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Jessica Veit
Jessica Veit

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Why does becoming a developer make you a better person?

Lately I took some time to think about how learning to code over the past years actually changed me and the way I see the world and my environment. There certainly are a lot changes, but these stick out the most for me.

Number 1: Problem solving

Let’s face it. As developers we should be glad that there are so many problems in this wide world, because without them – we would just be unemployed. These problem solving skills you acquire throughout your career are providing so many benefits for your everyday life.
For myself:

  1. I don’t tend to overreact or get frustrated as fast as I usually did if things did not work out the way I wanted them to
  2. I got more creative, efficient and more mindful about decisions I make in general

Number 2: Being mindful and thinking ahead

This is one of the most important things about coding. In this profession not thinking ahead can cost your company a lot of money, they may even lose customers, because of errors you made (because of not thinking ahead and not being mindful about what you were doing).

This may sound like a lot of pressure, and yes, it is, but let me tell you a story:

I have been working as a part time junior developer since last November, and there was this one task. You know that feeling – you are reading through some kind of task and you are already solving the problem in your head, start to code right away, quick test if you get any errors and just submit it?

This is actually the way I did it since I started coding, and being a student, this always worked out for me. So, I did this, again, just as always, and I felt pretty good about myself, what can I say? I started with my next task in the pipeline, and that was it for me.

Long story short, we had really bad performance issues, because of the gigantic amount of data my little program had to process, and one of our senior developers just sat down with me and showed me some other way to do the exact same thing and it was so fast!

All of this could have been avoided by me doing more research and maybe at least finding two separate ways of performing the task, and then deciding on the "better" one.

Number 3: Accepting the help of others and being more open for new ideas

Don’t we all, at least sometimes, feel like the smartest person in the room? Thinking that we have everything figured out, just like me with my task?
I just did not see another way and I did not really think of it as necessary, but being forced to deal with my mistakes, and also being forced to improve my skills – I just learned that making mistakes is great.
And the more you accept that fact and get this mindset the more joy you will have in your life.

But with this new door opened up come some more or less positive things:

Number 4: Perfectionism

Sometimes we developers tend to discuss the smallest details and slightly lose our focus for a moment.

Perfectionism is very time consuming, but it also shows how passionate we are about what we do and this β€œperfection” we strive for is automatically integrated into our daily life too.
I noticed that I got more mindful of the words I use in a daily conversation or the things I do like body language, just as mindful as I choose my datatypes or variable names while coding.

I want perfection, but I know that everyone defines it in a different way, and as I said before – I am open for new ideas.
But in general, it prevented me from making some mistakes.

What are your thoughts on this topic? How did coding change your life?

(Photo from Kevin Ku on Pexels)

Top comments (3)

r002 profile image
Robert Lin • Edited

Thanks, Jessica-- definitely relate to all of your points! I think for all of us, at one point or another, we've all been there. A la Campbell's "The Hero's Journey"-- someone should coin "The Developer's Journey." It's a monomyth that we've all walked. πŸ™‚

To your question though, one of the ways that coding's changed my own personal life is that it's greatly empowered me. This is not a unique thought by any means, but I do believe coding is "the new literacy" and that the future will largely bifurcate between "coders" and "non-coders." And one big reason is learning how to code enables a genuine sense of agency and ability to effect change in the world.

Since I've learned coding, it's just opened so many doors. Anytime I see something I think lackluster (Blogger or WordPress, for example), the first thought through my head is almost always: Ha! I can most definitely build that WAY better! (Though sometimes, the reach has exceeded the grasp, admittedly. πŸ™„) Or if I'm curious about metrics or data around the competitive NES Tetris scene, I can easily build a Google Data Studio project, hoover in data via Google Sheets, and spin up some nifty dashboards and summary statistics in a weekend or two.

Once (a decade+ ago), I built an NPR WPF desktop app that would start streaming at a designated time each morning. That's how I woke up to Fresh Air that entire year. It was my alarm clock.

Being a coder I think genuinely changes your life. For many of us, we're the little guys-- not hedge fund titans or tech billionaires. And while many of us may harbor deep-seated (or even secret!) creative ambitions (Penny Arcade! Mega Tokyo!), we sadly --at least, speaking personally-- can't draw or sing karaoke to save our lives

So for me, personally, I've always felt like coding was my "creative ticket"-- it gave me a way to make that "tiny dent in the universe." Maybe my humble creations aren't iPhone or iTunes, but it's a genuine expression of my own interests and entirety of being at various points that've been my life. And I think that's made all the difference. 😌

lesnsex profile image

super useful also for solving everyday problems to help the elderly. children learn to code

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden