Programmers, don’t stay in your comfort zone.
Staying in our comfort zones is very fun, but what are the consequences and how can we stop that.
When I started university at the age of 17, I chose to do IT because my university of choice didn’t offer economics. In my first semester, I was introduced to programming, that was far from my expectation, I thought only CS students did heavy programming, but boy how was I wrong. In my second semester, we started learning C++, I decided I would master C++, but that was no easy task. Sometimes as humans we are obliged to stay in a place where there is no pressure, anxiety, or stress, but sometimes it is these complications that help us grow. The place we all like, thus no pressure, anxiety, or stress is called the comfort zone. Did I master C++? First, let’s look at what comfort zone is.
Would you take the leap of faith?
What is the comfort zone?
According to Wikipedia “A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”. A Comfort zone means we are in a state we feel very comfortable. Our regular habits and routines are said to be our comfort zones. When in our comfort zone there is little to no risk, we do things automatically. Sometimes it is good to be in our comfort zones, but staying in your comfort zone for a long time can have very negative impacts on us, when in our comfort zone we tend to stop achieving our goals, we let opportunities slip by, we stop challenging ourselves and we let complacency seeps into our system.
The comfort zone, literally
Why we often stay in our comfort zone?
Staying in our comfort zone is something we all do periodically, it is part of our human nature. Nobody wants to stress. The fear of failure is a major cause of us staying in our comfort zone for a long time. When partaking in a certain activity, as humans we sometimes think about all the possibilities that might come out from it. We fear if we fail, we will fail our families, friends, and people we love. People tend to avoid risk at all costs. The avoidance of risk is a major part of us staying in our comfort zone. We tend to ask ourselves “What if?” questions, “What if I lose my job? What if I lose my money? What if I don’t know how to program?” Asking ourselves these questions makes us want to avoid taking risks.
Comfort zone and programmers.
Programming is the type of job that changes every few years, new improvements are being made to how we code, this requires programmers to learn a lot. Visual Basic, Perl, Objective-c, Cobol, CoffeeScript, Scala, and Lisp were all programming languages used in the past but are no more or they are slowly dying. This shows us that in the programming field if you want to be relevant do not sit on your toes, do not stay in your comfort zone for far too long. According to Mashable and Ian Atkin on Quora Bill Gates knew Visual Basic in the 1990s but he has also learned to code in C, C++, and C#, this clearly shows programming is about keeping up with advancement in technology. You cannot stay in your comfort zone and expect to grow as a developer. To grow you need to push yourself to learn new things, to work with new technologies, by doing that you are surely going to stay on top of your game as a programmer.
Daily practice as a developer is sometimes fun
How to get outside your comfort zone as a developer.
Try learning new things as a developer, though you will face discomforts, try pushing through the discomforts because it’s that place learning happens. Try learning to use the command line instead of the user interface, use vim instead of notepad try reading technical books. Try learning new programming languages that will be relevant to you, go to HackerRank and try your hands on some problems, start small, and gradually make your way to the harder questions. Build projects that interests you games, websites, and apps, start with small projects and work your way up. Try sharing what you are learning with the outer world, post on Twitter, Instagram or write on Medium, try taking risks. By doing these activities you will surely grow as a developer.
With hard work, mastery can be achieved
“Some of us, particularly those with mortgage, car, and health bills for a handful of dependents, along with ungodly amounts of midnight poop and vomit cleanups behind us, just don’t have the time to get out of comfort zones anymore by eagerly rubbing our hands together with glee at 1 AM while navigating to the reference website for Node JS… after firing the software developer’s proverbial starting gun, the sound of cracking open that heavenly can of diet coke. To be more accurate, I don’t think such folks, as myself, actually have or remember what comfort zones are anymore. I have to force myself to learn what’s new(er) by shoehorning it into my everyday work. My position description is one of a software developer. But, by the nature of my workplace, I do DevOps stuff on a fairly regular basis. I have to script. But I’ve been forcing myself to stop using bash so much, and, oh God forgive me for admitting it, Perl, when I just need to wade through some log or other data file. Instead, I forced myself to learn Python, instead of at 1 AM, on an as-needed basis. I think I hate Python as much as I eventually learned to hate the Medusa-like ugliness of Perl. But hey, it’s what all the cool kids use and, you know what? Getting Python to interact with the likes of databases and networks, among other things, is just a dream compared to Perl, let alone CLI binaries + bash. The moral of my addition to your story is, even if it seems like you don’t have the cycles to break out of your comfort zone, it will be worth it, and more than just for the sake of some existential exercise. Imagine the joy of adding yet another buzzword to your resume!” — Jason Gabler
With daily practice comes mastery
How I am growing as a developer?
As an IT student, I learned C++ in university at level 100, and I mastered the basics of C++, thus building console applications. But I wanted to learn how to create games in C# using Unity3d, so I decided to teach myself how to write code in C#, C# is not thought in my school of choice but I got a course about C#, learned how to use the documentation without watching tutorials when I faced challenges, and I thanked myself I learned C++ well, it helped me to learn how to code in C# relatively fast. Though I am not a master in using C# and the .NET libraries, I am learning how to code better every day. I also learned how to use git, and so far it helped me a lot. As we moved from level 100 to 200 this year, it has become a requirement for us to learn Java programming language, I am taking it very seriously because I want to one day build Android apps. Here is one of the first code I wrote in Java today in class.
My first codes in java
I know it is far from perfect, so I will continue to push through all the discomfort and unfamiliarity I face when coding Java till I become better. I also started reading technical books that I know will help me, Fundamentals Of Game Design and Clean Code: A Handbook Of Agile Software Craftsmanship, I know it is hard but I will keep pushing till I will become better, and I won’t stop there.
Let us continue to push ourselves from our comfort zone learn new things, build projects and share our work on social media.