Writing Software is Hard

Do you remember the enviable father and son duo who learned how to write software in 36 hours, and then built a reputable lifestyle app barely two days after they finished the online coding course they took?

You don’t?

That’s because that duo doesn’t exist.

You could be 21 or 56-years-old, it doesn’t matter. Creating software built to last and solve problems is never an overnight thing with traditional coding. In other words, instant coders aren’t real. What is real, however, are people who invest in resources and hours and hours of mastering the science of code. Like many skills, hobbies, and professions, it takes a lot of time and experience to be an expert.

Here are three reasons why writing software isn’t a piece of cake

It’s a foreign language.

Some of the most referred to programming languages worldwide are Objective-C, C++, Python, and Java—the keyword here is “some.” Meaning to say, there are hundreds more! At its core, learning how to write software is exactly like learning how to speak and write a new language. It’s never a straight-forward journey, too. Often, coding can be like cooking, where one can freely experiment with ingredients to come up with an untested tasty treat. But developing software can also be like baking, where one has to follow precise measurements to achieve a specific desired outcome.

Both new and seasoned coders can confirm that the road to developing software can be irregular and serpentine. Whereas many skills have a clear roadmap and ladder, coders can spend weeks and months learning a new programming language, before jumping onto the next to take their ideas elsewhere, and then returning to first once more to finish or create a new project altogether.

It’s long-winded and seemingly endless.

Many prospective coders don’t end up finishing tutorial courses or software development boot camps, saying that these things are reserved only for the greats, and the entire thing can be taxing and unfair. The truth is, learning how to write software only becomes exhaustingly undue when one isn’t prepared to put in the work and time. No one is born to inherently knowing how to write code, nor is anyone designed to absorb software’s complete politics in a week.

Speaking to tech experts, being part of coding communities, and constantly reading software development theories and practices all make for a good start, but it doesn’t end there. Unlike many other professions, software development isn’t a qualification one acquires before being eligible to bag a job title. Then, never having to study how to write code again—much like being a doctor, learning how to create software is an ongoing process. So in conjunction with ongoing coding boot camps, you’ll want to explore spending time with likeminded developers, going through endless threads on Quora and Reddit, and then living through trial-and-error efforts and processes.

It takes conviction and proficiency.

Former Army General Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” And the same thing can be said when writing code. Although plans and planning are integral, his perspective was that plans on their own are nothing but a written strategy. The real value for Eisenhower was amplified in the dynamic discussion of ideas, the exploration of substitutes, and the challenging of principles and philosophies among smart and opinionated individuals—something anyone will find normal between developers. Really, software development can be messy and a back-and-forth of ideas.

This is why writing code takes conviction and proficiency—and these can take a while to master.

Similar to learning many skills, learning how to write software also has its phases. The first general stage is when one is actively engaged with absorbing new knowledge with a mentor’s help—this can be an online class, a Youtube coding series, or an actual expert one refers to for help. This is when baby coders try their hand at developing software that may seem challenging but are completely doable with blistering support.

The second phase is the metaphoric giant cinder block you bump into after your first foray into writing code. You try creating a product only to find out that what you know isn’t enough, and there may be no workaround if you don’t think fast or learn what you need to right away. Coders in this stage usually attempt to Google a series of inquiries, but often fail or go astray because how do you put into words what you need to when you can’t diagnose the problem you’re faced with? Needless to say, frustration is a huge emotional staple in this stage. To a lot of people, this is where it ends or starts. Developers can either overcome this stage with the conviction to soldier on and study, or one can call it a night and never really progress from thereon.

Lastly, the third phase is the road to proficiency. This is when developers keep trying and trying until they find answers before they’re met with something that warrants new answers again. Developers who make it to this stage are those who are impassioned, not just with the drive to finish a product, but the desire to keep learning, as well. You don’t have to be a tech professional to understand that new software made by established geniuses are built on the daily, too. That means there’s always something to learn, and that’s how it’s always going to be! The back-end and front-end tech leaders will keep solving problems until newer ones surface, and other people find ways to solve them.

You can still develop applications without code.

The real reason not everyone can ease their way into software development is that, aside from affording the resources needed to learn how to write code, time is such a luxury many people aren’t fortunate to have enough of. While learning digital skills like graphic design and video editing can be arguably technical and time-consuming in their respective rights, nothing beats how labor-intensive and time-draining coding can be. Luckily for us, we no longer have to learn how to write code to build stunning and dynamic web and smartphone apps. If anything, the advent of no-code platforms has opened new doors for determined tech-savvy entrepreneurs and creatives to venture into. While traditional coding will remain superior, the limits to what you can create with visual programming aren’t bad either.

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