Learning to program can be rewarding in more than one way. Even if you do not end up being a coder, learning a bit of code can help you do your current job better, or even earn you a pay rise.
Heck, even knowing how to write a few lines in HTML or CSS will not only make your emails look amazing, but you are sure to impress your boss too.
But is it going to be your cup of tea? How do you know you have what it takes to be good at it and is coding worth learning in the long run?
Here are some personality character traits we've found that successful learners tend to possess:
1. You are a logical thinker
Aren't we all? Every day we are typing questions into Google search that need to make sense to a computer. Yes, you are already using logical thinking, it is just that you don't know it yet.
2. You are willing to learn through your own mistakes
Each time I hit a wall when solving a coding problem, I sometimes ask myself, "What would a four-year-old do to solve this problem?"
One thing's for sure, a kid is not afraid to make a mess and make many mistakes before they arrive at a solution.
Be like a child, fall in love with the process, not the result, and don't be afraid to learn from your mistakes.
The best way to learn coding is to try figuring it out yourself, while drawing your own conclusions and proving yourself wrong over and over again.
3. You're as curious as a four-year-old
There is another skill that we can learn from children. How many times have you seen a child looking at a stone as if possessed? The child approaches each object as if they were seeing it for the first time. They are soaking up every crack in that stone, every small detail.
And this is how you should be learning to code, soaking up like a sponge and not letting your preconceived ideas get in the way.
"I'm obsessively detail-oriented."
4. You are not afraid to ask questions for fear of being seen as stupid
At a technical interview you may be asked to solve an unsolvable problem. Why? You are being tested for your willingness to ask questions.
Asking yourself questions and playing with different assumptions over and over again is what creativity is all about. You want to create code that is unique and not a clone of someone else's work.
5. You take pride in what you do
Another question you may hear at job interviews is if you perform testing of your code yourself. And if you are in it for the love of coding, the testing will not be a problem for you. You do it without even being asked, because you want to create code that makes you proud.
The fact that 78% of developers do coding as a hobby, shows how much they care about their code.
6. You love to collaborate with others
Today many developers are working in agile teams, which means that they are cooperating with other coders, product managers and end-users.This is contrary to the myth that to be successful as a coder you need to work in seclusion.
Jonathan Rasmusson, one of the top most agile experts out there, describes what it means to be a team-player these days:
"Some people get protective over what they see as “their” turf. Just look for people who are comfortable in their own skins, aren't afraid to share, and sincerely enjoy learning and growing with others."
7. You are empathic and can read your customer's mind
Your ability for seeing a product from a customer's point of view may not only decide your company's success but also your own success as a coder.
A former librarian had a library visitor asking her how to open Chrome and do some basic Word processing. Working with real users helped her later on in her career as a developer to build features that users love and find easy to use.
And this proves another point. Contrary to a wide-spread belief among beginners, your non-technical experience will not work against you. Actually, it may be your biggest ally as coders are notoriously infamous for lacking soft skills.
8. You are not afraid to fail
You are persistent and keep going even when all you want is to smash your laptop against the wall. And this is exactly what will make you or break you as a coder.
"If you asked me what's the one psychological nuance that unifies all the coders I've interviewed? They're all able to handle total, crushing, incessant failure and roadblocks…."
9. You are a good storyteller
Although maths is helpful when learning how to code, it’s not the bottom line.
Programming is also about telling a story and leveraging your imagination to visualise what it is you want the computer to do.
"Programming is the art of telling another human being what one wants the computer to do."
10. You do not compare yourself to others
The worst you could do as a beginner is to Google what other learners say about their own progress.
Comparing your journey with theirs may discourage you.
Take time to learn at your own pace and do not compare yourself to others.
11. The 9-5 cubicle is not where you get your inspiration from
Inspiration often comes to us at the most unexpected moments, for example while having a shower or going for a walk.
According to a Stanford research, a walk can boost our creativity by 60 percent.
That is just one of the reasons why a remote workplace is more valued amongst creative people than a 9-5 cubicle. Take, for example, Steve Jobs - he holds most of his meetings while walking.
12. You stick to your learning style
Are you worried that the only way to learn coding is to spend hours and hours studying alone? This indeed may be difficult, since as a beginner you do not even know where to start.
Although some people do learn coding themselves, there are many other options that may better suit your learning style.
If you lack self-discipline and need a more structured learning environment, take a degree in computer science, attend a bootcamp, or find yourself a mentor.
13. You are prepared to put yourself out there
Leave your comfort zone and go to meetups or take part in hackathons and other coding challenges. The truth is that you cannot get better advice than from people who have been in your shoes themselves.
Talking to somebody who has gone through the same things as you will motivate you to keep going and keep learning
14. Your "why" is stronger than your doubts
Passion can be a strong motivation for learning to code, but when you think of it, most of us have more than one passion.
I could build a career that would pay is as motivating as the passion for coding. So is the desire of having more work-life balance.
The more you are clear about why you are doing it, the better your chances are to keep going when the doubt sinks in.
So the question here seems not to be if coding is for you or not, it is how much coding you need to learn to be successful in your current job.
The good news is that most of us already have what it takes to become an effective coder, it is just that we do not know it yet.
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