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Discussion on: What does it mean to you when people say "Coding is hard"?

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Austin S. Hemmelgarn • Edited on

Not to sound like a jerk, but quite often what comes to mind for me is the stereotypical stupid American saying that learning a foreign language is hard.

Most people I've seen who claim programming to be hard have no issue with creativity, what they have problems with is getting to the point they have a good enough understanding of it to actually use it. In most cases I've seen (with both programming and multilingualism), it comes down to one of three things:

  • They severely underestimate how much work it is.
  • They just can't wrap their mind around the different way of thinking.
  • They can't find any way to actually apply what they learn (not necessarily creativity, but translating that creativity to actual results).

In all three cases, you pretty universally end up with loss of interest, but most people are loathe to admit that they lost interest, so they instead just say that it's 'hard'. In most cases, I think the first two are far bigger issues for programming than the third. Most people have some idea going in about what they want to do with it (often unfortunately it's game design), so creativity is not usually a problem.

I would like to point out though that there's a flip-side to this too. It's not unusual for people who are active doing something to forget that what they're doing isn't 'easy' by most people's standards.