How Hard is Coding? (Try for yourself)

Computer programmers who write code for tech giants like Google make a salary upwards of $150k/year. A lot of people think that you have to be a math genius with a computer science degree in order to write code as a professional programmer. But is it true?


Let’s try it out!

Here, take this line of code:

var x = 3

The first thing we see is var. That means variable. If you took Algebra, then you probably remember this. It’s basically a container that holds a value.

The next thing we see is x = 3.

It literally means what it says: variable x is going to be equal to 3.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Now let’s build on top of that with another one:

var x = 3
var y = 5
var result = x + y

We already know what var x = 3 means.

Then we also know what var y = 5 means.

So what does var result = x + y mean? Well if we replace x and y with their actual values, then it means var result = 3 + 5.

So in the end, you can rightfully assume that var result = 8.

And that’s it. The nice thing about code is that we don’t have to do the math ourselves because the computer will calculate the value of 8, the same way a handheld calculator will.

Computer programmers can write code to take advantage of the speed and power of computers. Through code, you can make computers calculate really big numbers, really quickly. Most of the time, you don’t have to even know the actual value of those numbers- you simply give the computer instructions of what to do with the numbers.

But coding is hardly just about numbers. It’s also about logical conditions. Solving logic is something we all do every day.

if (done_with_work) {
  go_home()
}

If you ignore the parentheses, curly braces, and underscores (which is admittedly hard at first, but it becomes easier), then what do you see?

It says “if done with work go home”, or in proper English “if I’m done with work then I will go home“. In some ways, reading code is like reading bad English. 😂

So is coding actually hard?

The journey to becoming a professional computer programmer is hard if you have no prior experience with it.

It’s hard… until it’s not hard anymore.

The above code example was as easy as it gets, like reading a book at a 1st grade level. But as you graduate to more advanced programming, you will realize that all concepts in computer programming are actually simple. It’s when you put all the simple elements together, that something sophisticated is made.

But it’s not just about writing code

If you were to write a novel, you wouldn’t just spit out words onto a page. You’d think about the characters, situations, and storylines. There’s a structure that has to be followed in order to write a good novel.

The same goes for coding. Coding is not simply writing code. In the professional world, a coder is called a software engineer. And like all forms of engineering- it requires planning, architecting and testing. Even though you don’t necessarily have to get a degree in order to learn how to become a software engineer, you still need to learn the fundamentals of computer science as your career advances forward.

Everything is hard… until it’s not

Similar to being a professional mechanic or a professional tennis player, it’s just a matter of practice and persistence. The key thing is to not overwhelm yourself. Start slow. Start with the bare minimum fundamentals and build your way up to more advanced skills. Don’t rush or you might risk burning yourself out and scaring yourself out of continuing to learn.

Once you get the hang of programming, it feels like you have superpowers. All of a sudden your smartphone, laptop, Playstation all start to look less like magic and more like lines of code.

Feel the power!

After enough experience, you can land a remote job as a web developer, app developer, or other technical roles that branch from computer programming. You can also consider pursuing freelance work with clients to work on the type of projects you want.

Getting a coding job

A developer is someone who uses coding (A.K.K computer programming) to build software. Websites and mobile apps fall under the umbrella of modern software.

The road to becoming a developer starts with understanding the different computer programming languages that are used in the tech world today. When it comes to earning a good salary, you should know what the most desired coding skills are before comitting to learning a coding language.

Once you’ve become proficient in one or more languages, you need to understand the ecosystem of software development. The exact skills you need to learn vastly depends on what area of focus you want to learn.

Frontend Coding

For example, artistic coders tend to like frontend UI (user interface) development because you can build beautiful visual interfaces for website and app users to interact with. In this area, you’ll often learn about HTML, CSS, Javascript, Angular, React, and Redux.

Backend Coding

On the other hand, backend development is all about working with the flow of data. This requires an understanding of servers, databases, networking, and backend systems architecture. In this area, you’ll hear about Node, SQL, MongoDB, Docker, and Kubernetes.

Finding a coding job

If you are curious about what the market is like for remote developers, check out these recent remote developer job listings:

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