“How Difficult Is Programming?” Q&A from a Career Orientation Event / PART 1
Are you confused, too, what to study after high school, and what do with your life in general? Check out our answers to 5 questions we got at the event. To be continued!
This is part 1 of a two-part blog post. Follow-us for part 2!
You're 17, scared and confused that you will soon need to make the biggest decisions in your life so far and got no clue how you'll do that?
Or 18, with all the stress of uni application deadlines, a growing family pressure, approaching graduation exams and still no real idea about what you actually want to do with your life?
Believe us, we know how you feel. We've been there, too, and we meet new young people everyday with the same feelings and burning questions.
Also, last week we attended a career orientation open day for high school girls. Our colleague, Bora Illes talked about the difficulty of choosing the right path for yourself and shared some insights around tech careers.
She also got so many questions in the Q&A, that she didn't have time to answer all of them. But we took notes, and now we're back with more answers.
Just to make some things clear in the beginning:
- Some of these are really not easy questions. Your confusion is completely normal, and you're definitely not alone.
- Also, many of these questions are not relevant for girls only. Boys ask us about these things all the time.
- And finally: there are no magic answers to all your questions. But we'll try to answer as many as we can, to our best knowledge, and give you some tips on where to start with the rest.
So, let's jump in!
This is Part 1 of a two-part series. In this first part, we'll answer more generic questions, not specifically limited to tech careers. In the second part we'll answer tech related questions. Stay tuned!
Q1: "What if no job or school looks interesting for me?"
Another question that we got was: "At what age are you supposed to know what career, or at least what education you want?".
Again: it's not your fault if you feel lost or not interested. It's not even about your age, it's rather about your (missing) experiences. You don't yet have the chance to make well-informed decisions about most jobs or schools, because you haven't tried them. It is hard to be smart in this situation.
Especially that you must have also heard that some jobs are now disappearing, and brand new jobs are created everyday. No one know what jobs will be there in 5 years' time. You have not much clue about current ones, how could you have any about future ones?
As for the future: no one really knows what it will look like, so that's equally confusing for older people, too. There are speculations how to prepare for this uncertainty, and some say that learning coding and empathy could be a good shot. We will see. But it's definitely risky to start a 5-year university today just to prepare for a specific job you have in mind today. That job might or might not be there in 5 years. It also may or may not be like you imagined or it is today.
Also, you will most likely have to make similar decisions about new career options many times again later in your life. This is just the first time.
What you can do today is your own research. Read stuff on the internet. Follow conversations on social media and forums. Talk to people around you. Talk to your local career orientation office. Contact schools and universities. Collect info about workplaces. Go to open days.
Know that there are no stupid questions. And smart people do like young people coming with their own questions about their field of expertise. You can definitely call us with your questions anytime.
Q2: "What if I feel like I'm not good in anything?"
You don't need to be good in anything yet. It's a pity if school hasn't yet strengthen your confidence more, but you should know, you do have a lot of potential. If you believe this, you are already half-way to becoming a real star.
Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. Keep this in mind. This thought is also a basis of the so called growth mindset, which we strongly believe in and use at Codecool. We believe in you and make you believe in you too, so you'll have no other chance but succeed. And the amazing thing is that it works. 1000+ ex-Codecoolers are a living proof for it.
What can you do today? Start collecting proof that you are indeed good in stuff. And in the process, make sure to notice what you enjoy and what not so much.
Don't think about big things, start small. Follow a tutorial on YouTube and create a piece of art. Find a beginner-friendly recipe and bake your first cake. Or apply to us, and play a logic game, to find out if you have what it takes to become a programmer or not, and whether you enjoy the challenge or not.
No commitments here. You don't need to become an illustrator, a baker or a coder right away. The point is to open your mind, broaden your horizon, learn and try new skills, challenge yourself, and get a feel of different activities.
Who knows, you might find that your are actually good in something. We know you are.
Q3: "What if my parents want me study something I don't want?"
That's a tricky one, but there are things you can try.
Step one: accept that they just want the best for you. This sounds like a cliché, but it is true. They care about you and your future a lot, and want you to succeed and have the best possible life. Otherwise they just wouldn't mind whatever you do with your life.
So try not be too hurt, rather channel your energy into reaching your goal, that is convincing them about your idea instead. You'll have a much better chance for success, if you take out the emotion, drop the drama, and go all factual and objective. This is the only way you can convince them that you're not a baby anymore, but a considerate adult, completely capable of making legit decisions about their own life.
Step two: gather your data. Collect evidence that what you have in mind for yourself is a better idea. Think about the differences in the types of education, schools, jobs and career paths they have in mind, versus you want.
Think with their heads. What would convince you if you were in their shoes? Listen to the words and arguments they normally use and see if you could tackle them with the information you collected. Prepare more than one options you could accept and compare them.
Step three: communicate. Find the right time for this, when there is no rush and they are likely to listen. You can even make an appointment with them in advance to show how serious you are.
And then again: no drama, no fight, no games. You will need a cold head, and all your facts. Questions are really powerful, too. Ask your parents what they really want or have in mind, and point out why your suggestion would also be a good solution, or an even better one. Prepare notes beforehand, and practice in front of a mirror or with a friend.
In the case of Codecool, parents are normally convinced by the job guarantee, the post payment options, the 1 year duration, the in-demand work skills, and the promise of a secure, future-proof career the comes with our Full Stack Developer course. They also appreciate that their child will be in good hands with our pro mentors and a safe space in our campus and community. We are also happy to talk to the parents themselves if they like, we do that many times.
Q4: "Where can I get reliable info about careers that I find interesting?"
We said this before: do your research. Ask people. Attend open days, join online forums, ask your friends on facebook if they know somebody from the school or in a job you're interested in. Talk to the parents of your friends.
There are no stupid questions. Talk to people about what they like about their school and work and what they don't. Ask them what would they tell their 18 or 17 year old self if they could now. What do they wish they knew at your age. Don't worry a thing: they will probably really enjoy talking with you about these things and appreciate your curiosity.
You can also reach out to schools and work places directly. You can definitely reach out to us anytime.
Q5: "What if I don't need a diploma to do what I would like to do, but I still want to go to uni?"
Our question is: why do you want to go to university in the first place?
If you want to "stay a student" or "study general stuff for fun" for 5 more years, then do it! If you can afford not starting to work for 5 years, why not? Obviously, if your dream job requires some special skills that are not taught at university, let's say you want to become a hairdresser, then you will have to calculate with the fee and time requirement of the additional skills training during or after university. Do the math, and find out if the experience would worth it for you or not.
If you just don't want to completely miss the campus atmosphere, the experience of belonging to a fun community and making lots of friends, you don't necessarily have to go to a university. For example, our 1-year Full Stack Developer course can give you that, too. You also get a job guarantee, post-payment options and future-proof career opportunities with it, benefits not many universities offer.
Hope you feel already a little less confused about the whole challenge of choosing a future for yourself now.
We'll answer tech education and career related questions in part 2 of this blog post.
In the meantime, check out our school and courses.
See you soon!