Why learn programming?
If you’re debating whether or not you should learn programming, there are many reasons why you should – or shouldn’t. The truth is that it’s not for everyone. But finding out whether or not it would be a good fit for you will take a little due diligence on your end, and you’ve come to the right place for that.
Here, we’ve compiled a complete list of reasons why it might be a good option for you to learn programming. Depending on your income goals and job requirements, it could be the perfect fit, but you’ll never know unless you keep reading!
10 Reasons to Learn Programming
Here are some of the top reasons we’ve identified to learn programming. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will help you identify some of the key reasons why people go into this field. It will also help you decide whether or not it’s the right choice for you.
Programming has Guaranteed Employment Opportunities
If nearly everything you touch is computerized, that means it had to have a human to program it. There are almost always jobs available in the industry, in a variety of fields. If you want a stable industry, with consistent job opportunities, programming is an excellent path to consider.
Some of the industries who need programmers the most are as follows:
- Government and Social Services
- Financial Services
- Artificial Intelligence
This is a short list compared to all of the industries that utilize programmers on a regular basis. According to indeed.com, there are more than 100,000 jobs currently available in the United States in the programming field. At the time of writing this article, LinkedIn had more than 90,000 job listings for programmers.
Programmers Have Solid Job Security
Along with some pretty amazing job opportunities comes the security of being in a job that is highly sought-after. The world is in constant need of good programmers, and the need is definitely higher than the demand right now. While various industries rise and fall, the need for programmers is consistent across everything we do.
Many coders don’t continue to code for their entire life. They often move into management roles and more strategic roles and take on the responsibility of hiring other programmers to work under them. These positions are equally important but a little less plentiful.
Programmers Can Work from Home
The sheer nature of programming involves a quiet space with plenty of time to think and solve problems. This is the type of job that lends itself perfectly to working remotely. There are very few things that a programmer is required to do that can’t be accomplished from home.
People have different reasons for wanting to work from home. Think about the benefits that you might gain from doing so. Here are just a few that we can think of:
- No commute
- Less stress
- Save money
- Increased productivity
- More time to focus on family
These are just some of the most notable reasons that many employees enjoy working from home. There may be others in your mind, and they are all valid. The truth is, working from home is much more popular now than ever before. Why not take advantage of that?
Programming Jobs Don’t Always Require a Four-Year Degree
Programmers can be extremely effective without ever setting foot inside a college classroom. That’s not to say that college isn’t a great investment in your future. However, for various reasons, college isn’t for everyone, and if you prefer to get a great job without the time or monetary investment in college, programming is a fantastic option.
There are a variety of certificate programs in the marketplace that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to become an excellent programmer. Many of them look great on a resume and will let potential employers know that you’re serious about your career. The amount of time it takes to complete the program and obtain your certificate will depend on which program you choose to take.
Cybersecurity diplomas are another great option for potential programmers. If you’re specifically interested in cybersecurity and you learn not only the programming side, but also the security side, you’ll be highly sought-after by employers. They need people with the skills and knowledge to protect their data and their customers’ data from potential threats.
Programmers have a High Income Potential
If money is your motivation for becoming a programmer, you’re definitely moving in the right direction. It will not make you a millionaire, but it can help you earn a higher-than-average salary and make a great life for you and your family. The pay scale varies from state to state, but the national average is typically anywhere from $65,000 – $112,000 annually.
If you’re good enough to land a job with a major company, these numbers could rise significantly. Here are the salaries for programmers in some of the best tech companies in the country.
|NIO||Senior Software Engineer||$185,000|
As we said before, if you’re motivated by money and want to make a great living, this is a field to consider.
Programmers Get to Be Creative
Programming is a highly technical skill but also offers the ability to be creative. If you really think about the job, you could have something in your mind that is just an idea. You can make that idea come to life through your skills as a programmer. One of the best illustrations of this point is video games.
Engineers who design video games get to be creative and cutting edge with their craft. They can take something that is in their mind or written out as a description and actually turn it into a digital world that people can enjoy. This is just one small corner of the programming world.
If you consider a programming job in the medical field or financial services, it doesn’t sound glamorous or exciting, but it certainly can be. You can take your skills and creativity and find solutions for problems affecting customers, patients, and employees within the company. You can find unique ways to solve problems that no one has considered before!
Programming Will Hone Your Problem Solving Skills
While we’re on the subject of problem solving, this is an excellent field for enhancing your skills! Every problem that arises in software is an opportunity to find a new or better way to solve it. There isn’t a “user’s guide” for programmers to solve every problem that might come up.
If you’re someone who enjoys taking your creativity and finding solutions, this is definitely an industry for you. There is a lot of gratification in knowing that you discovered a problem, investigated it from multiple angles, and found a way to solve it.
One example of how a software engineer solves problems is by fixing software glitches. Perhaps the software system that powers a company starts to malfunction and begins costing time, money, and credibility. It is often a process of trial and error, and it’s the programmer’s job to investigate the problem and implement solutions.
Programmers Get Instant Gratification on the Job
There are basically two types of people in the world: people who like to check things off their list and people who enjoy projects that last for weeks, months, or years on end. If you’re interested in seeing immediate results from your work, programming is an amazing field for you. You can instantly see the results of your efforts and whether or not they were effective.
There are so many industries where people do the work, day after day, and never really get to see the fruits of their labor. Maybe the nature of their work is ongoing or perpetual, but whatever the reason, they don’t get to see the finished product. Programming isn’t this way at all. In fact, it’s the opposite!
If you’re working on something in the software, you’re thinking, creating, coding, etc. You make an elaborate plan for how to fix the problem and then you start tinkering with things in the software. Once you complete the series of steps that you so carefully planned, you are often staring at the screen, smiling, because you can see the results of your hard work almost instantly!
You’ll Understand How Software Works
Being able to understand how different software applications function will make you better at your job. Many people interact on a daily basis with various software programs and never really give it a second thought. However, as a software engineer, you will see the world through a different lens.
Looking at various applications and programs will spark your interest into how the features work and how the program is running in the background. As a result of this type of analysis, you’ll be able to grasp new technologies much more quickly and be able to apply these new learnings to your profession. Programmers who never stop learning will inevitably be more successful in their careers.
Programmers Can be Entrepreneurs
Many programmers eventually find their way into consulting or other forms or self-employment. It’s a highly marketable skillset, and almost every company in existence needs the services you can offer. Going into business for yourself can be a huge benefit to becoming a programmer.
Let’s be clear that owning a business is not for everyone. It takes a lot of planning, work, and attention to detail. If you have the skills and the willingness to work hard, it can be extremely rewarding. Many programmers go into business in the following areas:
- Web Design
- Mobile App Development
- Mentoring / Tutoring
This list is short and definitely not exhaustive. There is almost limitless potential for programmers to go into business for themselves and help other businesses grow. If you have good people skills, the ability to sell yourself, and the motivation to do it, this is a great opportunity for you.
3 Reasons NOT to Learn Programming
Despite all of the benefits listed above, programming is not for everyone. It’s important to identify whether or not it’s a good fit before you spend time and money trying to learn it. If you’re on the fence about programming and would like to consider the pros and cons, here are some reasons why it may not be for you.
You Lack Patience
If patience isn’t your strong suit, programming might not be your thing. It takes a lot of patience to learn this skill, and it can feel overwhelming and complicated when you’re getting started. Although learning to code can open a new world of career opportunities, you must have the patience and determination to master the skills in order to be successful.
No Time for Practice
If you don’t have the time to spend practicing your new skills, you might as well move on. This is a skill that takes time to develop. There are so many possibilities and different languages that it could take years to master them all. Once you’ve mastered them all, there will still be more to learn!
The point is that it requires time, which is plentiful to some people, but not to others. Consider whether or not you can dedicate the time necessary to learn programming without any major life changes. If it requires major life changes, decide whether or not that’s okay with you.
Not Interesting to You
Once you’ve dug into the subject a little bit more, you may learn that it’s not all that interesting, and that’s okay. You’ve done your due diligence and maybe you’ve decided it isn’t for you. If you’re not interested in it, don’t do it! There are plenty of other skills to learn that might be more appealing.
Is Programming Hard to Learn?
Programming is a difficult skill to master because it involves multiple computer languages. It takes time to learn each language and the fundamentals behind it. Programming also takes lots of practice and constant analysis to see how you can improve your work.
On the flip side, if you’re willing to put in the time that is necessary to learn your skills and practice them frequently, programming can be fairly simple. Everyone learns differently, so it’s difficult to say whether it’s “hard” or “easy,” but it absolutely takes time. It also takes patience.
The level of difficulty for any programming is determined by a few factors:
- The programming language you’re trying to learn
- How that particular language categorized
- How much time you’re able to invest
Learning to be a programmer will challenge you to find solutions by looking at problems from various angles. You can master these skills by focusing on one language at a time. Check out the next section on how to build a plan to get you on the right path.
How Long Does it Take to Learn to Program?
Mastering the skill of programming will come with more time, and most coders continue to learn throughout their careers. However, a basic level of competency can be reached in a shorter time. This can get you on the path to finding jobs and expanding your skills.
How to Learn Programming
Start with something that is simple and learn the fundamentals first. Python is considered to be one of the easiest programming languages to learn. It requires fewer lines of code than many other languages and features a simplified syntax with lots of whitespace.
Learn the Fundamentals of Programming
As with any new skill, it’s important to master the fundamentals before moving on to more complex concepts. With programming, many of the fundamentals can be learned online through a variety of free tools. Experienced programmers often debate which languages are considered to be the fundamentals, but Python and Java tend to be excellent places to start, depending on your goals.
As previously mentioned, these fundamentals can be learned in a variety of ways. Choosing the learning methods that work best for you will be critical to your success when starting out.
Many websites like codecademy.com and freecodecamp.org offer interactive coding sessions to help beginners learn to code. Since beginners need the additional guidance of an experienced coder, these websites can be invaluable. In addition, they offer things such as text editors and compilers that can help a beginner learn to code and understand where they made mistakes.
If you’re a visual learner who needs to do some hands-on work in order to retain the information, video tutorials might be just what you’re looking for. Most tutorials will include a step-by-step guide to help the student learn the steps and the proper sequence required to produce the code. Most tutorials also offer a project at the end to test the student’s skills and abilities.
Not only do you need to choose your learning strategy, but you also need to know what you’re learning! Here are some of the fundamentals that you need to focus on as a new programmer:
- Data types
- Conditional loops
- If statements
- Control structures
- Exception Handling
- Array or lists
This is not an exhaustive list of fundamentals, but it’s a great place to start. Just like any new language, you first need to learn the alphabet and some basic vocabulary words before you can begin reading or writing. Programming languages are no different.
Build Your First Programming Project
Programming is one of those skills that requires a ton of practice. Once you get your mind wrapped around the fundamental concepts, the only way to truly learn is to apply them in real-time. Try building a project and you will quickly learn where your skills and knowledge are lacking.
When building your first project, it’s helpful to keep it simple and to choose something you enjoy. Don’t try to make the most complicated piece of software the world has ever seen. Instead, try to build a simple calculator or something that can be easily tested for functionality and ease of use.
Google Your Programming Mistakes
As you go through the building process, you will inevitably run into some issues. This is perfectly normal since it’s your first time building something. You’ll run into problems on a regular basis throughout your career as a programmer.
Google can be one of the best resources available to you when this happens. Being able to research the problem and find answers is a critical skill for a programmer. Remember, this job is all about problem-solving, and knowing how to solve the problem and where to turn for answers is a huge piece of the puzzle!
A pro tip is when you receive an error code while building your project; knowing how to Google it is helpful. Many programmers don’t understand exactly how to Google the error in a way that is effective. Put the error code inside quotation marks and that will tell Google to focus on what’s inside the quotes.
Find Support from Other Programmers
Aside from search engines, there are many other resources available online. You may find that study materials and videos are really helpful to you as a beginner. You may also prefer to have a human connection or someone to talk through the concepts with as you practice your skills.
If this sounds like you, then you should consider finding some online forums like Reddit or Stack-Overflow. Websites like these are filled with other programmers from all over the world who can support one another and offer ideas and advice. Remember that programming is a creative activity, combined with technical skills, so there’s not one single answer to any problem.
Learning from other coders will help you expand your frame of reference when it comes to solving problems. You may be stuck in a singular theory for how to solve something, and the insight of others is a huge benefit. Take the time to listen and try their suggestions to see what works for you.
Learn Data Structure and Algorithms
Once you’ve learned the fundamentals of your chosen language and have built a few small projects, it’s time to take your skills to the next level. You can do this by learning the data structure and algorithms that go into the code you’re producing. One of the key concepts you will learn through this process is that not all data structures can be used everywhere.
The basic process is to implement an algorithm for a specific problem. An algorithm is a step-by-step process that will solve the problem in a specific way. You will then choose the data structure based on that algorithm, but not all structures will match.
If you learn these concepts at the beginning of your career, your skills will only improve with time and practice.
Build More Programming Projects
You’ve now learned about algorithms and data structure, so you can really test your skills by trying something more complicated. You can build onto one of the simple projects you built earlier or start something completely new. Regardless of what you choose to build, make sure that you’re adding to the complexity of each new project.
If you’re stuck and looking for ideas, go back to your community and ask for suggestions. You can also do some online research for beginner coding project ideas. If you haven’t already by this point, go to GitHub and setup an account so you can see what the rest of the world is building!
The key to becoming an excellent programmer is to just keep building. Try to find something that you think is interesting and try turning it into a project. You are more likely to build when it’s something that you’re really interested in, such as a video game or a website feature.
Find a Computer Programming Job or Internship
This may not be an option for everyone, especially if you’re already working full-time and trying to pay the bills, take care of kids, or have other responsibilities. However, if you’re in a situation that will allow you to get an internship, that could be a gold mine for you in terms of meaningful experience. Whether it’s an entry-level job or an internship, take it if you can!
In order to land a job or internship, you’ll need a solid cover letter and resume. Be sure to keep all of your projects in one place so you have a nice portfolio to show potential employers. They will be interested in seeing what you’ve learned so far and learning more about what you’re hoping to learn in the future.
Additionally, focus on your interviewing skills and how to interact with the potential employer. It’s not helpful to the employer if you know every single vocabulary word and can recite every theory as if reading from a textbook. Those are excellent things to know, but they are completely useless if you’re unable to apply them in real time.
Instead, focus on your problem-solving skills and show the potential employer what you are capable of. Find a way to convey to them that you are creative and able to find solutions to problems with minimal supervision. Employers are looking for programmers who can be independent and solve problems on their own, so focus on those skills as you talk to various people in the organization.
Computer programming is a complicated but rewarding skill to learn. Once you decide that programming is the right path for you, be sure to start with something simple and build onto it as you grow. The internet is a wealth of information on the topic, so leverage it to make the most of your experience!