Programming is the only thing I have


#1

I am almost afraid to touch my computer right now, but I’m finding solace in this website. I am 15 years old and an aspiring programmer. It has become my life for better and for worse. I’m so frustrated with programming. I love coding, it’s a great feeling to create something out of nothing, but the more I do it the worse I feel. I am socially inept. I can’t communicate with anyone. I am the friend that no one likes, that no one invites, that no one talks to. I can barely talk to my family. It’s just me and my dad. I have a brother and sister but they are a few years older, and have their own lives.

One of the most uninspiring factors of programming for me is the money. Because I am a teenager, I can’t get a job. The only jobs I can get are on freelancing websites, which is working for less than minimum wage. I have no money, and the headset I am wearing is literally falling apart as I wear it. Even if I could get a job, I wouldn’t have the time for it, since I am in school for most days, starting again tomorrow. :frowning:

I mentioned that I am the friend that nobody likes, I don’t know how to change this. When I speak it sounds convoluted and awkward. Maybe my sentences are too long? Maybe the words I use are wrong. It hurts to go to school and find that all of your friends have gone out together, and you weren’t invited. I do have friends, but it doesn’t feel like it. Because of this, I spend all of my free time programming and doing work around the house (maintaining fish tanks, doing laundry, etc.) You can see the wonderful social life that I have.

I am trying to make games, and hopefully make some money that way. I am creative and humorous, and my game ideas reflect that. But with such a boring life, I find it hard to believe that I could entertain another person, while I can’t entertain myself. I try to keep my games simple, but even so they never work.

Currently, which is probably why I am so upset with programming, is because I am stuck on AI. I am trying to learn the A* algorithm. I am getting stuck at the very last step (tracing back the best path.) I am using libGDX, a java framework. It is poorly documented, and there is no place I can ask for help when I don’t know what the problem is. I’m trying to figure out a game I could make without pathfinding but every game pretty well has it. Which is frustrating because it means every developer but me can figure it out.

So why am I writing this post? It’s because I hit a roadblock while programming. I have no money and can’t make any money, and all of my equipment is breaking, and I have no social life.

Why do I keep programming? Because I feel that it is the only way I can escape from this. Maybe I can make friends programming (no luck so far, and my city doesn’t have any meet ups.) Maybe I could make a successful game, I can make money from, and buy some better crap. It’s both the cause of my sadness, and the end of it.

If you managed to make it this far, thank you for reading.


#2

The fact that you’re already thinking about your career and how to make money shows you are a very bright and motivated young man. Programming is a lucrative career and starting this young will surely put you on track to a great career. You are going to hit road blocks but you are only 15! I didn’t start programming until I was 20-21. There are people here who didn’t even start until they were 30+. As long as you enjoy it and keep at it, you will succeed.

I was depressed at your age, and I had a lot of friends. I went to a lot of parties, people thought I was funny, etc. But deep down none of that mattered or helped with my depression in any way, and I would lie in bed some days very upset and would use gaming as my escape. What I realized as I got older and reflected was that I was trying to get people to accept and love me when I didn’t even accept and love myself. I wish someone had told me that at the time; if I had just learned to accept myself for who I was and love me for who I am I would’ve been much more happier. A lot of what you are saying were things I told myself too (“Do people even like me?” “Really?” “I’m so awkward”). I was very cruel to myself and never gave myself a chance. Do you have family/extended family to talk to about these issues perhaps? Talking helped a lot.

Another thing that helped me was finding online communities related to my interests (in my case gaming). I found a group of friends online that I would hang out with after school and just shoot the shit with and play online games with (or just voice chat with while surfing the web). I never met these people in real life, and eventually we parted ways as we got older, but it made me feel less alone growing up and helped me be more confident in school. Maybe you can find an online community for young programmers? Or what other hobbies do you enjoy? Maybe a fish tank community? Sounds like you like gaming too?

Money was a problem with my family growing up too. As soon as I turned 16 I went job hunting and worked fast food. While the money was minimum wage, it still helped and I could buy things here and there like computer parts or games as long as I saved up and was smart with my money. Balancing school and work though was a bit difficult and it does eat up a lot of your free time.


