How good do you have to be to get a job coding?

Ok so a few things have been on my mind and maybe some more experienced individuals can put them to rest. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and not in a good way. I’m always setting the bar too high and putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect at something. This leads to a lot of anxiety which causes procrastination which ends up stalling my progress. I’m really new at this, so far I do enjoy coding, the act of creating anything has always been enjoyable for me. But my real passion is music. Coding is really my backup plan because music isn’t always financially secure. That being said I often worry how good you really have to be to get a job. To compare the two, in music you have to stand above all the rest and bring something unique to the table, but I’m not sure if that same mentality applies to coding. Obviously coding can be very creative, but I guess it’s more linear in a way? Like there’s a bit of set destination or path? Sorry if I’m getting too philosophical here haha. Just a lot on my mind. To put it more simply I’ve always felt like coding was reserved for the super elite humans and I’m not one of them. Thanks.

… but do you really?

I have been in the same boat for a while. This attitude is, ironically enough, why I never succeeded with much in music, and in exactly the same way you’re feeling stalled out when you code. It’s really, really hard to shake. It’s also highly irrational. Historically, the idea of the creator needing to create unique and novel things is quite new, and still very much a Western thing. Bach, for instance, never considered whether he was doing something great or unique or world-changing, he was simply an instrument of divine will who worked a craft. It was (vaguely) the Romantic period that brought into public (again, Western) consciousness the noble artist whose genius could only be sampled by the plebeians who can themselves only perform menial labor. Society has coupled this with an unhealthy obsession over “natural talent”, resulting in this subtle, pervasive anxiety that unless we’re bon a certain way, we’ll never do anything worthwhile. We love to hear stories of precocious youths taking apart a drill, writing music before they can read, or hacking their school’s computer so they can sit next to a girl in class. What we don’t love to hear is how much practice and work goes into each and every one of these individuals. They are who they are because they followed their passion. Society entered them into a popularity contest.

To answer your question, you need to be as good as the position you’re applying for requires. There are development jobs which aren’t terribly creative or enjoyable, and they’d be willing to take anyone with basic coding skills and a heartbeat. There are also music jobs like this. The bar is low, and so is the enthusiasm. To get the really great careers that are fulfilling, exciting, and sometimes lucrative, you’ll need the same things that even the most venerated geniuses in history have had - time, opportunity, and passion.

Follow your bliss - Joseph Campbell

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Probably not. I guess that’s just my own toxic mindset I’ve been trying to shake for years now. It’s not just music, it’s leaked into every aspect of my life. Like you said it’s completely irrational, yet I’ve had tremendous difficulty breaking free from it.

That’s interesting about Bach though. I’ll have to try to internalize that mindset more. I remember watching a TED talk about a similar thing. Apparently a lot of artists blamed their muse that never appeared if they got writers block or wrote something uninspiring haha.

Thanks for the response. I’ll just have to keep working on this stuff and keep an open mind of what I’m capable of instead of putting myself down all the time.

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Very good moral to keep in mind thanks :slight_smile:

Mat, a couple of users have posted “zero experience to hire” type stories where you can infer based on their projects and relative skill levels what it took for them to get the job. In my experience, and my geographical location which has lots of tech companies and pretty high demand, a person should be able to get a junior developer job after completing a couple of FCC’s projects, presenting them professionally, and interviewing well.

So, in short, you don’t need to be able to build an entire application from start to finish to get an entry level job, but, you should be able to read and interpret code, contribute to an existing project and most importantly be able to use the resources available to answer (coding)questions as you have them.

Sources; I work as a network data/engineer for ATT who assists developers in creating automation tools to find devices with issues, troubleshoot and solve the issue all without humans touching. So I have seen a few entry level devs and I have a decent idea of what they do/don’t know. Interestingly, I myself am learning to develop now because I find it more rewarding. Good luck to you!


Thanks for the input. I’ll definitely be checking out the stories around here. I find them very inspiring. That’s good to hear the barrier to entry isn’t as high as I thought it was. Definitely helps me not get so overwhelmed with everything I’m learning now.