DEV Community

Ali Spittel
Ali Spittel

Posted on • Updated on

What's one thing you wish you knew before you started programming?

Top comments (77)

listnux profile image

That working as a programmer/coder/developer isn't nearly as fun as coding for hobby. Actual work is tedious, you often have to meet requirements you don't like, you often have to follow practices you consider bad, cause it's how the company wants it and that, if you cannot find enough free time and motivation, you might end up completely burned out.

navarr profile image
Navarr Barnier

I code for fun. I think having coding as a job is fun. My biggest hurdle to productivity is doing stuff that I don't particularly want to do. It's killer

jamland profile image
andy_801 🔫🇺🇦

This sounds more like -- One thing I wish to know before I started working. 😄

hellovietduc profile image
Duc Nguyen

Totally relate to this. But having coding as your hobby helps you overcome the difficulties as long as you keep your work/life balanced. :D

captainawesomedi profile image
Di Wu

You don't have to be good at math.

edwinthinks profile image
Edwin Mak


So many times I've been told people never tried programming because they said they were bad at math. I feel like programming is a lot more like literature & composition, my job is to express things clearly to both humans and machines.

ozzman profile image
Ozzie Love

I do agree, it is your story, hence copyright as opposed to patent.

mcdtbo profile image
Thabo Pali

I like this response, I'm gonna use it later.

rzpicazzo profile image
Alejandro AP

At least for standard web development it might not be. For research based positions, data analysis etc etc we would most definitely need math, not necessarily to be a prodigy, but at least to have the drive to learn and adapt to it.

murtezayesil profile image
Ali Murteza Yesil

This is my favourite answer so far.

faridkhan profile image


ryansmith profile image
Ryan Smith • Edited

That you don't need to know everything or compare yourself to others. There is no need to feel inadequate because of the vocal minority in-person or online that always have a complex thought, opinion, or question on a programming topic. Learn what you need, when you need it or learn when a topic interests you and you want to learn it. Most students or developers are in the same situation as you and they are doing fine.

christopherarter profile image
Chris Arter

So true. Among my peers it's a tireless competition to see who can be the most clever, and have the most interesting and provocative blog title / tweets.

Sometimes I just want to talk about memes and fantasy football and admit that I google half my docker files.

rubyjane88 profile image
Ruby Jane


dechamp profile image

My self worth. I under estimated my pay value for years. Always taking the lost offer because I didn’t feel I was worth more. Many times seeing those who knew much less than I, making much more. I finally had a coworker years back, tell me that “you need to demand a raise for twice what you’re making or quit and get a job that does, because you have twice the skill set I do and I make twice as much as you”. That was the wake up call I needed.

aore profile image
Emmanuel Oreoluwa

Projects are important very important
Learning programming can be very clueless sometimes if u don't have a goal in mind
With Projects you run into bugs fix the them yourself which as a major part of the learning process

luqman10 profile image
Abdul Qadir Luqman

I can totally relate to this. I spent years accumulating knowledge without actually practicing my knowledge

veedhee profile image
  1. Prioritise self learning over college lectures
  2. Practice is the key to being comfortable with programming
dwayne profile image
Dwayne Crooks

Deep domain knowledge + a little bit of programming skill is more valuable than little to no domain knowledge + plenty programming skill.

Of course if you have both then that's the most valuable.

Take data science as an example. The domain knowledge required to truly excel as a data scientist is Statistics. Then add in a little Python, R or Julia and you're set.

The clearest example for me though is this video,

MS Paint is a simple application. Even my grandmother could learn to use it. But neither she nor I would be able to do what Pat Hines does until we learn the more fundamental skill of drawing.

It's the same with programming. Figure out your interest, study the domain and then leverage programming to achieve your goals.

jacoby profile image
Dave Jacoby

Funny you said 'excel as a data scientist', because you can do a lot of data sciencing with Excel.

lady_phair profile image
Amber P.

How many meetings you will attend and how important interpersonal skills are vs. hardcore programming skills.

codingmindfully profile image
Daragh Byrne

That I would end up making a career of it. It was just something I did out of interest when I was twelve - so I would have paid more attention.

It's nearly 30 years later, and I still do it and they give me money for it, which amazes me.

shane profile image
Shane McGowan

That C# is just Java for people in suits

mburszley profile image
Maximilian Burszley

You realize Java is the OG Enterprise language, right? C# sees plenty of adoption within open source and "indie" now, especially with Unity.

karataev profile image
Eugene Karataev

Try every possible way of learning you can find, but stick to the most rewarding and enjoyable ones.

ryands17 profile image
Ryan Dsouza

I wish I knew how important reading code is. I spend almost 70% of my time reading code than writing. Learning how to analyze and refactor code is one of the most important concepts in software development.

tdannecy profile image
Tim D'Annecy

Do you have any recommendations of good code to start reading? I feel overwhelmed by the number of projects.

ryands17 profile image
Ryan Dsouza

Are you working with JavaScript currently?

djtai profile image
David Taitingfong ubiquitous it is? I wish it had occurred to me sooner how often I interact with things that are programmed: calculators, POS systems, automatic doors, traffic lights, etc...

Once I did it gave me a deeper appreciation for programs, their creators, and their uses. For a while I was only associating programming with websites and databases and games and etc... the stuff I think a lot of people are familiar with.

skoria profile image
Ale Fernandez

take breaks regularly. Don't overwork your tendons. Using the CLI helps. Now I have RSI and am lucky to be ambidextrous so I can switch the mouse to the other hand every week or whenever it starts hurting. We are not made to spend 20-40 years hunched over a computer for 8 hours a day... The problem is you don't get the symptoms until about 10 years in.. It can be terrible as some friends had to abandon their careers when it started getting too painful.

danielkakai profile image

Don't be afraid to google or ask for help