Coding is hard, but it’s not as hard as other things I’ve already done. So even when I get discouraged, I remember that I’ve already succeeded at many harder things than coding.
Recently I was chatting with someone about my experience learning to code and they asked me a point-blank question I think lots of us often wonder but never say out loud: “Is it hard?”
I thought it was a good question, because I think we often make the assumption that it is hard before we even ask. The truth is, I told him, coding is hard, but it’s not as hard as other things I’ve already done. So even when I get discouraged, which is more often than I’d like, I remember that I’ve already succeeded at harder things than coding.
In that vein I wanted to share a list of things that I personally think are more difficult than coding. Read this list and think about the amount of energy, brainpower, time and failure it takes to learn these things. Compared to most of this list, learning and memorizing a specific way of presenting information to a computer is almost easy!
Please share and feel free to leave your comments.
1.) Not learning to code
I don’t know about you, but I want to be part of the current and future professional world — which is increasingly about technology and gadgets and computers. To me, it would seem that being left out of this loop would, in the long run, be much worse than not being a part of the loop.
2.) Getting a college degree.
It’s reasonable to assume that we all had different experiences in college, either harder or easier, but the fact that you work at a singular goal for four (or more years) to yield just one result is pretty difficult. If you did years’ worth of work to get a degree, you can learn to program a computer.
3.) Becoming fluent in another language.
As someone who considers herself bilingual, I’m also painfully aware of the fact that my English is light years better than my Spanish. The sheer amount of work it would take to learn Spanish as well as English seems astronomically more difficult to me than learning to code.
4.) Learning calculus and trigonometry.
I really struggled with these subjects when I was in high school but I was determined to figure them out, between three high schools, after school tutorials and copious hours of exasperated frustration. But I did it!
5.) Becoming a great cook.
I’m not a huge fan of cooking, but I know enough to be healthy and get by. I have friends and family, however, who take cooking and baking to the next level by making things from scratch, messing with recipes, adjusting temperatures, letting things marinade a certain way, and a seemingly infinite number of other techniques that, while yielding a delicious result, seems just baffling to me. Considering there are people who spend years learning to cook a particular cuisine, or have spent years learning to cook multiple cuisines, picking up a few programming languages seems easy by comparison.
6.) Learning how to responsibly manage your finances.
Since we don’t learn this in school, and many of us may not be well schooled by our parents, learning to navigate finances between credit cards, school loans, car payments and bills can be super difficult. In my case it took several years to learn to do it well — but I did it!
7.) Being in a serious romantic relationship.
Learning about another person — everything from their likes, moods, memories, families, thoughts, feelings, preferences and whatever else — is exhausting. It takes time, it takes energy, it takes a lot of willpower, patience, and understanding. Ultimately, this is something most of us will do, and something that takes years, and in some cases lifetimes, to do well. If you can figure out how to make it work with another person whose thoughts you can’t read, learning to code is a cakewalk.
8.) Figuring out what you want to be when you grow up.
I didn’t study journalism in school, but became a journalist. I didn’t study digital media, but began working at digital media start-ups. I’m not sure I want to be a code monkey for the rest of my life, but I’m going to study it and figure it out! If anything, coding — like journalism and digital media — will be one more skill in my professional tool box that will help me in my current endeavors, as well as my future ones.
What do you think of this list, anything you would add?
Image by Remko van Dokkum
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