It makes me feel old to think that I learned Cobol in college because it was the only programming class. They were moving to C++, but that didn’t happen until after I had graduated. So, I started in computer repair for the first 15 years of my career. Over time, I moved into Salesforce, as my employer had a few opportunities involving the platform. In doing so, I quickly realized that I would have to relearn how to code in APEX and Java since both are significantly different from how I was taught. From my experiences, I’ll outline why I think it’s easier to be a coder today and why it is more challenging.
One of the factors making it challenging to be a coder today is the amount and level of competition. When I started as a coder, it was new, exciting, cool, and fun, but few people considered it a viable career. Today, the entire world is aware of careers in coding. Around the world people are learning to code in increasing numbers, so not only are you competing with coders locally, but across your nation and around the world. With an intelligent, diverse population, employers have a lot of talent from which to choose and wide salary scale to fit their budget. In addition, the impact of COVID, increased numbers of candidates working remotely and those released from employment, have begun to flood the market with talented coding professionals.
Another reason why it is challenging is the variety of programming languages, frameworks, APIs, algorithms, and more. It is just overwhelming. When I started coding there were a handful of technologies you needed to know. Today, the rate of change in the programming industry is continuing to accelerate and just when you think you are comfortable with the latest APEX code, guess what, it changes. Constant learning and updating certifications is the rule today.
Learning to code today is easier due to the amount information available. When I was learning the technologies, you frequently had to figure out a lot of it yourself or have an acquaintance that was an expert. It required a lot of creativity, ingenuity, and determination to be successful and compete your projects. Today, there are many resources readily available:
Additionally, many technologies existing now make coding much easier. There are countless free and paid IDEs, code libraries, open-source projects, and more that can simplify being a successful programmer. Researching and keeping track of this information is critical to your success today.
Is it more challenging or easier to have a career coding today? The answer to that question actually doesn’t matter. The real question is “Do you want to code?” You know it’s possible, if somewhat challenging, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. The real conclusion is you should do what you feel passionate about. If that’s coding, welcome to the club.
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