I just read this blog Programming Is Not for Everybody. I have to admit to being taken aback by the premise.
I believe that in their heart of hearts everyone wishes that they could program computers. No it is not always a glamorous profession. It is often boring and tedious. It is almost always difficult to explain what you do. There are days when you wonder why do you put yourself through it all.
But if you ever experience a “Holy Crap It worked” moment, you are hooked.
Many programmers are more artist than anything else. We adapt to work in the business world. We adapt to solve business problems or scientific problems or whatever domain we have find that signs the pay checks, but the passion that drives us is the pursuit of the elegant solution, the beauty of a design brought to life (even if very few will ever see the true beauty), and the thrill of bending a computer to your will.
How do I know that this is the secret dream of the masses?
If you are in a programming shop, ask yourself how many of your co workers studied computer science. Chances are, not all of them will have a degree in Computer Science. Chances are you will know many people who studied something else first. I have friends who studied History in college, and went on to be outstanding DBAs. I have friends who earned their CPA only to discover that they preferred an Access database or the macros in Excel to their accounting duties. I know people from dozens of different educational backgrounds who migrated to IT and development specifically after college. I know many who discovered their passion earlier and skipped college all together, and are still successful. Granted you will have the best chances for success by starting out with a degree in Computer Science, but this hardly the only entry point.
I do not know anyone who studied Computer Science who has not stayed in that field. Where else can you make that claim.
Programming may not be for everyone, but if you have ever toyed with the idea, it probably is for you. If you have ever taken a calculator apart wondering how it works. If you have ever stared in awe at the source code for a web page and wondered how does this work, it probably is for you.
We have a shortage of programmers in this country. Anyone with an interest needs to be encouraged to pursue it. Not with false claims of glory and glamour, but with the realization that when the code works, there is no greater thrill. We need to aggressively seek out anyone who looks like they have the potential to enjoy this passion, and encourage them. It is not always easy, but it is rewarding, and we need more programmers.
If you have ever wondered if programming is right for you, by simply asking the question, you have answered it for yourself. That curiosity alone means that it is and you will have the ride of your life finding it out.