Jan 09, 2017
This is Part 1 in a series about how learning how to program could affect your career and some of the experiences I've had with programming in mine
Whether you should, or should not learn to program (or code) is a pretty hotly contested topic. The opinions usually focus on whether you quit your current career and focus on programming as a full time job, but there is another option of learning programming on the side to supplement your current career. I'll be writing about that.
I'm not going to try to sway you one way or another, but I will give you my thoughts and let you form your own decision. I'm writing this so others trying to make a reasoned decision can consider my experience if they find it useful. Although I've been exposed to computers my entire life, I really picked it up professionally 5 years ago sort of unintentionally.
Off the bat I'll say that learning to program on the side has been extremely beneficial for my career. I've been able solve problems in my domain that others couldn't, even full time "trained" programmers, and I've been able to gain much more flexibility and satisfaction out of my job.
However it wasn't the simplest thing, I wasn't able to do it in "24 hours" or within one bootcamp, or even three. Even so others I knew didn't make any traction at all, and learning to program really did nothing to benefit their career. Even with my positive experience, discussions with others have led me to advise them to avoid programming. Programming isn't a silver bullet to success, even myself typing right now I know programming alone is not going to be able to magically be the one thing that makes everything awesome at my job. But its undeniable that it's a skill, both as a hobby and as a marketable ability.
In the upcoming articles I'll talk about some of the benefits, but also challenges, I faced when attempting to do this, how I was able work the new skills into my current career and how interactions with full time developers worked and didn't work. In the next post I'll specifically talk about what I mean with the title