How to deal with doubt from parents/yourself?

Hi everyone, I am 23 M located in Toronto, Canada. Long story short, I am going to college in September for a 3 year degree program here that has coo-op terms depending on your grades. My reasoning to go back is to really set myself up for success in the industry and learn as much as i can outside of school and not worry about the time its taking me so much and make friends/contacts as I hardly have any at the moment so i can work on business ideas in the future potentially with people.

I am facing personal doubt as I’ll be a lot older upon graduating and delaying my income potential, I’m motivated to kick-start my life after screwing up my undergrad in the past but i know saving money is important even if you dont have the greatest job. I know this sounds dumb but this is a dilemma im facing internally.

Also, my parents are supporting me in this decision somewhat but I’m facing doubt from them as they believe the industry is over-saturated and I can’t compete with people form overseas and that I wont be able to sit in front of computer 10hrs/day, be successful learning, too much stress/competition etc.

I’ve learnt quite a bit on my own the past three months and have been motivated everyday after my dead-end job even if its an 1-2 hrs of reading or watching something related to code and like all of you are motivated by the potential of obtaining and working in an industry that is fulfilling mentally, professionally, financially etc.

I’m just looking for general advice on moving forward and eliminating internal doubt as well as not worrying about the future and where you;re at financially/personally? This is easier said than done but any tips/strategies would be appreciated.


Older? So what?

Think about it… would you rather quit now, and work at $10/hr fast food dead-end job with no chance for advancement? Or work hard today, eat shit (as GaryVee would say), invest in yourself today, for the potential of making more in the future and also being more fulfilled doing something you like?

Say “you know what mom, dad… I love you guys, but I’ll prove you guys wrong.” And go do it.

You can eliminate self doubt if you have built up a series of small wins! Say, complete a programming challenge everyday, or build a simple project/website every few days. Do this day, day out… on your 51st website/project, you know you did better than on your 1st website/project. Keep doing it… on your 101st website/project, it will be way way better than your 51st website/project. And as you build upon your learning and experience, it becomes an exponential growth. When you look back and see what you have done, after learning all these skills and getting experience, the self doubt will slowly go away and you’ll become more confident on what you can do.


If it helps, you’re younger than I was when I went back for a degree in CS.

And the market is definitely not saturated.


There are two sides to this that I am seeing. Responding to inside and outside influence.

Responding to influence
Everyone has their own personality type, and their own way of dealing with outside influence. From what you are saying here, it sounds like you place importance on what people close to you think (your parents), and what works for people who are in similar situations. This is not a negative by default, as collecting information and opinions from others before making a decision is a good skill to have. However, this can become a negative when you allow it to influence or override your decisions too much.

My advice is to direct your focus inward with a variety of tools/techniques.

If you’re a fan of reading, I recommend “The Power of Kabbalah”. This book has some spiritual influence (Kabbalah is part of the Jewish religion) but I am not religious and still found it incredibly useful for my self-growth. This book is not “self-help” advice, it’s a collection of thoughts and ideas about how the world works, what the universe is, and how you can think about yourself and your life in solution-oriented ways.

If you enjoy a more practical approach, there is also a technique known as mindfulness. There is a ton of resources on this topic, from videos, to mobile apps (for meditating and being mindful), to articles, books, and published mental health research. Mindfulness, in short, is all about being aware of your own thoughts and feelings. It sounds easy and simple, but I will tell you it is the hardest thing I have done in my adult life.

There is an article that I read recently about how all events that occur are processed by your brain through your brain stem which is where emotions occur, and is then passed through to be processed logically by other regions of the brain. These emotions affect every decision, interaction, and purpose that you do every day, without even realizing that emotions are guiding you before you have time to logically think and decide something. Mindfulness taps into this by focusing on just being aware of what you think, how you feel, and if it is emotional or logical. Is it negative thoughts you are turning into reality, or are you seeing things for what they really are?

When it comes to dealing with internal and external doubt, these are a couple of tools that I personally have used to change myself and found incredible relief and success from. I love to take input from others, and I’m a very agreeable person, and it was ruining my life. Now I know the difference between doing what is right and best for me, and accepting input from others or my own thoughts.

I’m 27, almost 28 by the way. I only have a two year degree in college and I’m just starting to truly understand programming in a way that might net me a job in the next year or two. You are not late, and you shouldn’t worry about comparing yourself to others anyways. In some cases this is useful, but in life it is the worst thing you can do to yourself. We all have a different path. A year ago I was a single alcoholic with a party lifestyle, and this year I’m successful in my work, have received 3 promotions, and I have two kids and a fiance. Who cares if others are graduated already, already married with a house, or already their own boss as a business owner? I’m doing just great for myself and that is more important to me than any other thing in life. I’m happy.

Do what makes you happy, and think deeply on it until you are 100% confident in your answer and no internal or external doubt can shake you. That is my advice.


And if you don’t do it you will be a lot older but without the degree…


I definitely agree with your points, thank you, I’ve taken the small wins approach and it has helped me a lot, i guess just hearing it from somebody else helps too.

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I’m just about to hit 32 and am completing the FCC curriculum to land a career in the industry. Right now I work in a manual labor position, but that isn’t stopping me, nor should it stop anyone else.

In other words, you’re definitely not too old. Practically-speaking, there is an age after which recruiters will probably look at you funny if you apply for a junior developer position, but even then, I think the right attitude and skill will get you in. Oversaturated or not, there is a real need for developers.

At the end of the day, you have to have a can-do attitude, and develop the confidence to make your mark by consistently meeting your coding goals.

