Updated: Jun 19, 2020
There is common awareness that the digital world around us, including this blog post, is made possible by people who program computers a.k.a. programmers / coders. Yet I find that all too often people young and old are deterred from even starting to learn how to code because of some commonly held misconceptions which I am going to share and debug below:
Misconception #1- You need a degree in coding or years of experience to succeed in this field. Well first of all the degree is not necessary as according to this much-cited Stack Overflow Survey two out of three developers are self-taught. We can also cite some famous examples of self-taught developers for instance: Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, for example. He taught himself computer programming at just 10 years old and by age 12 he had coded a video game called Blaster; who he sold to a magazine company for $500. There’s also Lyndsey Scott a famous Victoria Secret Model who developed a well-known app called ‘Educate!’ who started coding in middle school by creating games on her Graphing Calculator and has now gone onto develop many successful apps! Even if you don’t end up loving coding, in just several months of doing it you will have a better idea of how the technology works, helping you make better life and career decisions as well as helping you see more business opportunities
Misconception #2: Coding is monotonous. Minute to minute coding feels a bit like solving a series of puzzles, be it on the back of a newspaper or in some app (like 2048) which to me is not monotonous at all. But the fun part is imagining something like your own version of Space Invaders or a witty A.I. chatbot companion and then being able to create it and share it with friends. It’s an art form with very few constraints probably a bit like writing a fantasy book, one part is creative and open-ended like coming up with characters and an imaginary world and one part logical: avoiding plot holes and maintaining a plausible chain of cause and effect.
Misconception #3: Being a coder can be uncommunicative. Yep, occasionally, you hear a story of some guy who locked himself in a room for a year and developed an awesome game/website. But the truth runs very much counter to this narrative. Let me elaborate with a little thought experiment, imagine a world where everyone is smarter than Einstein but for whatever reason, we do not communicate, there would be no way one genius to build a road or a phone cable let alone create computers and internet. 99% of the technology around you is built collaboratively and done so in a way that resembles a 100 artists painting on the same canvas. So really judging by the technology around us it is obvious that despite appearances to the contrary most coders very active and effective communicators.
Misconception #4: Coding is very complex and involves special technology
After all, computers are complex: they crunch several billion calculations per second, involving binary numbers in the trillions which somehow translate into text, images and audio. No person alive understands half the processes that go on inside their computer second to second. . . yet we have no trouble using email, checking Facebook, Twitter and reading news. This is because of something called abstraction, the idea that we make complex digital systems into tools that are easy to use. So coding, particularly in a language like Python, is designed to be easy and user friendly much like your favourite websites.