity of the mobile game “Flappy Bird”, can lure us into false expectations and delusional confidence. Many people have tried their hand at independent game development in the hopes of achieving similar levels of success before abandoning the industry altogether.

Can you make a lot of money as a programmer? Sure, but it won’t be an easy road. If you want to get rich quick, you might as well play the lottery.