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  1. #1
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    Should I REALLY become a programmer?

    Recently, I've registered at a career college and will be starting my courses for an Associate's Applied Science with a concentration in computer programming. I plan on going for a Bachelor's afterward.

    I signed up before doing as much research as I would have liked to, TBH, but I was in a time crunch and I procrastinated for too long.

    I don't know if I'm a fit.

    I am a relatively intelligent, systematic, detail oriented person with good technical skills and I enjoy working with computers, but I don't know enough about programming to know if it's for me or not and I really want to keep my options open.

    First off, I am NOT a visual thinker. I know that many programmers are. I do have a fantastic memory for code and do not mind looking at it for hours on end, but I fear I may fall behind at some point due to my inability to think in 3D, etc. I can't picture any of the framework in my mind, if you will.

    Also, I'm really not sure how much visual thinking is involved in prigramming. Please forgive my ignorance, LOL. I know that this is a skill many programmers seem to possess.

    One reason I have some anxiety about this is because I have something called NVLD (non verbal learning disability) and have never been sure what to do with my, erm, style of thinking. I have an uneven set of abilites, I've excelled in both writing/language based things and scientific/technical based things in high school, though. I am very average in math, but am horrible with geometry (again, visualizing shapes, spatial awareness, etc) I feel this might hinder me in programming.

    So, basically, I'm just looking for honest advice. I've tried to buckle down and do some hard research on other forums but have been been getting lost in all of the terminology that I don't understand and haven't been taught yet.

    What kind of learner/thinker do you think is best suited for a career in programming?

    Do you think having very average math skills and very limited visual thinking skills is a disadvantage?

    I haven't even started this program yet (still taking pre reqs) and I think I could switch to another IT program without my Financial Aid being affected.

    I'm not hesitant to do so if this isn't a good fit for me.
    Last edited by HerpDerp; 01-22-2012 at 05:19 PM.

  • #2
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    Well you probably won't know until you try. Take a few programming courses and see how well you do and even if you like it. Some people just don't like writing software. No one is going to be able to tell you if you'll do well in it, everyone is different.

    I wouldn't say you need to be able to think in 3D.

    Your math skills shouldn't matter too much; one of the reasons math is usually tied in is that math teaches you good problem solving. (How to get from A to B to C.)
    OracleGuy

  • #3
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    Since you're not taking any programming courses right now, do you have time to start learning one on your own? That may help you make up your mind before you get too deep into your classes.

    If you like to program, you may find that you excel at it. I don't like to do calculus, work out, or play piano, so I'm not very good at them. I like to program, though, so I became good at it. The way you described yourself doesn't scream "won't make it as a programmer" to me.

    Like oracleguy said, give it a shot and see if you like it. Try a few different languages if you can. Some people like C#, some people like PHP, and some people like Python. It's much easier to tell if you like and will be good at something if you're programming in a language you enjoy.

  • #4
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    I wouldn't worry about your "visual thinking" issue. Just don't take a job doing computer graphics

    But I agree with the above, and really encourage you to grab a book, or find a tutorial in C. Personally I find it sort of the litmus test for programming. If you can sit down are really get excited about what you see in a programming book, want to learn more, want to hop on a computer and try it for yourself, this is good news. If it bores you to tears, it may not be the topic for you.

    Dave

  • #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KuriosJon View Post
    Since you're not taking any programming courses right now, do you have time to start learning one on your own? That may help you make up your mind before you get too deep into your classes.

    If you like to program, you may find that you excel at it. I don't like to do calculus, work out, or play piano, so I'm not very good at them. I like to program, though, so I became good at it. The way you described yourself doesn't scream "won't make it as a programmer" to me.

    Like oracleguy said, give it a shot and see if you like it. Try a few different languages if you can. Some people like C#, some people like PHP, and some people like Python. It's much easier to tell if you like and will be good at something if you're programming in a language you enjoy.
    I will be starting these classes really soon, six weeks and I really wouldn't know where to begin before that (and have a tone of homework all the time e_e ).

    Hmmm...I've always been "good" with computers and I actually do like to mess around with HTML and picked up on a lot of it before I ever learned any of the actual code.

    BUT, HTML is much easier and I don't think being "good" with computers is really accomplishment for someone my age (27). I grew up with them.

    I really do learn code easily(have a great memory for it, anyway), and language in general and on many career aptitude tests programming is always a suggestion that comes up. It doesn't bore me, I get lost in books and other things that interest me for days and have been the type to sit at my computer for 8-10 hours in the past learning how to fix things(nothing major, no hardware experience or anything but I taught myself a lot of things other people have to be guided through), but I'm definitely the type who enjoys something others might find tedious or boring.

    Thanks for all the replies, I'll know it six weeks which isn't long at all. The first class in programming is Visual basic. Glad to see that visual thinking isn't something I should worry about. It seems like so many programmers think like engineers and that was intimidating to me. I do have a good visual MEMORY but like I said, otherwise I'm a spatial failure =X

  • #6
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    Programmers are required to be creative and solution makers. I find the job to be far more abstract, with major underlying principles. It is like being a mechanic. You have a specific set of tools to build your vehicle, and you can create basic parts (functions) and put it together to make a larger whole, like how the battery hooks up to the starter (classes), and then how all these interconnections build the car (the program). You just need to be able to understand and see how every small bit works together. If you can do that, this career is definitely for you.

    Also, it has great financial rewards. But if you do not enjoy programming at all... you'll sooner saw off your own foot than reap those rewards. So pick up a simple language to see if you can see the greater picture and the basic rules and concepts.
    Web Design Omaha Ne
    Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.
    - Henry Ward Beecher


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