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Keep Calm and Start Coding: How to Fight Coding Anxiety

John Selawsky on January 15, 2021

Does programming sound like a stressful job for you? People believe it shouldn’t be since it seems all coders do is sit in front of the screen, typ...
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Sabine Emden (she/her)

I agree with the advice for new software developers to pick one programming language and master it thoroughly before learning additional languages. I would add career interest to the criteria for selecting your primary language. For example, JavaScript would be an obvious choice for frontend web developers, while data scientists may be better off with Python.

However, I don't believe you have to choose your primary language at the very beginning of your coding journey. Explore the field a bit and find out what interests you. Most basic programming concepts can be found in most, if not all languages, and it doesn't much in which language you learn them. Pick a language - any language - that has good learning resources and a friendly community. Be curious and explore different career options for developers. Once you've found your niche, choose your primary programming language. Happy coding!

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Andrew Baisden

Well said I agree with this.

gingercatjayne profile image

I certainly feel this article was written with me in mind! I, too, am in the older (over 50) age group. Last year, I did html and CSS with Sololearn, and although I have ventured practising this with FreecodeCamp and W3Schools, I feel as if I am stuck in a record groove! I like html and CSS and feel so comfortable. I have started a course on becoming a WordPress developer, I don't mind the solitude of coding, I like being challenged. But I am still not sure this is the right path for me.

sssiobhan profile image

Stuck in a record groove! That's funny. I know for myself, I was pretty crazy when I was younger and I had a lot going on. Plus, the internet used to be so basic and lame. I like the way things are right now. If being old seems like a problem, I will just use a filter πŸ€­πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Ί

chukwukagideon profile image

Thanks alot for the tips.
I've covered some basics of web development in past times and I want to learn JavaScript as my primary language.

Would love to know of any good friendly community for JavaScript beginners.

brandelune profile image
Jean-Christophe Helary

Imposter syndrome

I have no issue with that. I know that IT salaries are overblown. Obvisouly, they are still way below what they create as extra value to the owners of the code so we still have a case of productivity gains pocketed by share holders and not workers.

Not being a real programmer

I've been in IT for 35 years, solving problems that involved code I did not fully understand, writing code in languages I did not fully master, and all sorts of other things. I know "real programmers" who are not able to do what I can do, etc. What we do is what defines what we are. If the label people stick to us doesn't match, either we try a bit more to match or we change of label. There are tons of jobs in IT that are "programming jobs" and do not involve programming from morning to evening.

Starting too late

With life expectancy at 75+ for a lot of us, starting anything now (50+ for me) means I could be proficient with tools I don't know yet in like a year or so, and I have 25 years or experience in various IT fields that can help me find things that 20+ years old people don't know or understand or care about. That's fine with me.

Tip #1, primary language

The comparison to natural languages proficiency is tricky because it's more complex than that (I'm French, I've lived in Japan for the last ~25 years, and I use written English on a daily basis, my working language is Japanese and I barely use French on complex issues anymore). Plus, I did not really have a choice in the languages that I speak/learned/use.
Java is a suggestion that fits my current activity (free software collaboration on a Java based package), but I'm not sure I'll even be able to sell that. Plus, I'm not sure what I want to do with that language learning thing right now. So, Java ? I'm not sure, but I get the arguments (pay, teaching quality, availability of jobs, etc.)
Also, I see where getting a job can be a priority and then learning a language that hires comes as a #1 tip. But what if I want to create applications/services on my own ? Like macOS apps ? How does that influence my way of thinking about my priorities ?

Tip #2 planning my education

The native language comparision was interesting, but here the breaking down of concepts makes it look like learning a computer language is a totally un-natural way to learn a symbolic way to think. Would I focus on learning "pronouns" and then "adjectives" and then other aspects of natural languages to learn them ? Is that the best way to actually learn a computer language ? This tip feels weird.

Tip #3 ressources

Interesting list of items. I would have thought participating to free software development would have made it there.

Tip #4 communities

Interesting. Communities are nice. I guess my thought about free software development above is covered here.

ordinari_john profile image
Amaechi John

I'll totally agree with you on the last reason why programming learners are stressed out. I personally come across people that would want to start learning how to code but they feel frightened by the fact that they are starting out late.

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Diego Paula

Great post, you mentioned many things that i identify with. For sure i will put into practice a lot of what you wrote. Thank you so much! Great way to start #CodeNewbieChallenge

kamalselnhrawy profile image
kamal s elnhrawy

i think i will go with python for now

kingtoby123 profile image

you're a blessing- This will definitely help me get into it. Thank you so much!!!

ebbs237 profile image

Well said , This article ngives you the feeling of I am doing everything wrong. It has given me a better way to approach complex programming language features.

Thanks very much

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Leon Kompowski

Completely nice advices for new programmers as me. I really felt identified with more than one of the reasons why coders don’t feel at peace.

jrlunap profile image
𝔏𝔦𝔠. π”π”²π”«π”ž

One of my biggest issues is: I like it all. I really need to focus on one thing!

ordinari_john profile image
Amaechi John

Thank you John ! This is a value-packed post that has just cleared some bugs in my head.

jak7 profile image

I need to follow every bit of advice in this article. I need to look at all the times I didn't finish a challenge or a totorial as one step closer to my goals.