Becoming so disillusioned

I quit my job last year on a quest to change career paths and study to become a web and/or app developer. I thought I had it in me… I’ve always been great with computers, I self-taught myself basic coding at 13, and I have always been such a great student (graduated top student in high school and uni). Being that I always excelled at everything, it never occurred to me that I would have such a difficult time with programming. :’(

Here I am, close to one year after quitting my job, and I feel like any advancement, if any, has been minimal. I have a hard time committing myself to studying because lessons get much more confusing & complicated as I progress, and I just don’t understand them. I see other people manage it with more ease, and I don’t have that same ability.

It’s reached a point where I don’t know if this is for me, but I don’t know what else to do in life. I was so sure that development was a great fit for my abilities. Now I’m just anxious, depressed and terrified that I am trying to commit myself to a profession for which I don’t have the skill-set.

Reading through other peoples’ threads here has helped me feel less alone in my fears and personal disillusionment. It always feels like developers around me are so sure of themselves and their abilities and devpressed opened my eyes to the idea that they too have insecurities.

I’m just very stressed out that I may not have it in me. It’s hard to see the ‘finish line’ when I can actually pass through the learning stages and manage to truly code.

It would help if anyone can share their personal stories or experience regarding the initial difficulties of learning development and how they got through it… it would be helpful to hear that it does get better.

Thanks. <3

I’m sorry you’re feeling like that - I’ve been there; it’s rough.

I would question how you view ‘advancement’ and what scale you’re measuring yourself on. It sounds like you were brave enough to take initiative to change your path quite a bit (which is huge!) How are you measuring success in this instance? Like you said, everyone has insecurities in their abilities (even non-devs). If you love doing it, you have it in you - even if it takes longer to grasp certain concepts.

@ronnie - your story sounds familiar. In the 90s when I started in software development I was eager to learn everything. Soon I got overwhelmed and stuck in self-doubts. There were times when I was intimidated even by XML. It took me 15+ years to realize that I’m not too dumb and I’m not fighting technology. I realized that I was fighting myself and I was loosing.

What helped me is…

  • …to accept my own pace and not to compare myself to others, we are all unique and have our own strengths and weaknesses.
  • …that if a technology interests me or at least helps me to get stuff done, I play with it in a setting where there is no pressure.
  • …that if a technology is en vogue, I do not force myself to learn it just to have another soon forgotten ‘.js’ suffix in my resume. If it is useful to me and makes my life easier, it’s a different topic (see previous point).
  • …to ask, ask, ask - never being too shy to say “I do not understand, please explain!”.

Mart’s reply above is really good.

At a very basic level: have you tried different learning strategies, to make sure you’re learning in a way that best fits you? It sounds like you’ve been trying to go it alone, which works for some people, but others learn better/faster with a tutor/mentor/teacher, in a classroom setting, talking through exercises with peers, learning to use discussion forums effectively, etc. Maybe try mixing it up and see what works best.

A community can also help with the insecurities, which are prevalent but you’ll never find anyone admit to it in an actual workplace.