So, you are asking yourself, “am I really cut out to be a programmer?” Well, the brutally honest truth is that not everyone is cut out to be a developer. There is good news though. If you really enjoy programming, you probably already have most of the traits that make up a good programmer, or at least a decent programmer. As a self-taught developer who has gone through the process of self-doubt that comes with learning how to code. I have a deep understanding of what is self-doubt, and what is simply someone who is not meant to be a developer. So, are you cut out to be a programmer? Let’s find out.
Ultimately, there are three things that you really need to be successful as a programmer.
1. Passion & Determination
A big question you need to ask yourself is how much do you really like programming? Be honest with yourself, do you find satisfaction in figuring out a difficult problem? Are you willing to put in the work to figure that problem out?
You don’t have to enjoy solving unsolvable problems, but you need to be driven and passionate about programming enough to take on that challenge you think is unsolvable and figure out a way to solve it. That is what will ultimately make you a good programmer.
If you get no satisfaction from solving these problems, you will probably hate your life as a programmer. If you just got into programming for the money or because your parents or friends told you to do it, it may not be right for you.
At least, it may not be right for you right now or you’re taking the wrong path of learning.
A Personal Comparison
When I was 17, I actually started a computer science degree and hated it. The course material wasn’t interesting and I saw no tangible benefits from learning how to code. I thought the content was difficult simply because I would put in the bare minimum to get by and never learn more than I had to.
Even though I finished my programming courses with 90% averages, I still felt like a terrible programmer because I found it challenging and unrewarding.
Looking back, I realized that what I really loved was creating something amazing that didn’t exist before. In order to do that I had to solve problems. A lot of problems! The process of creating something I wanted to create made those problems worth doing.
If you have that same passion and determination for programming, you will do just fine. If you always try to do the bare minimum, you probably don’t enjoy programming all that much and it will be much more difficult to be good at it.
2. Creative Thinking
Although most people don’t realize this, programming is actually an extremely creative exercise. At the root of programming, all we are really doing is finding creative and optimal ways of solving a problem with a computer. That’s it!
Ask any programmer and I’m sure they will tell you the same thing.
Whether you know it or not, if you enjoy the process of programming, you are likely a pretty creative person. You probably enjoy the act of building things from the ground up and want to understand how things work and how they can be improved upon.
Have never felt the excitement of starting a new programming project? If not, you are likely in the early stages of programming and don’t exactly know what you can build, or you simply don’t have the creativity to fuel you.
Regardless, the thought of having a tool that can help you build literally anything you want on a computer should spark some excitement into you!
3. Desire For Learning New Subjects & Skills
If you don’t find any excitement in understanding how certain concepts and processes work in the world of programming, and how to implement variations yourself, it might be a sign that you aren’t cut out to be a programmer.
Programmers are constantly learning every day. We have to in order to keep up with our day-to-day tasks and stay current in the industry.
Now, programming doesn’t have to be the only thing you do with your time. However, you should like the challenge and fulfillment from learning new subjects and skills.
Programming is a skill you need to practice a lot in order to be great. That’s a given.
However, if you want to really understand the tools you have, you also need to know a lot of things in the world of programming. Concepts such as design patterns, how programming languages work, why certain languages are better for certain jobs than others, and how programs are built are all things you should find joy in discovering!
If you don’t, you are going to quickly get burnt out. Causing you to be unhappy constantly studying things you dislike.
That’s really it. If you are passionate, determined, creative, and have the desire to learn new skills and subjects, you are probably cut out to be a programmer.
You do not need to be a super genius to be a programmer. I’m certainly not! Although intelligence and problem-solving skills help, it’s not all that matters.
Realistically, you will know programming is right for you if you do it often, even in your spare time, and really enjoy it. That alone will help you learn way faster than most employed developers and make you a great programmer.
Learning how to become a web developer? Check out my guide for some great completely free resources.
Feel like you’re too old to learn to program? Check out my answer to that here.
As always, happy coding!