What Makes a Professional Programmer?

What makes a Professional Programmer?

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We understand literacy to mean the ability to read and write. However, in present times and certainly in the future, basic literacy will also include coding. Why? Because technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today, according to a 2017 Forbes article. The question you need to be asking then is, ‘What is the best way for me to learn to code?’.




The good news is that you can teach yourself to code. The 2017 Stack Overflow developer survey found that 90% of respondents reported that they were at least partially self-taught. This means that many are where they are today, because they took decisive action to know more.


 “Although Zuckerberg was studying computer science in college before he dropped out, he already knew how to program, having taught himself in middle school. By high school, Zuckerberg had already created an artificially intelligent music player that Microsoft attempted to buy for a million dollars. Zuckerberg declined the offer.” – Medium



What is the next step?

Simply put, an individual’s willingness and determination to learn to code code will determine his or her success. It’s not a case of whether a computer science degree is better than a coding bootcamp, or an online course is superior to teaching yourself to code. Rather, it comes down to determination.

Where you are determines your decision

At what stage of life are you at? Perhaps you’re about to finish high school and then a formal computer science degree might be your best route to follow. But even if this is the case, you need to remember that during your career you will be constantly learning, because information technology continues evolving at a rapid rate.


“Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program” – Linus Torvalds



However, if a full-time degree is not a realistic proposition – perhaps you’re looking for a career change – then a bootcamp or an online course would be best suited for you. Sometimes people realize that their current 9-to-5 is not what they want to do for the rest of their life. An online course or bootcamp offers everyone something, from an introduction to new subject matter to in-depth explanation of specific programming languages, and that is the true beauty of these courses.


“There is however a different breed of person that can be found in the lonely hours of the night, faces illuminated by the glow of a computer screen, vamping on technology.” – Dirk Strauss


At the end of the day, the answer to the question “what makes a professional programmer” is quite simply passion and determination. The fact that you are reading this is already a testament of your passion. What comes next, will be a testament of your determination.


Famous self-taught programmers include:


  • Elon Musk – Taught himself to code at the age of 12.
  • Steve Wozniak – Taught himself Fortran.
  • Mark Zuckerberg – Taught himself to code in middle school.
  • Grace Hopper – Her ideas lead to the creation of COBOL.
  • Bill Gates – Taught himself to code in middle school.
  • Fran Allen – Taught herself Fortran so that she could train research scientists.
  • Margaret Hamilton – Studied math but wrote the software to enable Apollo’s moon landing.


Read about the 10 Steps for Switching to a Career in Coding.