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How To Be A Programmer

To be a programmer is not a sweet desire at all. It is one of the most competitive careers anyone can embark on with many people graduating each year from top computer science programs in the world. At the same time, with the advancement of technology, every day, there are so many innovations in the industry. Programming becomes a passionate endeavor for those who are really into it.

If you want to be a programmer; this list can help you set on the right path.

1. A degree might only be an advantage, but knowledge is a must

Programming is one of the few careers which doesn’t depend much on a degree. However, programming is a knowledge-intensive career. To be a programmer, you have to read those 10 essential books. They will cover the essential concepts of computer science as well as how to work on project teams. Setting up a techinical foundation for your programming skills, with a solid understanding of the basic concepts, on top of writing functional code, will help you to ace technical interviews and communicate with your colleagues.

2. Creativity in programming is more important than you think

Most people have kept in mind that programming is all about analytical and problem-solving skills. Well, that is partially true. Programming also involves a lot of creativity as there are many ways to write a given piece of code. This creativity is how you devise ways to code the most simply and effectively.

3. Don't try to learn everything, the trick is to learn only a few things, but learn them very well

To be a programmer, there are tons of programming languages out there. There are areas of programming that pave the way for particular career paths including web developer, front-end developer, back-end developer, software engineer, database developer, and so on. Decide what kind of developer you want to be, then you will figure out which technologies and skillsets needed for that particular position.

4. You don’t need to be a robot. It’s better if you are human

Basically, you should remember you are a human first, and a programmer second. You will easily get lost in your code when you first start to program. But you are a human being; you need to express your emotions and communicate with the society. By balancing your life to maximize fun and excitement outside of work, there will be more creativity you can bring into your work as a programmer.

5. Programming is all about applying knowledge. It’s not about memorization

Different from research field, in which you are inventing and creating new areas of knowledge, programming is all about applying existing knowledge. To be a programmer, you will often use books, research papers, online articles, and learning videos as reference resources. This is impossible to memorize everything. The best way is to reach for a resource to find the answer whenever you need. Memorization comes automatically and naturally as you practice and apply the knowledge on more projects.

6. Don't worry if Imposter Syndrome is what you have to deal with every day

Programming is the one of the careers all the “smart” people seem to gravitate towards. If you are not a genius, you will experience imposter syndrome every day. During that time, you tend to figure out a way to deal with it, then use it as motivation to learn new things. Don’t worry yourself too much, you will finally put it into perspective and just be content at improving a little bit each day.

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7. You have to have a life outside of being a programmer. Otherwise, you’ll just be addicted to programming

To be a programmer, there will be times when you are a hermit at home. However, to be a happy programmer, you have to proactively seek a social life outside of your computer screen. Often the success of your career is dependent on the people you meet. Networking is essential if you want to be a programmer. Having social relationships and skills outside of programming is essential to keep yourself from being addicted to the code. If you can enjoy your passions without being too compelled to do it, this is the time when your best work comes out.

8. You’ll learn programming faster if you have a partner

At the beginning of your career, you are likely to close your door to the world and read those 10 books on programming to build your computer science foundations and technical skills. The truth is you will learn much faster if you find a buddy. When you have a partner, all your programming “warts” come out more easily. Your code will be critiqued, and you you’re yourself to write more efficient code as someone is watching. You will want to explore the best way to do things while your buddy is learning too. When you work as a programmer, someone is always reviewing your code, which means you are never alone, at least in your work. It is recommended you should get used to that.

9. Math and Science are not everything in programming

In the technology industry, it is no surprise that you will meet all kinds of superstar programmers. They are ones who found the logical thinking aspect of programming appealing after a lifetime immersed in liberal arts education. There are plenty of painters and writers who make a living by programming while pursuing art on the side. Persistence is all you need to be a programmer. The journey requires hard work. But once you have already made up your mind, anyone can go through programming books and quickly pick up the basics. Plenty of people out there who pick up math after working in the industry for a while, these people can even understand complex algorithms and implement them without any kind of formal math education.

10. You need to be an all-star “learner”

A programmer is a master learner. At first, you cannot start out being a master learner. But sooner or later, you will get there. Often your job will ask you to pick up 3 programming languages in just half a year. That is how technology innovation works. To be a programmer, we need to learn every day. Learning is somehow like breathing. If you are uncomfortable with daily learning, you will be forced to get used to that, at least to survive in this industry.


These steps should give you the most important tips you need to prepare yourself to be a programmer. It doesn’t matter if you have been searching for the answer on how to be a programmer for many months or even years. Programming is a very diverse field which will offer at least something for everyone, including you. Good luck!

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