Good luck in your journey, and believe in yourself. Truly, that’s what it has to come down to.


Thank you for your honest answer! Yes, I’ve definitely heard about mindfulness and have always wanted to start it but it is not easy as you said. I am trying to start reading more so I’ll take up your offer as I’ll have some time before starting the program if I do. I definitely have changed my thinking and want to do what makes me happy, pushing through those internal and external barriers will be really rewarding and its great that you have!

Exactly, better to be proactive in any way if that’s school, boot-camp, etc than not at all, thats my logic as wel!. And I’d say my parents see that as well but change is scary for them obviously and programming is foreign to them

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Thanks man, likewise! I just had one of those days right, and talking with them just made it worse. I hope you push through it as well!

I think it’d be better if you found someone to support you emotionally. I don’t know if I’d have gotten this far without the unconditional support of my loved ones. My older brother didn’t believe in me for a while until I had been doing it for long enough to prove I was serious. But it doesn’t feel good to not have that support and there are days where you totally need it from somewhere. So I recommend that if you can’t find it in your current situation, you should look for it and get it somewhere else like having a programming partner or something to keep you going on the days where you doubt yourself.

You are definitely right, as much self motivation i may have it is difficult, this is something I struggle with unfortunately and I’m hoping to change and find when going back to school or elsewhere.

First off, I would like to say that a degree IS NOT necessary to get a job in development. It helps as far as getting paid more and getting some jobs with elitist requirements, but it is not necessary. Personally, I have a degree, but did not find it all that relevant in seeking work, but I freelance.

There are many stories of here from people that got jobs at a later age in life. Personally, I am 43 and am not finding it an issue. If anything, people tend to trust me more as I am older.

The one thing to avoid as you get older is not to get “set in your ways” and not be able to adapt or embrace new technologies and methods. That is the one thing employers are worried about with hiring older people.

I don’t believe that the industry is over-saturated. There is always work out there. Since you are working with the internet you can always find work somewhere in the world. The hardest part is getting your initial job. Once you have experience it is a lot easier.

The things that will make you fail are a lack of motivation and self-doubt. If you are coding for a couple of hours every day and your normal job, you have the DRIVE and the MOTIVATION to succeed. As far as self-doubt goes, that is a personal thing that everyone struggles with.

The way that I overcame that is a mindset that I will never let anything beat me. Early on I worked for a couple of places just to get some experience with how things are done in a business setting. After that I started working for myself. It took me a while to get going, but once I could support myself, I stopped looking for an actual job.

I just simply look at anything that tries to get in my way or stop me as an obstacle that needs to be overcome. You have obstacles and issues with coding that you have to overcome. You overcome those, so why should life be any different?

If you have taught yourself to code, you are already a success. All you have to do is find an employer that recognizes the success in you. You will get a lot of no’s when looking for employment, but it only takes one yes. This is the same for anyone in any field.

Keep your motivation going and just tell your brain to shut up when you start having negative and self-doubt thoughts. Just keep persevering through the negatives and that will get you to the positive results that you wish for. Your personal drive is what will get you through anything.

Hope this helps!


I think you are right. A degree is not really important to get a job at the moment. You can make up your CV by some projects that you develop and the language you experience.

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It does help absolutely! Having the right mindset is so important and i like how you talked about obstacles just need to be overcome, it is a very good way of looking at things and something I have struggled with my entire life from a young age but I’m improving on each and every day.

If it helps I am 33 and I am back at square 1 on my learning process. As some other answers say the market is not oversaturated so try not get scared by that, actually as I understand the IT market is one of the markets that is actually growing in the world. Everybody has doubts about themselves some times this is normal, try not to focus on what you have ahead of you but in the small things you have accoplished becuase there will always be something new to learn or something else to do and this can be overwealming but not everybody knows what you already know.



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I started coding at 26 and got a job when I was 28, in Toronto same as you.

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All the people say degrees are not important who actually have degrees…
Stop saying degrees are not important.

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I can’t judge the situation in your country, but in my country (The Netherlands) there are many people who found a job in coding without a degree or without a proper degree. I know several myself.

There are psychologists, historians, archeologists, callcenter-employees, nurses, bartenders and so on working in those jobs. Some of the largest companies offer traineeships to talented, intelligent people without prior knowledge in coding. They test people’s intelligence and problem solving capabilities. That’s more important than the right education.

And in case you think that all the brightest people went to university, you’re wrong. The ones with the highest IQ’s don’t always fit into school. Some of them graduate at a lower level or they drop out of school.

You can find gifted people anywhere in all schools off-line and on-line and in all sort of jobs at all levels and especially in places where they learn or work at their own pace. Many of them don’t even realise they are gifted, and that they could pass the tests of the large companies if they tried.
If you don’t believe me, ask the Mensa Society (high IQ society) in your country (

And when I first started to learn code and I talked to the owner of a company about jobs in their field (website development) and asked for advise about what to learn online, he even told me he didn’t like to hire CS graduates from university, because of their lack of knowledge/experience with the latest techniques. He told me they had to “unlearn” the outdated techniques before they could start learning new things.

The curriculum in those large institutions is always behind and can’t change fast enough to keep up with the fast and many changes in the coding field.
He was the one who told me about FCC, Codecademy, Treehouse, and so on. I’m grateful he did!

Coding jobs are for smart people who are eager to learn, whatever their background in education or work.

And yes, there will always be old fashioned employers who won’t hire you without a degree, there always has been. They are fishing in a small pond and that pond keeps shrinking.

So, don’t give up, keep learning, keep coding and you’ll get there!

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You can! We believe in you!