The Top 3 Misconceptions About Programming

Computer monitors showing lines of code
Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash

Note from the writer: I wrote this piece back when I was learning to program and was gung ho about sharing it with as many people as possible. — Ben

What comes to mind when you hear the word programmer? Is it a nerdy guy in glasses who loves Battlestar Galactica a bit too much? Maybe you picture Wayne Knight as Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park.

Ah ah ah! You didn’t say the magic word!

There are three big misconceptions about programming:

  1. You have to be great at math.
  2. You have to be a genius.
  3. You have to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science.


Programming is all about being stubborn. I don’t know about you, but I’ve met a lot of stubborn people in my life. So it’s fair to say that you might be one of them. If you are, congratulations! You’re qualified to be a programmer.

In all seriousness, though, there’s a reason why I say that. It’s because programming isn’t something you learn overnight. It isn’t something you master in the 4 years you might spend in a university. It’s an ongoing craft that’s honed and perfected each day.

You have to be stubborn to be a programmer because you have to push through the inevitable problems. You have to be willing to do research on your own to figure out why that piece of code isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do.

This is my opinion, but anyone can be a programmer. Even you. Even me.

Did my pep talk work?

If you’re fired up and ready to start learning, here are three awesome resources that’ll help you:

  1. freeCodeCamp. This site is awesome. It teaches you common languages like HTML and CSS and gives you projects to work on to build your portfolio. You can also earn certifications to boost your resume and link up with nonprofits who need your help. Best of all, it’s all 100% free!
  2. Codecademy. This site is a close second. It has a wider array of languages you can learn, such as Python and SQL. There aren’t any certifications to earn which is unfortunate. It’s still a solid resource that you should check out, though. Again, it’s all 100% free!
  3. The Odin Project. This site has a fantastic curriculum covering web development including Ruby and databases. It also has a complete section covering how to get hired as a programmer. You should be expecting this by now, but this one is also 100% free!

To recap, anyone can learn programming with enough persistence and the right resources. If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge, there’s no better time than the present.



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Benjamin Gilstrap

Benjamin Gilstrap

I help technology companies succeed through the power of engaging storytelling.