So you watched some Hollywood movie or HBO show and decided you want to become a coder and make six figures, sitting with your laptop next to the pool while get a massage from some hottie?
Maybe you should give it a second thought because the idea of being a coder is getting oversold imo (I’m talking 70+ RSI oversold). From famous tech entrepreneurs to guests on the Joe Rogan Podcast to woke publications. Everyone is (over-) selling the dream of becoming a coder.
I for one, would recommend you do the opposite and turn around and run while you still have a life. What qualifies me to piss on you parade? A 10 year plus career working in a software team gaining first hand experience. Let’s look at the facts.
Coding is hard
It will take you ages to get any good at coding. Sure, everyone can google a “hello world” example for their language of choice and compile or publish it but to get to a complete working app while take much longer.
On to of that, the biggest chunk of software development isn’t the actual coding, it’s the thinking process. Think of all the logic you need, make a sketch and flowchart,… You might be working for days or weeks before actually typing a letter of code. It’s a guarantee for headaches.
You likely won’t be making “6 figs”
Everyone thinks coders make beaucoup money and swim around in dollar bills while, in reality, results may vary. Only the top 1% of all coders work at some Big Tech company in Silicon Valley making the coveted 6 figs while paying 10k in monthly rent. It’s not the deal you think it is.
And now with Big Tech hiring based on your skin color or what’s between your legs (and how you feel about it) instead of merit there’s no honor to working there anymore, you’re probably better off working for a smaller company in a smaller city making a decent wage while not overpaying for your rent and everything else.
We don’t really need that many coders
There’s been this idea that in the future everything will become automated and the only jobs left will be coding jobs while everything else will be done by robots and AI, talk about overselling. Meanwhile, Google shows me ads of some product I just bought a two year supply for yesterday. We’ve long ways to go…
We’re not going to “code everything”. In fact, we’re coding less and less. Which brings us to the next point.
You don’t need to code to build
You don’t need to code to start a blog or website, you just get WordPress. You don’t need to code to start a webshop, you just get Shopify. You don’t need code to build most stuff, there’s nocode tools and a bunch of external tools you can link to them.
As said earlier, building isn’t about typing code like a madman. It’s thinking in concepts, designing architecture and building it using nocode tools and external APIs, without a single line of code.
Lifestyle (remote work)
How about sitting next to the pool with my laptop? I don’t need the 6 figs, just get me my hottie.
Again, you may have been oversold a dream. In practice, not many managers will allow working from home and there’s a good case to be made for not wanting to work outside anyway. Try it one time and you’ll be wishing for a quiet, air conditioned office with all your stuff in it.
Covid is over, companies want you to get back to the office. If you truly want a lifestyle, work freelance or better yet become a lifestyle entrepreneur, then you don’t need to ask another adult for permission to go to the toilet.
There’s no I in coding (wait, hang on…)
Coding is a team sport. Like football, or basketball, or that other football, actual football. If you’re working for a company (with maybe the exception of a small family run company, but they’ll just outsource it to a bigger company), you’re going to work on big projects with multiple people and you’ll have your very specific roll to groundhog every day.
So no having it your way, better attend meetings half of the time while following your daily checklist. This is no place for (wannebe) heroes.
You’d be doing it already
Perhaps this is the best reason of all. If you truly wanted to be a coder no matter what you’d have done it as a hobby since your teens (and end up being good at it without actually trying).
You can’t force yourself to like something and if you do something you hate over and over you’ll never be good at it.
If you truly wanted to be a coder, you’d probably be a coder already. Don’t do it for the riches, there are no riches. Don’t do it for the lifestyle, there is no lifestyle. There’s only some dude and his keyboard. Hate it or love it.
IDC; I still want to be a coder
So still thinking about learning to code? Well, don’t.
When I was in my teens the Matrix came out and everyone wanted to become a hacker and follow white rabbits. Nerdiness gets oversold, maybe you are one of the few who actually enjoys coding, but if that were the case you’d be doing it already instead of reading this article (or maybe you’d read it ironically). If you want a lifestyle and a shot at 6 figs you’re probably better off starting an online business anyway.
And if you just want to code and don’t care about the money, there’s options as an indie developer building small projects. There’s likely no riches in it (although you could come up with the new Angry Birds) but you’ll have your lifestyle job doing what you love sitting next to the swimming pool (hottie not included).