Coding and computer science is a fast-growing industry. Everyone wants to get an app out there, become the next big thing, and retire. Legions of gamers want to see if they can do better than the pros and realize their best gaming ideas. Others just want good job security, which a job in programming provides in spades.

This is actually a very possible career path if you’re talented. Talent isn’t enough, however. You need the programming skills to back it up, and not everyone is a good fit for programming. How do you know if you have what it takes to be a coder?

–You must be adept at solving basic equations (and complex equations)

You don’t need to be Einstein, but you do need to have an understanding of algebra and geometry for most applications of computer science. You’ll at least need to be able to lay out basic equations in most cases and complex equations in some advanced instances, like writing physics engines for games.

You can’t get away with knowing nothing about math, unfortunately, so make sure you can pass a high school standardized math test before throwing your weight behind a career in computer science.

–You should have an unwavering passion for computers

If you’re averse to technology, it should go without saying that getting intimate with computing logic really isn’t your thing. If, however, you enjoy computing tasks and technology in general, programming may be for you.

It should be noted though that programming requires much more from the user than basic computing knowledge. While some do self-teach, it might be in your best interest to invest in coding classes coding classes or a computer science course of some kind.

–You need to have a logical mind

If you’re wired to think of most things as having a logical outcome, i.e. if you do this then this will happen, you’re possibly a great fit for computer science. While humans and life in general don’t normally work this way, computers do exactly what you tell them to.

Humans have thoughts, motives, emotions and other neurological functions that affect how we perceive data and affect change, but computers do exactly as they’re told. If you tend to think of life as having logical consequences for specific actions, this may be the field for you.

–You need to be able to figure out creative solutions

It may seem like a counter-argument to the last point, but a good programmer is both logical and creative. Programming languages weren’t developed to be able to handle every single contingency, but are versatile enough that they can be made to handle your specific situation with the right workaround.

For example, C# has no built-in functionality to make an object “jump.” Instead, it has functionality to apply “force” to an object in space to make it appear to jump.

If this weren’t common knowledge and you were trying to solve this problem, being creative with the tools at your disposal would be an absolute must. Very few things come pre-packaged for you in computer science, so you should be able to figure out creative solutions.

–You MUST like to take things apart and see how they work

Maybe one of your favorite shows is Discovery’s “How It’s Made.” Maybe you like tinkering around with your video game’s .ini files to change how the game loads. Maybe you can take apart your sink and put it back together.

If you haven’t already pursued a career in plumbing, coding can be your thing. A lot of programming is trial and error. Write something you think will work, test it, and rewrite it. Then when you finally get it, you feel unstoppable. If this is something you can do and enjoy doing, start today!

Programming is difficult and arduous, but extremely rewarding, useful, and lucrative. Even outside of work and hobbies, just knowing how programs function can help you immensely as a consumer trying to troubleshoot other people’s programs. If this profile more or less fits you, you owe it to yourself (and to the world waiting on your inventions!) to get started as soon as possible!


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Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and marketing. With over 20 years of startup experience, Robert is now retired and hopes others can benefit from his writing.