Thought-Provoking Reads for Developers Issue 1, September 2018

Thought-Provoking Reads for Developers
The Two States of Every Programmer: 1) I am a God 2) I have no idea what I'm doing
We’ve all been there. The importance is persevering.

As a software engineer myself, I spent a lot of time learning because that’s just a natural part of the job. It’s something that is part of what we do and an integral part of the industry. We’re always learning from each other, from materials published online or perhaps on paper, and there are always little gems out there that you hope will positively impact others the way that they have impacted you. That’s definitely the case with the webpages that I am sharing with you today!

Why so many Developers Quit Before Ever Getting a Job. Please – Don’t.’ 

The first item I want to share with you is an article from the freeCodeCamp Medium platform written by Alexander Petkov earlier this year.

If like me you have ever suffered with Imposter Syndrome, or have found yourself face-to-face with continuous uphill battles and struggles when programming, perhaps on your own projects, a coursework project, or perhaps something assigned to you in a junior job or internship and consequently became significantly discouraged, then this article is fro you. Alexander really drives it home that you don’t need to love programming to be a programmer and that a willingness to improve and patiently get better over time is ultimately the key to success. He also goes on to talk about that it’s important not to get overwhelmed in the face of a million and one things you feel like you need to learn (something I still face on continuous basis!) and how to approach these feelings.

On a personal note, I really wish this had been published several years earlier for it to be read by myself as I was preparing to embark on my internship.

Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years

This is a great piece by Peter Norvig, with a ton of academic research behind it, and is available in a range of different languages.

Why exactly are people in such a rush to learn programming, or any given programming language, framework, or paradigm? Realistically, this just isn’t feasible – it takes a great deal more time and effort to learn something effectively, and surely in such a short timeframe one might only develop a somewhat familiarity to a subject. Mastering something and becoming a programmer requires interest and active work, as discussed by Peter’s recipe for success, and just remember that these approaches to learning affect all topics. It doesn’t matter whether you’re drawing, playing chess, or learning how to be a parent, books and reading will only help you so much if you’re not rushing; you gotta get your hands dirty. I’ve also come away from reading this with a new favourite quotation:

Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter – Eric Raymond

How To Teach Yourself Programming

This one is kind of cheating, because it follows on immediately from the last one. If you were clicking on the links in the last article you might have seen it already, but it’s a great little comic from Abtruse Goose, and actually might be the only way to learn C++ in 21 days. At least that I know of.

Modern Frontend Developer in 2018

The mother of all articles on this post. It was only published last week by Kamran Ahmed; you might already be familiar with his developer roadmaps on GitHub.

The article goes through modern frontend development bit-by-bit, from learning the absolute basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, whether or not you should still learn jQuery, package managers, task runners, preprocessors, frameworks, etc. If you’re not sure where to go and you’re interested in frontend (or full-stack) development then this is an absolute must read, in my opinion at least. It’s definitely pointed me in the right direction when it comes to which technologies deserve my attention next. It even provides some example tasks for you to do so that you know that you’ve learned sufficiently enough to move onto the next section.

Woes of a Junior Developer – is it possible to not be cut out for programming?

This is a different one, as it is in fact a discussion on Stack Overflow, rather than an article. The initial question proposed is an interesting one, following the story of a junior developer who is having a considerable amount of difficulty and is ultimately questioning whether they are set out for this career. It’s quite apparant that the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome are sinking in, and the fear of not being able to progress or being forced to change career paths is daunting them.

The good news is, that while you can be naturally talented as a programmer, if you lack that inherent talent, that’s still okay, and you can still be a great programmer. It just takes more practice. The top two answers are good reads and are reassuring. Yes it’s possible not to be cut out for programming altogether, but since you’re willing to learn and willing to reach out for help, that most likely isn’t the case.


As I continue to read articles and information across the Internet, I’ll be sharing them on my blog with a summary of each! Reading isn’t the end all and be all, but it’s a great way to learn and to assimilate the mindsets and philosophies of other great minds across the industry and beyond. I try to share anything juicy that I find also on social media, so I would absolutely recommend following me there (Twitter; Minds) if you’re new here and are looking for some extra programming goodness in your news feed! Thank you for reading, and I encourage you to leave a comment below! Until next time.

Author: Oliver

Postgraduate MSc Computer Science student at Aberystwyth University. Software Engineer and content creator. Trying to do lots of cool stuff; writing, blogging, and live streaming amongst other things! I hope you enjoy my blog!

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