Last week, I shared my personal experience about why I decided to become a programmer. Here are 10 characteristics programming has helped me to develop.
1. Perseverance and optimism
Programmers have to be okay with constantly failing - your code is oftentimes not going to work on your first try. One of my favorite quotes about failure: "Fear of failure is caused by not knowing how to fail constructively.” (from The Art of Mental Training) Programming teaches you how to fail constructively - how to move forward and try a different approach each time you fail.
Staying patient through the failures is a necessary skill to develop as a programmer. It may take several attempts - spanning hours or days - to work through a complex programming problem. Sometimes you will feel like you’ve tried everything and still haven’t found a solution while a deadline is fast approaching. Staying calm allows you to continue to focus on your work rather than freezing up.
3. Organization and focus
You may be juggling several variable definitions, code changes, or alternate solutions as you tackle a single problem. Staying organized and focused is key.
4. Linear thinking
I noticed I was more logical and clear in my thought process when I began learning programming. Becoming a programmer requires you to be methodical by analyzing an issue, systematically attempting solutions, and learning from unsuccessful attempts in order to move forward. A programming problem is not going to just go away if you can’t find a solution - you must always find a solution.
Features and requirements can rapidly change in software development, and it’s important to be able to roll with the punches. Flow around the rock!
Knowing you have the resources to find a solution makes daunting problems less scary. You might not know immediately how to solve a problem, but if you know where to look for help, you will be much more confident in tackling programming problems.
When your first 10 attempts don’t work, try another! It’s important to have the ability to look at a problem from a new angle when your first ideas don’t work.
8. Attention to detail
There is a saying that good programmers are lazy - meaning that good programmers find efficient ways of doing things so they don’t have to do extra work.
Programmers get a bad rap for being unsociable and awkward, but an effective programmer is actually a great communicator. At Dialexa, we have a workspace and culture that makes it easy to converse with coworkers or ask for help. Explaining complex issues to a coworker so that you can work on a solution together is commonplace. We have a team meeting each day, where we share what we accomplished the day before, what we plan to work on today, and any issues that prevent us from moving forward. Writing code in and of itself teaches you to be considerate of others by coding in a way that your teammates and future developers on the project will understand.
I love that my profession has provided a platform to develop valuable personal characteristics that will help me to not only become a better programmer but a more effective human, too! I never would have thought that programming could be so rewarding. If you’ve ever considered learning programming, I highly encourage you to check it out.
If you have already become a programmer and are interested in joining the team at Dialexa check out our careers page.