22 Mar 2022

What are Top 10 Programming Misconceptions?

Programming got a lot of traction in recent years, it became way more approachable to everyone, there is a lot of jobs in programming, and a lot of people are trying to learn to program, and there are a lot of myths that may discourage young developers. This article will clear any misconceptions anyone may have about programming in general.

Top 10 Programming Misconceptions:

  1. You need to be good at math or be extremely smart
  2. Better Programmers code in Lower-Level language
  3. A college degree is worthless
  4. A college degree is a must
  5. Programming is extremely hard
  6. X language is not a real programming language
  7. OOP is the worst
  8. You need to start early
  9. Programmers are anti-social
  10. I need to create a huge project to become good at programming

You need to be good at math or be extremely smart

Mathematical calculations on a whiteboard

Mathematical thinking is a good thing in programming, but it is in no way required. There are of course certain areas that require heavy math knowledge, but if you're just getting started you shouldn't have bigger issues without a mathematical background. You also do not need a high IQ to be a great developer, just go with it and see if programming is for you.

Better Programmers code in lower-level Languages

Binary Tree implementation in C11

C, C++, and Rust are great languages. Python, JavaScript and Ruby are also great languages! Don't let other people tell you that you are a bad programmer just because you code in a language that doesn't require working with memory or raw bytes. Using low-level languages certainly brings you closer to the machine, and that brings a tremendous amount of complexity even to the simplest of programs. Nowadays the time it takes to write software is far more important than its speed. Knowing at least one low-level language may increase your knowledge and help you understand what higher-level languages do for you. If we coded all of our apps in C or Assembly, we probably wouldn't be where we are today.

A College Degree is Worthless

Books stacked on top of each other

The type of knowledge you will get at a university is something hard to get by yourself. Algorithms, lower-level operations, how the computer works and this kind of stuff. You can of course learn all of this by yourself, but a university will mostly make you understand those topics better. On the other hand, you don't need a lot of this stuff in an actual work environment, but the experience is an experience, and who knows when it might come in handy?

A College Degree is a Must

College class with chairs in front of a whiteboard

As I've described under the previous heading, the knowledge you will get at the university is invaluable. There are just so many things that will be so hard to learn on your own. However you can learn programming on your own without any problems, you will just need a lot of dedication and hard work.

Programming is Extremely Hard

Wide monitor with code on it

It may seem so, especially in the beginning, but after you learn the basics of one programming language and the basics of programming in general, you'll be able to pick another language in no time. Programming is all about problem-solving, if you are a good problem-solver, programming may be a great fit for you. It's all about the problem you're trying to solve, not the programming itself.

X language is not a Real Programming Language

PHP mascot sitting on a laptop with PHP code on it

This is a statement made mostly by people who dislike the X programming language for various reasons, but saying that a certain programming language is not a programming language at all because you think so is just bad. New programmers may get discouraged because of people claiming such opinions. It is important to stick to one language and get good at it, you'll get way more from that than from listening to these people.

OOP is the worst

Clojure example hello world program

Object-Oriented Programming is a paradigm that was created to solve certain problems, so were other paradigms such as Reactive programming. There are areas in which certain paradigms perform worse or better than the others. Functional programming, for example, doesn't work very well in Game Development, because of the way state is handled in functional programming. There's also no need to use OOP in simple scripts. Object-Oriented Programming brings a lot of complexity to your system, from simple object vs class issues to architectural and design issues. To efficiently solve these issues, several design patterns were created, but the thing is, if you are a functional programmer or code in languages without classes, those issues simply do not exist for you, which makes people think OOP is just plain bad, which is simply not the thing.

You Need to Start Early

Group of people sitting and using their laptops

That's an absolute lie, you can start programming at any age and be as successful as one can get. Some great programmers started programming when they were a few years old, and some fabulous programmers started their journey not so long ago. It's all about hard work and patience.

Programmers are anti-social

programming team inspecting code on a black computer

This is a somehow still ongoing stereotype. Programmers nowadays need to work in teams to deliver quality and working software. You can of course be a successful programmer working alone, but a collective of skilled people will almost always be better than working alone.

I need to create a huge project to become good at programming

Woman with a highlight of code upon her

A lot of programmers tend to start huge projects wanting to create an app that would be used by millions of users every day. First off, it is simply extremely hard to do by yourself, whole teams of programmers take months or even years to create and maintain applications like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You need to take care of many things, and especially in the learning process, you may think that you can't be a programmer if you can't develop a huge app on your own. This is entirely wrong, a better approach is to build a set of smaller projects and increase your skills with every new project you create, and then eventually start a bigger project.

By Maciej Oliwa on 22 Mar 2022

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