Why I Love Coding

And Why I Became a Programmer

After working 30 years in health care administration, I was bored at my job and wanted to do something completely different for the next 15-20 years of my career. Health care administration has a lot of opportunities and i could have made a job changes within my field, but none of those appealed to me.

On on whim, I went on to Amazon.com and looked for a book on programming. The book I picked out was actually for teens, a book on how to learn to program with GameMaker by Yoyogames.com.

Ok. Let’s give coding a try.

On a Saturday afternoon, I opened up the book and started to go through the first tutorial. After a few hours, I had followed all of the many steps in the tutorial, and I was ready to push the “Compile” or “Run” button, to see the result.

I hit “Compile”. Error. I fixed the error.

I hit “Compile” again. A different error. I found that error and repaired it.

Rinse and repeat. If you have done coding, you know the drill.

Finally, I hit the “Compile” button, and there was a dragon on the screen, moving up and down, and a gun to shoot him that actually worked. I had made a video game. I was gobsmacked. It was almost like a religious conversion. After that experience, I was addicted to coding.

I knew in that moment what my next career would be. Programming.

Why Coding is Addicting

Coding is a bit like playing a video game. You have some easier challenges, but the real thrill comes from beating the boss and getting to a new level of the game. If you were to hit “Compile” and the program would run perfectly every time, then it wouldn’t be fun. What makes coding fun is the challenge of it. Part of what makes it rewarding is that it doesn’t work every time.

There is some psychology behind why it is fun to play video games and carries over why it is fun to code. Here is an article on how the brain releases dopamine when you play video games, which is why they can be so much fun and also somewhat addicting.

Video Games Can Activate the Brains Pleasure Circuits

At that point, I made the decision to leave corporate life and become an Independent Developer. In 2012 I said goodbye to the corporate life and began a new career as small business owner, making apps and websites.

Now I primarily make websites. Making websites is a powerful way to use both your creative and problem-solving skills.

Why Choose Programming For Your Career

There are many reasons to choose programming or a technical career in IT.

  • The work is interesting. You blink and eye, and the work day is over. No more watching the clock at work. ‘
  • Jobs are in demand, and you make more money working in the IT department.
  • While corporate jobs will be more lucrative (IMO), working as a freelance programmer is a great way to earn a living working from home. You may find that you prefer the flexibility at certain points in your life. It is also possible to have a meaningful part-time career from home.

Are You Intrigued?

As a next step, consider learning HTML and CSS. While HTML and CSS are not programming languages (they are coding markup languages), they are a great introduction to the coding world. It is a great way to decide if coding is right for you. Even if you decide coding isn’t, you will learn some very useful skills that you can add to your resume.

Give it a try. I bet money you will love it.

I teach a class on Web Fundamentals at Saint Paul College where we learn primarily HTML and CSS, as well as a bit of JavaScript and some JavaScript and CSS Frameworks, like jQuery and Bootstrap. You can learn more about the course at this blog post: 10 Reasons to Take Web Fundamentals