Is coding easy?

Richard Wood on October 12, 2018

My eldest son asked me - is coding easy? Where do you start. At the Dev Academy bootcamp they were adamant that just about anyone can give it a ... [Read Full]
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I like to compare coding to learning a skill, like a foreign language. Can you navigate a city, be able to interact with people and get things done after a three-month crash course? Sure.

Would you be able to write a novel, be an editor for a publication or deliver moving speeches, using all the nuances of cultural idioms and local memes? I don't think so.

Same goes for coding. It takes time, patience and a whole lot of practice and immersion. You can get by with less, but you can't expect to perform at the level that makes you effective and desirable for senior positions.

Can you write a Hello, World! in 10 minutes? Sure.

Good luck writing a multi-threaded sorting algorithm, though.


I like the writing metaphor; the difference between asking for some directions vs fixing a plot hole in someone else's novel without changing the tone of the writing


Coding is actually easy, but to write code that is maintainable, fast, secure, tested to be as bug-free as possible and actually works can sometimes be really difficult and hard work.


I have 20+ years of experience and I would say that as soon as coding will become easy to me, I’ll switch to doing something else, like, I dunno, chef-cooking.


You definitely need to be logical to be a coder, but IT need more than just "code-pisser" (like I am).
We need designer, architect, product owner, reviewer ... and all of them need to understand code. Everyone can/should learn code, but not everyone have to code.


Apologies for a meme-post, but this little snippet struck me even after 30yrs of programming and seems appropriate to 'hard vs. easy' :

I think it's also a useful to realise that the specific tech you code with now might be useless in a few years (no matter how good you are with it or how easy/hard you find it) - and to be comfortable with that. But the ways you learned it, the way you figured out the problems and how to solve them - that's the really valuable part.

I can still remember things like the base address of the SID chip on the Commodore 64, various bits of assembly hacks for the Atari, Turbo Pascal features etc - which are unlikely to be called on any time soon ;-). But the 'things I learned while learning' them are still immensely valuable in my day-to-day work.


Most of it depends entirely on the individual. Not if they are overly smart, not if they are more educated than others. It really depends an their ability to stick through a learning process that's not always easy. I agree with knowing some basic math skills and an ability to look at things logically. Programming will force those issues as well.

To build maintainable and usable applications is an art and a science, and that's where in my opinion it gets difficult.


When should you give up learn to code? Is there a time frame?


When you decide that you'd rather be told what to do by a machine, rather than tell a machine what to do.

Eventually, I think, the majority of jobs (and wealth) will be divisible by this line as machines continue to replace old jobs and create new ones with a barrier to entry; code.


It is not easy, otherwise everyone would do it. But it becomes easy if you learn, study, and most of all, practice. It takes patience and time, almost like learning to drive. It's not easy or comfortable in the beginning, but you can master it with practice and time.

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