Before I got into web development, I had some preconceived notions that intimidated me into not learning how to code earlier in my life. First I thought you had to be extremely smart. Second, I thought you had to be a math expert. Third, I thought you had to memorize all the ins and outs of an entire programming language. If it wasn’t for giving it a shot, then I’d never would’ve learned that these notions I had where just excuses my brain came up with to try and keep me from doing something I was unfamiliar with. I’m sure these are things that crossed your mind as well as other things (our brains can get creative). In this post I would like to share some of the truths and experiences about these misconceptions I had, and hopefully it can ease your mind and motivate you to start learning code now.
Misconception #1 Have to be extremely smart.
What I’ve learned over the time of working professionally as a web developer is we don’t know much, if anything at all. That’s the beauty of being in this industry. It's not about being book smart and being able to memorize things. It’s more about your ability to learn things effectively and then being able to apply it. With the tech industry moving so quickly, it's impossible to know everything, which means your always going to be learning something throughout your career. So you don’t have to be as smart as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg to start coding. Right now you are more prepared than ever to begin coding. You just have to get started!
This was a misconception because you don’t have to be Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg smart and have these amazing IQs to code. When it comes to coding, it's more about the problem solving. And with problem solving, anybody can improve on that skill if they aren’t naturally good at it.
Misconception #2 Must be Really Good at Math
Let me explain what my definition of “really good at math” means. If you took classes beyond algebra then I consider that to be really good at math. What I learned is you don’t need to know calculus or trigonometry to be a good web developer. Most of the time, you aren’t dealing with complicated calculations or formulas anyway, if at all. If your comfortable with the basic arithmetic operations then you know enough math to learn code.
As you progress in your journey in becoming a web developer, you’ll soon want to learn about algorithms (which I do recommend you learn the basics). Some advanced algorithms will require you to have a solid understanding in linear algebra and discrete mathematics. That being said, there are online resources that teach you these topics and if your eager to learn, this would be another thing to add to list. You can get far without knowing the ins and outs of algorithms, but it will be a good idea to understand how they work under the hood. In the long run, this will only help you become a better web developer.
Misconception #3 Had to Memorize the Entire Programming Language
For some reason I always thought web developers wrote code straight off the top of their heads. I thought they just always knew what to write. What I learned is that’s not the case necessarily. After coding for some time, you’ll notice there are patterns to solve common issues. In some frameworks and libraries, there is boilerplate code that serves as a good starting point to speed up development time. On most occasions, someone has already found the solution to the problem your experiencing. Knowing how to google and research the issue your having is important skill to have and build on. If anything, do your best to understand the fundamentals of that technology/programming language, that way you can effectively communicate the issue in order to get best search results. Get use to being on this site stackoverflow.com and reviewing documentation. You will spend countless hours trying to find solutions to your problem.
Like I mentioned earlier in this post, if it wasn’t for just going after it and ignoring the thoughts I had about coding then I wouldn’t of been able to realize my thoughts were wrong and it was just my brain trying to protect me from failing. The main point I want to get across with this post is, you may have doubts and you have may have preconceived notions like I had, but at the end of the day, those are just thoughts. Don’t allow your thoughts to keep you from obtaining a skill set that you could benefit greatly from. Go after it!
Feel free to send a tweet or leave a comment about those thoughts your currently having regarding web development/coding and maybe I can help you realize that it’s just your brain making excuses. 😜