#3

It’s great that game development is a hobby for you but it’s unlikely that you’ll make any money from it in the near future. At only 15, I think you should simply focus on school and creating your first game in your spare time if this is something you’re passionate about. Put aside any expectations about profits.

A lot of creative-type people have to experiment for a few years before they can make a living from their work.

It looks like you’re unhappy with your social life and I certainly can relate to your situation (I didn’t like high school). However, social skills are like any other skills. It gets better with experience.

Is there a group you could join ? Maybe a local sports team ? A club ? Any interesting extracurricular activities at your school ?

Good luck


#4

Firstly, sorry for my English is not my mother language.
Before, I was in the same situation. My social life was poor and miserable.
After the school, I stayed in my room all the day doing programs or sometimes playing games. Only some days, I went with my cousin to play soccer, but one of those days, I made friends and they invited me to a team. Now, every friday and saturday I have games.
The point here is that if you have a hobby like soccer, basket, music or any other, try to join in a club. It’s easier make friends when you’re sharing a hobby in common

The most important thing is that you aren’t an adult, you’re only 15. I know that the money is important, everybody wants money, but you’re an adolescent. You don’t have to worry about that for the moment. You can do games and gain experience for more later create a big project and receive money. But be patient. That area is hard and it requires experience.

Regards


#5

You’re doing fine here. You can talk to us and my email is in my profile if you need to talk to someone directly. I wish I had better advice about the social life stuff, but the best I can do is to say I’m 99.9% sure you’re being way harder on yourself than others actually view you. Try joining something at school, anything at all.

There’s a tag for the library at StackOverflow with some answered questions. Try posing a question as best you can there. Worst case it gets deleted, but more likely you’ll either get an answer or some help reframing your question which may help you solve the problem.

I don’t know your situation so maybe there’s something important I’m missing but I agree with the other posters: stop focusing on making money; you’re 15, it’s not your responsibility to be your sole provider. If you do need to make money, making games isn’t the way to do it. That’s a long-shot proposition. The freelancing websites are hit or miss and the popular ones tend to be lowest-common-denominator propositions where the cheapest dev wins. You don’t want to try to win that game. I keep a list of job hunting bookmarks here which may be of some use (though they tend to be Django-related). You might also trying posting a thread to Hacker News asking how to get some interning experience. Or find some subreddits where people are looking to mentor.


#6

I wish I had half of the level of commitment you have at your age. I only started to code when I was 18 years old when I started college. So, really, in terms of programming skills you have a huge advantage.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, like other users have suggested, StackOverflow is a great place to start.

Roadblocks? Problem solving? Hours and hours beating your head against the wall? That’s the baggage of software development, I still feel like an idiot at least once a day and a senior software developer will tell exactly the same thing.

I am 23 years old, I am finishing my Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering and I am still broke :smile:

We’re here to help, and I truly believe in everything I said above.


#7

Join a few clubs at your school, branch out and be friendly with people.


#8

Well, if you made it as far as understanding an algorithm such as A* at the age of 15, you have proven to be smarter than many professional programmers.

However, despite being smart, you need to keep your life in balance. Being in balance is important for any activity, no matter what it is:

  • Your nutrition: reduce sugar (35g max daily), saturated fats (up to 10% DV daily). try more adding more fiber, vegetables, water.
  • Your fitness: find something to remain active. walk, run, play pokemon go, walk someone’s dog, do planks, squats, pushups, burpees, whatever.
  • Your hygiene: take care of your hygiene, including dental hygiene. especially if you are prone to acne.
  • Your posture: get used to keeping the right posture. avoid slouching.
  • Your demeanor: smile, you might use slang but don’t be vulgar.
  • Your attire: no need to buy clothes and shoes all the time but at least wear them properly. keep your clothes clean, ironed, clean shoes, whatever.

You are 15, and you will not be 15 again. Enjoy being 15 years old.
Try to achieve more balance, step by step. Being a programmer is OK is that is what makes you happy, but don’t forget balancing your life is important.


#9

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.