Why you shouldn’t learn to code.

I firmly believe that anyone can do anything, given enough time and effort. I could spend months and months slapping paint onto a canvas and after a while maybe I could come up with something. After a while maybe I could call myself an artist. However, spending all of that time and effort may mean that I can theoretically do or become anything, it doesn’t mean that I’ll do it well. It also doesn’t mean that I’ll like it.

I believe that to be truly good at something, you have to be passionate about it. When I talk to people about how much I enjoy being a software developer, and how much I love writing code, I often get the feeling that they don’t really believe me. It’s like the words passion and programming aren’t allowed to belong in the same sentence.

It’s here that I think there’s a problem. The trend at the minute seems to be that if you can type, you should learn how to code. Sure, 99% of the people who take a programming class or watch some YouTube videos can probably pick it up. They can probably score themselves a job if they’re persistent enough. But will they enjoy it? Because if they don’t, then it’s just a job, it’s just something you do to earn money. Chances are, they aren’t going to take real pride in their work, and they aren’t going to be exceptional programmers. In my opinion this is bad for everyone involved.

It’s bad for the people themselves - I can’t imagine doing something I don’t truly care about. It’s bad for the people they work with, who do truly enjoy programming, and who didn’t get involved because it’s now a popular thing to do. I believe it’s also going to be bad for the industry as a whole. Personally I would rather have two brilliant, passionate developers than two thousand mediocre ones.

Now, I’m not saying that you should never learn to code. It comes with many more benefits than just being able to put it on your CV. It teaches problem solving, logic, and patience (lot’s of it), just to name a few. What I am saying, is that if you’re going to invest a huge amount of time in something that you don’t really enjoy, then the potential job offers later on may not be truly worth it.

Maybe try picking up a paint brush instead? The canvas might be kinder to you than it was to me, and you’ll thank yourself for it later.