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Maybe You Shouldn't Learn Coding After All?

You read everywhere that moving to IT and starting programming is a great career move. It seems like almost everyone is trying to convince you to learn to code. But what if it's not for you? Maybe you shouldn't learn coding after all? Read on and find out.

In this article, I’ll present many of the arguments against beginners learning to code that can come to your mind. You might think it’s too hard or you’re too old to make a change. Maybe your brain is telling you to stay where you are and stop dreaming. Let's figure out if there is any truth to these ideas.

Programming Is Too Difficult

I often talk to people who are considering learning to program; they usually start out with the “fact” that programming is very difficult. They imagine that it requires some kind of magic, available only to the chosen ones. They say you have to have superhuman math skills and, if you're not a computer geek, you can't handle even the simplest code.

All that is totally wrong. Rather than advanced math, programming is really just problem-solving. It requires logical thinking, a bit of imagination, and a lot of motivation to constantly learn and improve your skills. If you open your mind a bit, you will definitely be able to program.

Writing code is always preceded by a specific need. You want to achieve a goal or solve a problem; the code you create is just a tool to do that. Don't see it as some abstract magic Elvish language from The Lord of the Rings. At the beginning, lines of code may be intimidating to some, but it's like seeing a sentence written in a foreign language you’re learning. Once you learn a few basic words and some grammar and syntax, strange clumps of letters start to form logical words and then sentences. Think of programming as learning a foreign language – but instead of Spanish, you will learn Python, Java, or C ++. And instead of using it to chat with locals during your vacation, you’ll chat with a computer or another programmer.

Reading music is an even better comparison. If you are not a musician, most likely the sheet music for a Chopin piano concerto or the new The Weekend single looks like trees and bushes drawn on weird lines. But once you get to know a bit of music theory, you start to look at the notes and hear music. It's exactly the same with writing and reading code.

Why not to learn code

Everything is difficult until you start to learn and practice it. My recommendation: try programming. It's easier than you think. Perhaps you underestimate your potential and are wasting your time in a job you hate when you could be doing something cooler and for more money. You won't know until you try.

You Are Too Old

This is one of the most frequently asked questions on the web. Forums and social media are full of questions from people who fear they are too old for a career in IT. It's not true.

Personally, I know a few people who started learning Python and later found nice jobs in their 40s and 50s. I also know of someone who retired, learned programming, and wrote an application that she placed in the Google Play store – thus earning some extra money.

Looking at the data collected by Datausa.io, the average age of a programmer is around 43. Of course, most of them have been in the industry for at least several years. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the average programmer is not a teenager on a skateboard but an adult with a family and a mortgage.

In the IT industry, non-coding skills are also important; the ability to communicate, create presentations, understand how business works, take a broad look at problems, cooperate with colleagues, and lead teams are all highly useful. Here, older people – even those with less coding experience – have a big advantage!

To get their code accepted, a developer must be able to explain it, sell their ideas, make presentations to non-tech business people – all relying on non-coding skills. People over 40 often have a significant edge, as they have experience from previous jobs and other industries.

There Are Too Many Programming Languages

The number of programming languages on the market can make even the toughest players dizzy. Which one to choose? Which can give the greatest chance for employment? Which is the best for your needs? As usual in these situations, the answer is ... it depends.

It depends primarily on what we want to do. Some programming languages are dedicated to specific applications. For example, if you want to be a web developer, sooner or later you’ll have to learn JavaScript. If you work with relational databases, you’ll need to become friends with SQL. That's how it is.

But what if you don't know what you want to do? What if you just want to try programming? In that case, I’d recommend something that:

  • Is easy to start.
  • Won’t confine you to one market niche (e.g. learning something like Swift, which is almost exclusively used for Apple mobile apps).
  • Can be used in many situations, like application development, data science, web scraping, etc.

Python is the answer.

Why not to learn code

Python is a general object-oriented language recommended by many experts as the first programming language to learn. Why? Because it is simple, logical, and consistent. In addition, it offers great opportunities; with Python, we can work with databases, create applications, automate everyday tasks, and program robots. Python has a huge variety of possible applications, which makes it one of the most popular programming languages in the world.

You don’t believe me? Then check out Rebecca's article for more on why you should bet on Python. You can also read this article comparing Python with the equally popular Java programming language. See why Python is winning.

You Don't Know Where To Start

Here, the answer is very simple: find a good Python course. There are many worthwhile tutorials and guides on the web. Some time ago, I made a pretty thorough comparison of the best ones; you can find the results in the article What Are the Best Online Python Courses?.

A lot of people look for Python programming help on YouTube. It's cool and convenient, but relying solely on video tutorials is not very effective in the long run. You can't keep your focus on a guy talking about programming for long. (I fall asleep on the boring ones.) Therefore, it’s better to focus on practice – i.e. actually writing code. Without hands-on practice, even the best knowledge will do nothing. That’s why LearnPython.com’s courses are interactive; when you do the exercises, you will write code in our online console and immediately put your knowledge to work.

Which LearnPython course should you choose? For starters, I recommend the Python Basics track, where you will learn the foundations of this great language. It is also an introduction to the programming world in general; you will learn to think like a programmer and solve problems based on real scenarios.

Python Basics

You can also jump right into the deep end and do the entire Learn Programming with Python track. It is a complete learning path that will give you the necessary tools to work with Python.

Nobody Will Hire You

There is a shortage of programmers on the market. Companies are lining up for specialists and keen to keep those they have already employed. If you don’t think there are a lot of opportunities, type “Python” into any job search platform and see how many results you get.

Employers need new employees all the time. Of course, they don’t hire everyone; you will have to prove yourself and constantly learn and develop. However, even people with no experience find employers quite quickly. Check out this article on where to look for Python jobs for more info.

More and more people, especially in this pandemic era, choose freelancing and working from home as a career. In freelancing, you are not associated with one company; you can  choose what projects you work on, set your own hours, and determine how much you earn. See how to survive as a Python freelancer.

Why Help Machines Take Over the World?

I'm a huge fan of science fiction, but even if you’re not, you probably know the Terminator movies. Is Judgment Day, when machines will rebel against their makers, just around the corner? I do not think so, although even some industry leaders have concerns about the pace of AI development. Here is a statement from a modest rocket and car maker named Elon Musk on the subject:

However, you have to admit there’s a huge gap between the robots’ ultimate victory and you learning to program and creating applications that improve your daily life. Learning to code has nothing to do with robots – unless you later decide to move towards robotics or artificial intelligence and you accidentally create a new Skynet.

Why not to learn code

Programming is to make people's lives easier, not to lead to their extinction. Leave such stories to moviemakers and writers. Our everyday worries and fears are enough; don't let the fear of machines keep you from growing and succeeding.

Is Learning to Code in Python for You?

So we’ve looked at some of the top reasons people think that learning to program computers is not for them. It doesn’t take a degree in computer science or a love of advanced math; all it takes is a willingness to learn, some determination, and a lot of practice. What do you think? Is programming for you? If so, join the thousands of beginning coders who started their journey with Python. Who knows where it will take you?

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