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How You Can Rediscover Your Inspiration for Programming — My Personal Journey

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Three years ago, I graduated from State University of New York at Albany for my Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science. After four years of cramming for exams and coding projects, I decided not to pursue a role that mainly involves coding as my first job. You may be wondering why I chose not to pursue a career in becoming a developer? The main reasons are the different fears I have compiled throughout my journey. I will take you through the main fear that could also be stopping you as well from opening that compiler and how you can regain the passion for coding again.

The Fear Of High Expectations (Am I A “Bad Coder”?)

The most significant factor for me is the fear of high expectations from your professors, interviewers, or even future employers that make you second guess if you are good enough. You may think to yourself, what if I can’t perform well? What if I can’t keep up with my peers? Will I be able to code based on their expectations? The main reason why you may feel this way is that you lack confidence. The reality is that many college students in their junior or senior year or even graduates probably lack in real work experience (e.g., internships or side projects). Your lack of confidence may also lead you to believe that you are not “qualified” for the role due to imposter’s syndrome.

Surprisingly, the feeling of not being good enough when coding a program or scripts is very normal. The main reason for this is the psychological idea that you are not going to be as good as the person next to you. For instance, you may get stuck on how to start your coding project for class, but you notice a few of your classmates have already finished their coding projects. You may even have an interest in starting a side project, but you realize someone on Reddit or Github has already written the code — and you may not even be able to decipher their coding. Both instances can discourage anyone from learning to program and can become another factor in why you decided to change your career path. This may factor into your decision to take a different career path in the technology field, such as IT Support or Data Analyst.

How To Overcome The Fear?

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The best way to overcome the feeling of fear is by figuring out what you are not comfortable with (Coding, technical interviews, creativity, etc.) and face it head-on! You have nothing to lose because you are already starting from the bottom, so the only direction you can go from here is up. Take some time out of your day to figure out why you decided to learn to code and what interested you in to take on programming the first place.

It may be easier said than done, but try not to compare yourself with your peers when it comes to writing code. Everyone started coding from learning the basics of “Hello World,” so what makes you stand out is the additional logic you can contribute to your code. The beauty of open-source is that the code is there for you, but you just need to understand the logic and function behind it. When it comes to coming up with a side project, make sure you work on doing your research and creating the workflow. You decide how the logic of the code will flow and what certain functions that you may or may not need.

Write Your Pros And Cons On a Spreadsheet

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I highly recommend creating a simple spreadsheet on excel or google drive, where you jot down the pros and cons of why you are interested in programming. The spreadsheet will help you visualize if you are still interested in coding. You might find it easier to draw out the ideas in a chart or a Venn diagram. The goal here is to see if you still want to do coding, and hopefully, this will spark your interest in programming again.

How I Became Inspired To Code Again

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After graduation, I realize how different the real world is compared to sitting in a classroom. What you learn in school does not matter as much as the work experience that you will gain in the workforce. I came into the realization that I have let my fear become the reason why I stopped working on side-projects.

During the COVID-19 lock-down, I became very interested in learning how to write automated scripts using Python programming language. In only one month, I was able to write my own scripts that save me time, and it made me realize how coding is not something we should be afraid of, but instead, something we should be taking advantage of it. My advice for anyone who is trying to learn to code is to figure out what you are interested in (e.g., automating tasks on Excel, PDF, Word, etc.) and just do your research. When it comes to programming, it is all about how you tackle the problem. I will suggest drawing a workflow to organize the ideas and understanding the logic behind it.

Closing

Many of us may have given up on programming, both as a hobby or for work purposes, but you should try to spend at least a few hours to look back on that last side-project you worked on, either by yourself or a coding project from school.

  1. Write out your ideas and reasons for coding. See if you are still interested in writing code!
  2. Don’t try to read everything on coding; try to look at particular functions and snippets of code that you are interested in.
  3. Try drawing workflows to figure out what modules or functions you need to know before you can build your first program.
  4. And lastly, do not let fear diminish your confidence.

From that point on, you will have a better perspective if it is worth coming back to programming. Everyone has some sort of fear when they first started. However, you should not let fear dictate whether or not you should give up your passion for coding. With that said, looking forward to seeing your own Medium article on your journey!

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