re: What almost made you give up programming? VIEW POST


I was attending a top CS Undergraduate program in my home country, and at my freshman years all I know is using Windows OS and desktop apps with good GUIs, so I was freak out when I use Linux at my Intro to Programming class - the fonts of Notepad++ and shell are intimidating and so computer-ey.

I also had no idea what the Algorithm and Data Structures is talking about - and got abysmal grades on that subject. I was gaining weight for about 40 lbs, crying and depressed and even took a gap year during university because no one could understand me. I constantly reflected on why I was so messed up and even taught about changing major. But when I was get in touch with one of my college friend and he introduced me to Competitive Programming. Sure, I was really struggling as in CP using Algorithms and Data Structures are not uncommon, but starting from easy problems such as arrays (IMHO) gradually I got the "programmer's instinct" such as when to use while vs loop, when to use procedures of function, when to use OOP or functional programming, and so on. I realized that little details and in sequence are very important. Just like dieting, starting small and incremental progress makes me better. Do easy things first really boost your confidence and once you grasp that mental model, you are going to be more comfortable in learning new technologies. You know what? I even adopted this concept in dieting - and I successfully drop 60 lbs and currently in healthy weight despite not having strict dietary rules. It is really just making small changes throughout my dieting weeks and focusing on getting healthy instead of merely having certain body goals. The same with programming.

It's funny I used to be scared by programming, I end up enjoy it - and even now I mainly use Linux and OSX as my first-choice OSs and very proficient in git, and end up becoming freelance software developer with some large-to-medium scale project offers. I guess Cal Newport (So Good They Can't Ignore You) and Angela Duckworth (Grit) are right - passion is made through deliberate practice, and you can imagine passion as a bottom-up tree - which bottom nodes are the little things that you can do well, and then when visit upper node that is a sum of the leaves you are getting better until eventually you visit its root - your passion.

It's more like your mental model can be fit when it comes to programming, rather than IQ or anything like that (my IQ point is > 135 FYI). And always think there is always something missing when you failed and that can be small little things. Thank you for taking time to read.


Love the story! Programming is very intimidating at first. We just gotta get over the intimidation and after it's a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing :)

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