07. Don’t forget the fun

fun

So far, I have been writing about some of my experiences regarding learning to code, working as a coder who is just starting out etc. and I didn’t mention a very important aspect of the whole story, and that is fun.

It’s quite simple, actually. If you don’t like what you’re doing, chances are it’s going to be a lot harder for you to learn it. Sure, you won’t always get fun tasks at work, but when you are learning and practicing, you should always chose a task that has some appeal to you.

Let’s say you are learning loops. You need to learn them and be able to recognise a problem that requires using a loop. Those problems are countless, so start with the ones you like. Remember those punishments in school where you needed to write “I will behave during class” a hundred times on the blackboard? Well, you can do that in a loop in a fraction of a second. Want to calculate your annual salary using just addition, without multiplication? No problem, loops will help you. Remember – you can make many mistakes in the meantime! Everyone makes mistakes while writing code. It’s not etched in stone, the code can be easily changed in your text editor and you can run it again.

I remember an anecdote from my wife’s college days. She attended a class in sociology (I don’t remember which one exactly) and at the very beginning, the teacher asked the students to tell him what would they like to be doing at that very moment. “I’d like to be on the beach”, one of them said. The teacher wrote it on the black board. “I’d like to be at home, snuggled under my blanket and watching movies”, the other said. “I’d like to be exploring space”, my wife said.

After hearing and writing down multiple examples, the teacher told them: “Take a look at the blackboard. None of you said they would like to be working. All of you opted for fun activities. Marx was wrong, humans are not naturally beings of labour.”

More and more companies and recruiters seeking new people know this and they approach candidates differently. They tell you you’ll be working on cool projects in a friendly atmosphere and that you’ll have beers on Friday. They want you to know fun is part of the job description. I like that (as long as other job perks at the same level). They know that a worker who likes his workplace and colleagues will be better at his job and that he’s more likely to stay.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fun and games. Sometimes you’ll be on the verge of quitting, frustrated and disappointed. That is normal and it will pass. Try to have as much fun as you can while learning to code and you should be fine. If you cannot see any fun in it what so ever, it’s not the end of the world. Perhaps you just hate the whole thing and don’t want to do be a coder. There are a thousand other things in the world you can be. But try giving coding a chance and have fun while doing it.

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