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Advice on where to go next plus dealing with uncertainty and overwhelment as a beginner

schv09 profile image schv09 ・3 min read

I'm at a point where I'm really not sure of what I should do next. I just turned 30 recently (that might be encouraging my slight existential crisis :( ). I got interested in programming around 2014, in learning to make Android apps specifically. I started learning Java in December 2014, and I really liked it. Then I moved on to Android. A lot happened in the last years between finishing college (non-CS degree) and having to work to support myself. There were a lot of interruptions in my learning so that I really didn't make much progress until March of last year where I was able to get a remote part-time job (very hard to come by in my country) and was finally able to start dedicating more time to learning. I'm now very close to releasing my first more real-world/actually-useful app, and I'm reflecting on this whole process and thinking about where to go next.

This has been a rocky road for sure, like 50% enjoyment and 50% frustration. On one hand, I'm grateful that this journey has helped me discover the notion of programming in general, and I believe I like it. I'm just not so sure about Android specifically. I find the Android framework to be huge, not that I have something else to compare it with though. Once I started learning the different APIs and being exposed to the docs, I started feeling very overwhelmed. Even now, I still get overwhelmed. The problem isn't so much the amount of APIs but the redundacy in them. There's often more than one API that will end up doing the same thing. And it's not like all are deprecated except one. They are alive at the same time, and it's confusing to differentiate beteween them and choose what to learn and use. This situation has created a lot of overwhelment and also uncertainty for me, because knowing that there are other APIs available, I keep asking myself if maybe I'm doing it wrong, if there's a better way to do it, what's the right way to do it, etc. And all this makes me anxious. It's the lack of a clear structure to follow, the lack of certainty in the way of doing something, that makes me uneasy. But when I'm finally building something with whatever API I chose, I do enjoy it. I'm just like anxious at the same time because of the above.

At the same time, I've developed an interest for learning game development in the last couple of months. So, at this point, I'm not sure of what to do next after releasing my app. Since I'm releasing a minimum viable product, I think I want to keep updating it at least until it meets all the functionality that I planned for it originally. But apart from that, I'm really not sure if I should keep focusing on Android and getting better at it in hope that it might feel less overwhelming and uncertain eventually, and that I can enjoy it more. The other option is to explore something different like game development and see if it may be something that I enjoy more. I know that nothing will be 100% perfect, but I just want to find a productive activity that I can enjoy for a much larger percent of the time...

Either way, I believe that software development in general will always have a degree of overwhelment and uncertainty because there will probably always be large docs and different ways to approach something (hopefully there are better degrees of this than what I've seen with Android).

I think this is a hard choice for me because I feel like I've dedicated a lot of time to learning Android, and a part of me doesn't want it to feel like I wasted all that time. At the same time, I just want to find something that I really enjoy and be able to make a living with it (my part-time job was designed to only be a temporary solution while I actually find something I like).

So, here are some questions you might be able to help me out with:

  1. Is Android particularly overwhelming or is it maybe just me?
  2. What do you think I should do after I publish my app?
  3. What's you experience with overwhelment and uncertainty in programming? Any advice to overcome it?

Thanks so much in advance!

Posted on May 30 by:

schv09 profile

schv09

@schv09

Aspiring Android Developer, Industrial Engineer.

Discussion

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Do you know why I chose to program? It's because it has a huge field to explore.

Programming is like an adventure and the coders are the pirates (And the overwhelming thing? It's a treasure map!). You just keep exploring until you stumble upon your destined treasure.

Here are your answers(not the best):

  1. I found android development overwhelming too(and I quit).
  2. If you love making apps, then consider doing another project(this is probably the only way you get better)
  3. My first experience with overwhelming? when I first saw complex DSA just like binary tree, Dijkstra's algorithm, A* algorithm, and many more. And how to overcome it? Just do it. Yeah, that's it. Once you know how things work you will figure out they are super simple.

To wrap things up, keep exploring until you find a suitable field for your career to grow.

 

Thanks for sharing, and I loved your analogy, by the way :). So what kind of programming are you doing right now?

 

I do competitve programming now and then. And I love data analysis.(obviously python)

 

I don’t have any actionable advice, but I just wanted to say I’m also 30 and have a non-CS degree, and I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed/uncertain about my next steps in my coding journey. Hang in there! I hope it gets easier! 🤍

 

Thank you! It's comforting to see someone in a similar situation. I read your first blog post and hope you succeed in your web dev journey!