10 Skills Necessary for Coding

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7) Patience


On horribly hot days, you have the choice to rebel against the heat, huffing, puffing, and letting agitation overheat you even further. Or you can give in to it. Accept that you’re cooking in the sun, picture yourself melting into the pavement, erasing separation from the heat in your mind. Coding is extremely difficult. Nothing that you’ve read here, or read somewhere else should be interpreted differently. At all stages, but especially when beginning, you should expect to feel extreme frustration. However, your ability to withstand that frustration, and move through it, without letting it discourage you will serve you in all that you do. Look at your frustration as a tool to develop your patience. When you’re coding, you’ll likely go through this experience: you write something. You’re extremely confident in it. You double and triple check it, and it still doesn’t work. You have no idea why it doesn’t work, what you did wrong, how to fix it, etc. It can be a crushing weight. You can feel useless, or like you’ll never be successful, not just at this project, but in life. Take comfort in the fact that countless people have felt this way before you. How you deal with this feeling is all that matters. If you believe in your ability to overcome, find a new route, or even start from scratch and improve, you can and will (or at least you’ll have a way better shot than those that give up completely).

Paying attention to details goes hand in hand with taking time to let their meaning develop. “Details matter,” Steve Jobs said. “It’s worth waiting to get it right.” Recognize that when you’re struggling, what you’re dealing with is uncomfortable, but not intolerable. Repeating that to yourself until it becomes ingrained will be very helpful. Let the pain you feel from frustration push you to find solutions. Solutions rarely come from desperation, or the quickest, wildest approach. A big part of patience is talking to yourself. When you hear the voice of, “you’ll never do this, this is impossible, just give up,” be ready to counter it with a more determined, softer, kinder voice that represents your deeper, persevering core. One of the best ways to build patience is through reading, or really any sustained activity that requires focus. The longer you can do one thing, despite the temptation to quit, or go do another, the better your ability to overcome the frustration of coding will be.

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