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Taylor Short
Taylor Short

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What does it mean to you when people say "Coding is hard"?

On Twitter, on this site, at bootcamps and just about everywhere that programming exists, you’ll find those who say "coding is hard". Allow me to add my two cents - coding is hard! I imagine it’s hard to different people for different reasons but surely there are areas of it we can all agree are difficult.

It’s certainly not natural for us humans to speak the 10100100 language. And yes, the code we write is abstracted away from binary so much, but it’s still a lot to wrap our human brains around!

Coral reef
Brain coral

Making sense of languages and syntax becomes easier with countless hours of practice but for myself the logic involved in programming is most challenging. Of course, logic is what makes up the fabric of programming. But as with most things, I constantly remind myself that it's a muscle that must be consistently exercised.

Logic is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear someone say ‘coding is hard’. What comes to mind after logic is creativity.

What I mean by this is, thinking of things to build. Starting with a blank canvas. There are many resources online to help with project ideas, but breaking away from 😖 tutorial hell 🤯 and starting something completely original can be a beginner's biggest challenge.

I know I'm far from being alone in regards to what is difficult as a new or even seasoned developer. I'm curious though, what comes to mind when you hear someone say "programming is hard"?

Discussion (2)

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ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn • Edited

Not to sound like a jerk, but quite often what comes to mind for me is the stereotypical stupid American saying that learning a foreign language is hard.

Most people I've seen who claim programming to be hard have no issue with creativity, what they have problems with is getting to the point they have a good enough understanding of it to actually use it. In most cases I've seen (with both programming and multilingualism), it comes down to one of three things:

  • They severely underestimate how much work it is.
  • They just can't wrap their mind around the different way of thinking.
  • They can't find any way to actually apply what they learn (not necessarily creativity, but translating that creativity to actual results).

In all three cases, you pretty universally end up with loss of interest, but most people are loathe to admit that they lost interest, so they instead just say that it's 'hard'. In most cases, I think the first two are far bigger issues for programming than the third. Most people have some idea going in about what they want to do with it (often unfortunately it's game design), so creativity is not usually a problem.

I would like to point out though that there's a flip-side to this too. It's not unusual for people who are active doing something to forget that what they're doing isn't 'easy' by most people's standards.

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dianacoman profile image
Diana Coman

There is - as with everything one does - the resistance of the medium. After all, pushing against such resistance again and again is the very definition of action. That being said, programming in most modern environments can easily be simply maddening because it's done on top of a shaky pile of code that nobody can ever fully know or comprehend or actually, really own as in being willing to stake their full reputation/life on it.