While studying for my undergraduate degree, I briefly dabbled in programming as a major. I first started in the Computer Science department, but soon felt out-of-place. The introduction class was basically a “Convert this C++, which you should already know, into Java.” I felt entirely lost. Luckily, moving tothe Computer Engineering department gave me the base I needed.
Jump forward 5 years of undergraduate education, and I graduated with a bachelors in Economics. I don’t know why, maybe it was the easy way out, but I never felt like I could succeed as an computer scientist.
Today, I work for a large insurance company as a trainer; almost as removed from a programmer as you can get. But I still feel the urge to create things through code. That is why I have been working on so many pet projects; I just don’t have enough hours in the day.
How to Succeed
I am not sure I know the answer to the question, “how to succeed?” And more importantly, I really need to sit down and define what succeed is, but each night I learn another thing about a programming language that I didn’t know before and hopefully soon enough I will be someone who can hold their weight on sites like StackOverflow.
Here are my tips that I have learned so far:
- Don’t over extend yourself This is especially true if you have a full-time job that is not programming related. I find that I get some grandious idea while at work, get home and bang it out. All this does is lead to frustration when it doesn’t work and it’s already 1AM. Start slow.
- Stick to one technology at a time. Everywhere you read there is going to be some up-and-coming technology that everyone wants to use. When you are not a full-time programmer, there is no time for you to really experiment with new technologies. You need to make sure your footing is solid before moving forward.
- Finish something. It is an amazing feeling when you have finished a program to the point that it works. It is a great boost that you can use to get more excited about programming your next project. No matter how small it is, finish something.
I am sure I will have more thoughts as I get back into bloggin, but I thought this would be a good step in the right direction. Let me know what you think.