Feel like I'm Failing

hello everyone i’m new here and

So I am 21 years old and soon to be a junior computer science major in college and honestly I really feel like I haven’t learned much and that I really behind when it comes to programming. So far I’ve taken classes in C
++, JAVA, and UNIX. I feel like i’m ok with C++, JAVA i just hate it so much, and UNIX i dropped out of the class because honestly it scared me a lot and i didn’t want to fail because i didn’t know what i was doing. At times i feel that I’ve just wasted time and my parents money. i haven’t worked on any project on my own just because i don’t even know where i would start or what to even create.

I know this post is all over the place but i guess what im asking is there anyone else in my shoe’s and what can i do to become a better programmer and to catch up?

Hi Duke,

I can say from my own experience, and this might be a little shocking, but even though I had a degree, it didn’t prepare me at all for the real deal in the field. Honestly I was lucky enough to have a company that wanted me to learn (which they should) and they pretty much had some senior devs there teaching me things as I went along. In college I feel like they give you just a taste of things, enough to test the waters, but in the actualy professional field, things are a LOT different. You just really learn to become a problem solver. The code you learn at school and on the field are different. At school, everything is an experiment and you’re free to be creative whereas on the job, sure there’s creativity there too but your goal is to solve specific problems as efficiently as possible.

I also didn’t major in computer science, I majored in Interactive Media which I think gave us an intro to different languages and left it up to us to decide what we’re going into. I graduated being into Flash and AS3 and now years later working in the agency scene, a front-end dev and working in CMS’ and PHP. Definitely didn’t see that coming.

What I’m saying is don’t worry so much about college as work will be different. Definitely be honest when you’re interviewed, that’s how I got hired, and make it known that you don’t know everything, but that you’ll learn. That you’ll make the effort to learn.

In these computer/coding fields, we’re never going to stop learning. I graduated college about 4 years ago and am still having trouble trying to keep up with everything. Like you have to be a code ninja at every language - it’s crazy. The lines between front-end/back-end are blurring, sometimes you just don’t even know what skills you need for what title anymore.

But I try. What I’ve been doing is just sticking to what I enjoy. I tried to force myself to learn languages that just didn’t stick or were too difficult to me or I thought would make me more desirable to recruiters - and I couldn’t. I had to stop. Instead I’m learning things I want to learn and sure there will be things you have to learn that you don’t really like, but for the most part, sticking with what just “clicks” with you is what’s been helping me so far. When I applied to the agency I ended up with for 3 years, I had a portfolio with maybe 2 or 3 badly written Dreamweaver-ish sites. I once asked them why they hired me and they said that they saw the hard work I put into those sites. Sure the code was crap, but they could see I put work into it.

So I’d recommend to do something you like, maybe have some samples on GitHub or your portfolio site. I don’t think you have to have anything elaborate but I know your languages and mine are totally different. (C++ sounds hard haha!) I think investing in a site for courses will help. For a while I learned a lot from Tutsplus before I tried Tree House. Tree House is more expensive in a way monthly ($25) but they also let you put your account on hold. So you can pay for one month, pause it, not pay for however long it’s paused, and then un-pause to continue learning. They also have subtitles on their videos, and a workspace where you can practice the code and follow their video courses by writing code alongside it. They also quiz you every few lessons to make sure you’re learning. I’m finding their site more effective in learning than TutsPlus. Depends on what works for you.

Also follow experts in your field on Twitter/FB. We can’t read every article or know every trend, but you’ll catch some things here and there.

Just keep on coding. You can also improve by keeping at it. If you end up at a really cool place to work then they’ll encourage this and help you get better. Good luck! :slight_smile: