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Programmers Are Distracted Today

Developers today have trouble setting career and life goals and staying focused on them.

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I’m a computer science undergraduate and have been programming for about 2 years now. I also a blog at http://theleancoder.net/ where I write about programming and web development. It’s been only two months and I’m coming along quite good. I have almost 200 email subscribers and a decent number of site visits. I also write on 4 major programming websites. But it was not the same about 6 months ago. I didn’t accomplish much in the first one and a half year. Why? What happened? The same what is happening now with lot of other new programmers. Today, programmers are distracted. I’ve been through this that’s why I want to talk about it.

When I wrote my first “Hello World!” program, I was surprised like every other new programmer on this planet. Seriously, it’s a moment of great joy. I didn’t have any idea what to do next. The program was in C so I decided to learn C. I borrowed the classic “The C Programming Language” by K&R from a friend and started reading it. I did the exercises, took help from the internet and also from some of my friends. I learned the C language. Some time passed. Then I learned C++ and after that I learned Java. Every time I took a new language, I was excited. I loved the new features. It was fun to play with them. I went on learning new languages, loving new features with an addiction to master them all. I had no idea what I was doing. As a result, one and a half year passed doing this. Enough of me for now.

The Open Marketplace

Software industry is a big sea and every new programmer is like a small fish in that big sea. Everyone wants to be a big fish but everyone can’t be the big fish. That’s not how it works. However, in the world of programming, the scenario is a bit different. Programmers are the largest consumer of the internet. We use it more than any other average person. What’s the reason behind this? The answer is because there is a galore of free stuff and kind people out there ready to help you out. That’s why even being a small fish, you have all the access to every corner of the sea. Obviously, there are also some people that charge for their guidance but still, they don’t charge very much. And it’s fair too. There’s nothing to complain about. It’s like an open marketplace where you are invited to show off your charisma and set your price. 

Programmers Are Greedy

But it is this open marketplace that is the main obstacle for most of the early programmers. There’s so much free and exciting stuff there out that everyone wants to grab everything. Every other day, a new Javascript framework is popping out. Every new month, a new developer tool is ready to be installed on your machine. Every new year, a new programming language is being born. We programmers are a greedy species. Just like Fallout 4 excites us, a new TV series by Marvel excites us, a new Superheroic Javascript Framework excites us even more. We decide and sit to learn a certain framework because it’s the demand of the hour.  We think learning it will put us in a good position or a growing startup. Then suddenly a new framework pops out with an eye catching tagline and that’s it. Now we want to learn the new framework but don’t want to leave the previous one. We want to learn it so quickly that we search the internet and search results come out with unbelieveable titles like “Learn ______ in 24 hours”, “Become a ______ ninja in one week” and “Zero to hero in ______ in one month. Believe me, that’s not the best way to learn anything ... except if someone has put a gun on your head (which I think is not the case with most of us). Programming was never meant to be learned that way.

What Is The Right Way?

After literally wasting one and a half year achieving nothing, I decided to change the way I live. I decided to refuse wasting time and start doing something productive. Something with a goal, with a strategy, doing what I wanted to do, to help. One day, I came along with this youtube channel of an excellent software developer and advisor John Sonmez. I watched some of his videos and I was amazed with his advice. I subscribed to his free one week blogging course and started my own blog shortly afterwards. Now, I write about what I learn on my blog. I’m gaining confidence day by day. I have developed an effective learning mechanism. I have started contributing to open source projects and I am preparing to start my own project soon. I’m highly motivated and want to pursue the entrepreneurial path for which I’m working constantly.

What I want to convey is that programming is not about learning a bunch of languages and frameworks and living in your own world of heroism ... in a world of illusion that you are the master. No one is going to care how much you know. Programming is about solving real world problems with your skills, putting content on internet that people can refer to when they face problems, helping new developers out there living in this illusion. All you need is to set a goal and work towards it. I created a blog and I’m happy with it. People are subscribing my blog because they like what I write, they find my content helpful. If you want to get into a big software company, work for it. If you want to become a entrepreneur, start working on your million dollar idea. It you want to contribute to open source, jump to Github.


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Published at DZone with permission of Ankit Singh, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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