7 Common Myths about Computer Programming

Rear view of confused businessman looking at arrow signs below facts and myths text

When it comes to Computer Programming, there are lots of misconceptions out there. Very few people have a clear sense of what a Computer Programmer actually does. The majority of these preconceived notions tend to come from how hackers are portrayed in movies. This can be problematic, especially if you are someone trying to become a programmer. You may become hesitant because of some of the misconceptions you have. Let’s dispell seven of the most common Computer Programming myths.

1: You have to be a Genius to learn code

Myth: When people think of Computer Programmers they often imaging the awkward nerd with glasses that can solve complex math problems with little effort. This is a very common misconception that people have. It is also a dangerous one because many aspiring programmers assume they don’t have the mental capacity to learn to code and therefore stay away.

Fact: Anyone who has the patience and the will, can learn to code. Everything in life requires determination and sacrifice. Coding is no different.

2: More Experienced programmers equals a better programmer

Myth: In the world of medicine, the doctor who has been practicing medicine the longest is usually the better doctor. In the world of programming, this is not always true. Someone who has 10 years of coding experience is not necessarily better than someone with 5 years of experience. In fact, sometimes the opposite is true.

Fact: Computer programming languages change very quickly. What was relevant 10 years ago is now outdated. Therefore, everyone has to constantly evolve and refresh their knowledge to remain relevant.

3: JavaScript and Java are not the same thing

Myth: The number one cardinal sin in computer programming is confusing Java with JavaScript. Someone without any coding experience or someone just starting to learn to code might not understand the difference between the two. Java and JavaScript are two completely different programming languages despite the similarities in the name.

Fact: Java is an independent, general purpose programming language created by Sun Microsystems. Java is class-based, object-oriented, and designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible.

JavaScript is the programming language of the web. JavaScript is used to modify and change HTML and CSS. This means that JavaScript is mainly used to create dynamic website content. Things like animated graphics, photo slideshows, and interactive forms all can be created with JavaScript.

JavaScript is not Java

4: You have to be Young to learn programming

Myth: Many people view programming as a young person’s job. Because the internet is relatively new, people just assume that younger individuals automatically make better programmers.

Fact: Coding and programming are learned skills just like anything else. There are many qualified and professional programmers who are seniors. In fact in the programming Bootcamp I attended, some of the students were over the age of 40. Programming is for anyone with a mind for solving problems and the determination to learn new languages.

5: You need to be good at Math to be a programmer

Myth: A lot of people think you have to be good in Math to be a programmer. In fact, I used to be one of those people. For the longest time, I hesitated to enter the world of computer programming.

Fact: Being good in Math is a plus and can help with logic, and algorithms. However, you do not need to be a math whiz to become a programmer. In fact, if you know simple subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division, that is sometimes good enough.

6: You need a Computer Science Degree to be a programmer

Myth: There are lots of stories out there, of great computer programmers that dropped out of college, and went on to attain great success, nevertheless, many people still believe they need a 4-year degree to enter the world of programming.

Fact: This is not true. In fact, with all the resources today, they are lots of Self-taught programmers who have never taken a formal course in programming. Also, many large companies like IBM, Google, and Apple, no longer require employees to have a college degree. For more information check out my articles on 4 Amazing Websites to Learn Coding 2019 and Why Universities and Colleges are a Waste of Time in 2019.

7: I need to memorize all the syntax

Myth: Syntax is a programming language’s vocabulary and grammar. It includes commands, punctuation, and reserved words. A lot of beginners believe they need to learn all the Syntax in a programing language to be proficient. This is a common rookie mistake. I too made this mistake when I first started coding. I remember going over the same lessons multiple times until I was able to remember all of the syntaxes. On the bright side, I became really proficient in the early code I learned. The downside is I spent lots of hours and over a thousand lines of code, learning the same thing over and over again.

Fact: It is impossible to learn all the syntax in any giving programming language. Even the most experienced programmers don’t know them all. The most important thing to learn in programming is the concepts, and knowing where to find the answers. Google is your friend as well as lots of other resources like StackOverflow, W3Schools, Mozilla developer network, etc.

I am a full stack web developer living in Costa Rica. I enjoy creating websites and apps. I am fluent in Spanish, English, and Japanese. My past experience includes 13 years in the US Navy, and 2 years of Social work. My hobbies are watching anime, playing video games, and spending time with my kids. This is my blog where I write about my experience as a web developer.

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