Now is a great time to learn how to code. The number of tech jobs has been increasing for the past decade and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. If you are reading this article, then you’ve most probably grown curious about coding and whether it's right for you. You might be thinking, ‘How do I know if coding is right for me?’, and you are not alone. The sheer number of coding courses, and the technical terms they use intimidate a lot of people. A lot of people feel like maybe they are not part of that rare breed of people or maybe you need to be good at maths to know how to code.
Coding is about building things, so it’s not surprising that having the right mental model plays a bigger role than knowing a lot of coding languages. Let’s look at some of the common traits that you need to possess to get into this field.
Knack for problem-solving
Being good at problem-solving is one of the core requirements of being a coder. In everyday work, you will have to deal with requirements that are vague and unrefined. For instance, ‘How do you code a program that allows you to analyse customer behaviour?’ Instead of coding right away, a lot of time is spent breaking down the problem into smaller chunks using logical thinking. Logical thinking allows you to see the sequence of steps that would lead to the solution. The actual coding begins only when you have explored the problem enough.
Ability to find creative shortcuts
A lot of times you will come across problems that require thousand of lines of code to solve. At moments like these, you need to be creative and lazy, as this means you will always be looking for the easy way out that saves you a lot of time. Even more frequently people will say what you are trying to code is not possible. It is at these times you need to find unconventional ways to approach the problem. This trait of the programmer is one of the most crucial tools.
Driven to know more
Coding, like any other field, is vast, and there will never come a time when you will have mastered all programming languages or understood everything. Even if you have mastered a specific language, it is not assured that you will be able to handle all the problems in a project with that language alone. Therefore, if the occasion arises, you need to be willing to learn a new language or take on a new mindset. If you are always looking to learn new things, and adapt to different situations, then you have taken a huge step towards being a good programmer.
Programmers are some of the most patient people in the world. A lot of time programming is just spent waiting. Waiting for the client to get back, waiting for the program to run, waiting to figure out the errors in the code. You will need to have this unshakable faith that eventually you will figure out a solution; until then, all you have to do is patiently do the work. If you don’t have the patience, you will most likely not even survive the first few lines of code you write.
Good at communicating
Most of us imagine programmers as these people who are locked away in their rooms or cubicles coding throughout the day. Surprisingly, there is a lot of communication that needs to happen to for programmers to make progress in their projects. You need to be able to communicate with your client, understand their needs, and take their feedback from time to time. You need to communicate within your team to make sure everyone is on the same page. You will need to write out detailed reports explaining how to use your program. Good communication skills when programming saves you from wasting precious time.
As you read about these traits, don’t you feel that you have come across them in other fields too? This is because any job that makes you flex your brain has similar requirements. If the fear of not knowing math or not being a ‘computer person’ is stopping you from learning to code, then remember being a programmer is less about what you know and more about the way you think. If you have already developed these traits, then all you need to do now is learn how to speak the language – at least one.
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