Programming as a career - how to know if you are actually cut out for it?
For anyone who aspires to become a programmer or has just started with the practical implementation of coding knowledge gained in college - hopes are always high. No wonder it is a great career choice with unlimited opportunities, regardless of where you are in the world. But there is a catch: programming is not everyone's cup of tea.
Of course, you can learn a lot through constant practice and effort, but being a good programmer requires a lot more than just practice. As technical as it may sound, programming requires a fine deal of creativity as well. Unless you are really interested in it, you are likely to get frustrated and stuck in what we like to call a "programmer's block" again and again.
So, before you make a huge career move, let's help you analyze whether you have it in you or not.
Do you have enough passion and patience?
Programming can be an ultimate test of human endurance. Imagine of all the pain and frustration a single misplaced semicolon can cause. A lot of people give up before they can completely debug their code. But then there are some who don't. These are the ones that have enough supply of passion to offset impatience. Such programmers enjoy learning from their own mistakes and keep themselves well updated with all the latest happenings in the industry.
Do you have an open mind?
A programmer needs to have an open mind, once again to learn from mistakes and also to change practices if required. If you are too dogmatic about the way you do things, you will never be able to improve and grow as a programmer. Be open to learning from as many sources as possible; be it your teacher, colleague or the random guy who shares awesome programming tips on a blog. Set your ego and limiting believes aside to better learn, accept and respect a wider stream of ideas with an open mind.
Do you have the curiosity and creativity?
It is not about how good a programmer you are, rather how good a programmer you can be in the next few years. Your growth depends greatly on how often you break the pattern and use new ideas. It's a skill you can only learn through a fine blend of two traits - curiosity and creativity. You should always be on a look out for a better way to do things. Ask others or come up with your own unique approach. While it may sound like a risky strategy, you will be surprised by how much it will evolve you as a programmer.
Do you have a plan?
Finally, programming is the right career for you if you have a bigger plan in the working. Like the first "hello world" program, think of how you'll step into the world of programming. Aim higher and think of yourself as an entrepreneur. All the "tech-gurus" we commonly know today are entrepreneurs. Even if they don't own the organization, they take complete ownership of their projects and always strive to take them to the next level.
If your answer is yes to these questions then know - there is but one purpose you were sent in this world - and that's programming.